|Miya[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]|
With excitement and anticipation, we made our way to the classroom!
The class is held at Yoshihiro, a famous sweets shop. It is just five minutes’ walk from JR Nijo Station and a similar five minutes by cab from Nijo Castle. The shop is tucked away on a side street just off the main road.
The shop from outside
The first floor of the shop sells Japanese wagashi sweets. They say that the signature item is the dorayaki. They all look delicious!
A range of wagashi delights
We bought this dorayaki after the course
After a brief wait, the workshop began. The classroom is located on the third floor of the shop, where we were greeted by rows of tables and chairs. The tables were outfitted with trays and special spatulas used for shaping the sweets. Wagashi craft is largely done through this spatula.
Confectionery is fun – but difficult!
After thoroughly washing our hands, it was time to get down to business. We made two varieties – one styled after the yellow-orange persimmon and one resembling the purple Japanese bellflower. Both of them contained sweet red bean paste.
Unfortunately, it was impossible to take photos while working. Taking up the camera would be unhygienic. If you bring along a friend to spectate, you could have him or her photograph for you.
Using a premade sweet as a model, the confectioner showed us in great detail how to make it. Before long, we felt like artisans! But it’s actually pretty hard to make sweets, we found. However, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves thoroughly, and the mood was one of gentle fun.
After a long struggle, our pieces were ready! First up is one made by Yoko.
The top is the sample sweet. The bottom is Yoko’s.
Wow! She’s a natural! The way she’s shaped the thin parts looks quite like the original. Next up is Miya’s work!
The top is the model. The bottom is Miya’s.
This candy is a bit rough around the edges… The bellflower in particular is a bit wonky. Man, it was hard! After we finished, the confectioner showed us how the sweets are usually made. It was an exquisite performance of deft handwork!
Deft strokes make beautiful sweets!
In an instant, a perfect wagashi was ready!
Leave it to the experts to produce such fine work. They put us to shame. At the end, we received a diploma of completion and had a commemorative photo taken.
Yoko smiles with her diploma
Finally, you get to enjoy your sweet along with matcha tea, as well as the sweets they have for sale. You can bring your confection home, but I decided to eat it on the spot. It was somehow tastier, knowing that I’d made it myself!
Those 75 minutes were over in an instant. We really learned about the complexity of wagashi craft, as well as how fun it can really be. I’d love to give it a go again and make a cleaner-looking sweet!
A fine souvenir of the day!