Kanten, cherry blossom floating in agar agar
So many times I have mentioned feeling really fortunate here in Portland because of the interesting and active network of tea people and tea events. Well, here I go again! The opportunities keep expanding. Here's my most recent adventure - to a wagashi tasting at a newly-opened tea bar, the Jasmine Pearl.
Wagashi is a traditional type of Japanese sweet. It's served before the tea in the Japanese Tea Ceremony. (It's also used at other occasions.) These sweets are prized for their visual appeal and texture, along with taste. (Read more here.)
Not only did I get to taste these gems, but I also got to chat with the confections maker! Please meet the owners of the tea room, Heather Agosta and Chuck Bauman, (left and center) and the wagashi maker Gena Renaud.
Tea room owners and wagashi maker
From left to right, sea glass, kanten (from agar agar), mochi with toasted soy flakes, and baked manju.
Sweets enjoyed with a beautiful cup of whisked matcha.
Sea glass. To the touch, it feels solid and hard, but a surprise awaits your first bite!
Mochi, a pounded rice flour confection. This was dusted with toasted soy flakes.
A lovely texture, soft and mildly chewy.
A sunny, spring afternoon with tea-loving friends, what could be better?
To those of you who will be doing the Royal Wedding festivities with tea parties, etc....enjoy! I'm skipping out for other plans, but will look forward to reading your blog. Cheers!