Tea + Wagashi: Fall


This is a wagashi pairing that hits close to home for me, and brings a great personal comfort! Chestnuts are one of my favorite things about fall. Growing up as a kid in China, I have very fond memories of eating freshly roasted chestnuts on the street as the months grew colder. I remember the warmth and sweetness the chestnuts offered very vividly.

I didn’t know we had local, edible chestnuts in Vancouver until Sen of Kintoki Sweets told me. Their season is quite short, only around 3 weeks in October, and I look forward to it annually, as a pleasing sign of the transition into winter.

This year, for the first time, I have asked my friend and very talented wagashi artist, Saki Fukuda, to make a special wagashi for us to share with guests at Cultivate. Saki is preparing wagashi out of beautiful chestnuts from Oliver, BC. These local chestnuts are some of the best I’ve had: they are small and have a rich, robust flavor and a creamy sweetness.

After tasting them Saki has decided to prepare Chestnut Kinton (kuri kinton 栗きんとん). This is a classic wagashi made from chestnut paste. Its simplicity allows us to experience the unique aroma and flavor of the chestnuts themselves.

To make the kinton from scratch, Sake boils the chestnuts and then masterfully makes them into a smooth paste. Suspended inside this paste are full pieces of boiled chestnuts, so that we still encounter their wonderful texture.

I have chosen a special oolong to pair with the wagashi: Charcoal Roasted Buddha’s Hand. This tea is slowly roasted over charcoal for four rounds. With each round of roasting, the depth, complex sweetness, and warmth of the tea is intensified. 

Its rich, smokey notes, offset by its light, floral notes, and its sweet, slightly creamy, aftertaste will be the perfect accompaniment to the Chestnut Kinton. 

We hope you will join us to enjoy this very special seasonal treat!

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