Traditional sweets get a Starbucks twist for hanami flower-viewing picnics.

Sakura season is one we always look forward to every year, not just for the beauty of the blooms but all the tasty cherry blossom treats that appear in stores. Some of the best treats can be found at Starbucks, where, in addition to their lauded cherry blossom Frappuccinos, you’ll find a limited-edition drinkware range, and now, a new collection of sweets.

The signature sweet in the collection is the Sakura Chiffon Cake (455 yen [US$3.02]), a staple so popular it’s been returning every spring since it first debuted a number of years back. With a beautiful pink sponge and white icing, this cake has a gentle scent and flavour inspired by the cherry blossoms, and the pickled sakura on top adds an aromatic salty floral note to the mix.

Another hit item making its return for cherry blossom season is the Sakura Doughnut (310 yen), which has a perfect balance of soft cherry flavours with a hint of salt and a moist and chewy texture reminiscent of traditional sakura mochi rice cakes.

Takeout customers can purchase three doughnuts as a boxed set that resembles sanshoku dango (“three-coloured rice dumplings“), a traditional skewered sweet commonly eaten during sakura season. Sanshoku dango, which also goes by the name “hanami dango” (“flower-viewing dango“) due to its popularity at this time of year, contains three rice dumplings in different colours — pink at the top to represent sakura buds, white in the middle to represent the flowers in full bloom, and green at the bottom to represent the leaves that are left on the tree once the blossoms have fallen.

Starbucks’ take on the tradition is Sanshoku Doughnuts, consisting of sakura, matcha, and plain sugar-flavoured doughnuts in a box for 930 yen.

The new additions to the menu this year are the “Ball Cookies in Two Varieties (Sakura & Matcha)“, which come in a beautiful sakura tin for 2,190 yen…

▼…and the Sakura and Matcha Mocchiri Balls (370yen).

Mocchiri Balls were added to the Starbucks menu in September last year, when they appeared in matcha and pumpkin milk flavours for Halloween. Now, they’ve been given a sakura upgrade for spring, and they’re said to pair particularly well with the chain’s Spring Season Blend coffee, which is being sold in 250-gram (8.8-ounce) bags or 5,6 or 12-stick packs, priced from 750-1,780 yen.

The new coffee blend and sakura sweets collection will be in stores around Japan for a limited time from 15 February.

Source, images: Press release
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