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August Bokksu: Kuro 黒

Due to its geographically isolated history and unique cultural influences, Japan has developed color associations that are very different from the Western world’s. Though “kuro” (black) has an almost exclusively negative connotation (i.e., death, evil) in the West, Japanese people have traditionally viewed black in a more positive light. For example, before formal wear frock coats were introduced by Europeans in the late 19th century, Japanese people in mourning wore white instead of the black that is more common nowadays. Furthermore, they consider black to be a warming color and thus, believe foods containing black sugar to be healthier than those containing white sugar. This month’s snacks and tea are all deeply associated with “kuro”, whether they be made with black sesame or are black in visual aesthetic. This month's bokksu includes:

  • Kuro Warabimochi 黒わらびもち by Nakajima Taishodo 中島大祥堂
  • Kurohachi Karinto 黒蜂かりんとう by Tokyo Karinto 東京カリント
  • Amanatto 甘納豆 by Tanba No Kurotaro 丹波の黒太郎
  • Goma Senbei 胡麻煎餅 by Kingodo 金吾堂
  • Bake Chocolate ベイク焼きチョコ by Morinaga Seika 森永製菓
  • Mamena Kuromamecha まめな黒豆茶 by Terao Seifun 寺尾製粉所

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Kuro Warabimochi 黒わらびもち
by Nakajima Taishodo 中島大祥堂

Kuro Warabimochi Packaged Kuro Warabimochi

Warabimochi is a jelly-like confection made from the extracted starch of a fern called “warabi” (bracken) and covered with “kinako” (roasted soybean flour). Kuro Warabimochi is made with black molasses, which is what gives it its luxurious color and extra sweetness. Though the name bears similarity, warabimochi is entirely different from true mochi, which is made from glutinous rice. We recommend chilling this delicious snack before sprinkling kinako on and spooning small refreshing bites into your mouth.

Kurohachi Karinto 黒蜂かりんとう
By Tokyo Karinto 東京カリント

Kurohachi Karinto Packaged Karintou

Karinto is a traditional Japanese snack dating back to the early 19th century. Consisting primarily of flour, yeast, and sugar, karinto is deep-fried and sweet. Kurohachi Karinto has a rounder, sweeter flavor than normal karinto thanks to the added black sugar and honey.

Amanatto 甘納豆
By Tanba No Kurotaro 丹波の黒太郎

Amanatto Packaged Amanatto

Amanatto can be made using azuki or other beans. The beans are stewed in water, simmered with sugar, and dried. Tanba No Kurotaro Amanatto uses black beans and every batch is handmade to ensure the highest quality in taste and texture.

Goma Senbei 胡麻煎餅
By Kingodo 金吾堂

Goma Senbei Packaged Goma Senbei

Senbei is a traditional Japanese rice cracker usually baked or grilled and glazed with soy sauce. Goma (black sesame) adds a roasted, toasty flavor that complements the savory, crispy taste of the senbei well.

Common Allergens: Wheat

Bake Chocolate ベイク焼きチョコ
By Morinaga Seika 森永製菓

Bake Chocolate Packaged Bake Chocolate

This fluffy, rich chocolate is baked to perfection and melts in your mouth with every bite.

Mamena Kuromamecha まめな黒豆茶
By Terao Seifun 寺尾製粉所

Kuromamecha Packaged Kuromamecha

Kuromamecha (black bean tea) is made from roasting black beans and either leaving them in bean form or grinding them down into a fine powder. Mamena Kuromamecha is grounded, which is why it has a richer, darker color and a more fragrant, bitter taste than ungrounded black bean tea.

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