Ichigo Daifuku: Spring Has Arrived! ‘Good Fortune’ Rice Cake with Fresh Strawberry (苺大福)
Ichigo Daifuku (苺大福) is a modern wagashi (Japanese confection) that combines the traditional daifuku (大福), literally ‘great fortune’, with a fresh strawberry!
Ichigo Daifuku signifies the coming of spring as strawberries come into season at the end of winter.
I was on my way home from *’another hard day’ at the sake brewery, and at the station was a little stand selling ichigo daifuku, it has been snowing the last two days, but ichigo daifuku means spring to me, so I bought a few and enjoyed them when I got home.
Ichigo Daifuku – mochi, azuki, fresh strawberry!
Daifuku is mochi filled with azuki bean paste and there are many kinds. Fresh fruit in/on wagashi is not at all common, I can think of no other wagashi that features this combination.
Here, the daifuku is split and a fresh strawberry is placed within. This confection was developed sometime in the 1980’s, apparently various mochi shops claim to have invented it. Whatever it’s origins, it can be had anywhere in Japan now.
Wagashi, as it is associated with the tea ceremony is often eaten very ‘politely’, but with ichigo daifuku it seems that folks dispense with the drama and just chow down, biting it in half, making a two bite snack of one.
If you are in Japan in the late winter or early spring, when the strawberries are in season, check out ichigo daifuku!
By the way, Japanese strawberries are really tasty!
One more thing, ichigo daifuku is popular all over Japan, there is nothing particularly ‘Kyoto’ about it.
*I am working on a series about sake in Kyoto and for the past two days I was at a premium sake brewery in Fushimi, in the south of Kyoto conducting interviews and taking photos. I am not one than learns much from books, and I think they picked up on that within half a day and just put me to work. It was great fun and I got some real first-hand experience on how sake is made. It combines physical labor with serious brain work!