Beautiful seasonal flowers inspire Kyoto tea merchant to make beautiful seasonal sweets.

Cherry blossom season is painfully short, so it’s only natural to feel a little bummed when it ends. Not only is it sad to see the flowers go, but so many delicious limited-time sakura desserts disappear too.

But there’s another batch of beautiful flowers about to bloom, with hydrangeas, or ajisai, as they’re called in Japanese, set to blossom as Japan enters its early-summer rainy season. Hydrangeas might not be as prevalent a muse for Japan’s confectioners as cherry blossoms are, but Kyoto’s Itokyuehmon is a welcome exception, having prepared a breathtaking selection of hydrangea-themed sweets.

Itokyuehmon is a 192-year-old tea company from the Kyoto Prefecture town of Uji, where Japan’s most prized matcha green tea is grown. That also puts them in prime position to produce matcha sweets, such as their amazingly photogenic Matcha Parfait Ice Cream Bars. These paddle-shaped parfaits on a stick made their debut in 2019, but for 2024 Itokyuehmon is now offering a brand-new hydrangea version for the first time with the Matcha Parfait Ice Cream Bar Ajisai.

Unlike cherry blossoms, actual hydrangea petals don’t lend themselves well to edible applications, so the Matcha Parfait Ice Cream Bar Ajisai takes its visual cues from the flower while being made of other, tastier ingredients. In addition to the matcha ice cream base, the bar has hydrangea-colored kanten (sweet agar gelatin), blueberries, and a tea leaf-shaped matcha cookie, recreating the multi-faceted sweet indulgence of a parfait in ice cream bar form for 740 yen (US$4.85).

If you’re of the mindset, though, that a proper parfait must be served in a glass and eaten with a spoon, Itokyuehmon is happy to oblige you at their dessert cafes, where the Ajisai Parfait has just made its annual return to the menu, joined by Ajisai Minazuki, triangular cuts of sweet rice gelatin topped with sweet red beans.

▼ The Ajisai Parfait is also offered in a mini version, for the unlikely scenario in which someone says “I don’t have much room for matcha desserts.”

The Matcha Parfait Ice Cream Bar Ajisai is available at Itokyuehmon’s Ujj Main Branch, as well as its Byodoin, JR Uji Station, Kyoto Station, Gion Shijo, Kiyoizuzaka, and Sanjo Teramachi shops, and the Ajisai Parfait at the Uji Main Branch, JR Uji Station, and Gion Shijo locations.

Related: Itokyuehmon location list
Source: @Press via Japaaan
Top image: @Press
Insert images: @Press (1, 2)
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