Omiyage: Kurikinton Autumn Chestnut Confection

Omiyage: Kurikinton Autumn Chestnut Confection 栗きんとん

Omiyage: Kurikinton Autumn Chestnut Confection 栗きんとん
Boiled chestnuts mashed with sugar and twisted in fabric into shape makes kurikinton, an autumn delicacy and favorite souvenir of the mountainous areas of central Japan.

Kurikinton and Omiyage Culture

Omiyage, or the giving of souvenirs, usually famous products from ones own region or a visited destination is an extremely important aspect of Japanese culture. Last week, a business associate from Gifu Prefecture came to see me in Kyoto bearing kurikinton from a small but very famous shinise. Gifu, the mountainous prefecture near the big city of Nagoya is very famous for its chestnuts and persimmons. The store that makes this kurikinton, Tsuchiya in Ogaki city is this year celebrating its 250th year in business and has a grand total of 4 products producing about $22,000,000 a year in revenue. That’s a lot of chestnuts!

Authentic kurikinton only has two ingredients; chestnut and sugar. Not even any water. Fine Gifu chestnuts are boiled and then mashed with sugar. They are then hand-formed into a ball inside a piece of cloth which is twisted at the top, producing the distinctive kurikinton shape. The taste is like much else in Japan; deceptively simple, rich, not too sweet and delicately refined. While the recipe may sound like it would produce a pasty confection it is not. The consistancy and some aspect of the taste might tempt one to think of cookie dough, but the flavor is neither immature nor half-baked.

The night my friend arrived, at dinner he passed out beautifully wrapped packages of Gifu kurikinton omiyage to several lucky people including myself. The next day, after we took in some Kyoto sights and lunch, before departure he was hunting down some novel Kyoto omiyage to take back to family and employees. In Japan, one would imagine that no matter the economic downturn, the omiyage business never suffers.

In true shinise form, Tsuchiya has a really crappy website from which you can order by fax. How’s that for modernity? I guess that makes getting their creations for a visiting friend all the more special!

Kurikinton Box
Omiyage: Kurikinton Autumn Chestnut Confection 栗きんとん

Kurikinton Under Wraps
Omiyage: Kurikinton Autumn Chestnut Confection 栗きんとん

Kurikinton Unwrapped
Omiyage: Kurikinton Autumn Chestnut Confection 栗きんとん

Kurikinton Served
Omiyage: Kurikinton Autumn Chestnut Confection 栗きんとん

Kurikinton – detail
Omiyage: Kurikinton Autumn Chestnut Confection 栗きんとん

Kurikinton Interior
Omiyage: Kurikinton Autumn Chestnut Confection 栗きんとん

Tsuchiya website (Japanese language)

10 Responses to “Omiyage: Kurikinton Autumn Chestnut Confection”

  1. telamonides says:

    What are the chestnuts boiled in if there is no water in the concoction or is all of the water evaporated?

  2. Katey B says:

    Mmmm. Chesnuts:)

  3. Dennis K. says:

    These are so great! Btw I’m totally hooked on the show “WafuuSouHonnke”..
    Love your site. Cheers.

  4. Peko-P says:

    Hello telamonides,
    Thank you for your question. Sorry if I wasn’t clear. The chestnuts are boiled in water until done, then removed from the water like pasta or a potato. Think of it like mashed potatoes; the potatoes are boiled in water, but what is eaten has no water added to it. For kurikinton, what is mashed is chestnut and sugar only. Is that clearer?

  5. Peko-P says:

    Hello Katey B,
    Yes, mmmmm is right! Did you any chestnuts this autumn?

  6. litsa says:

    Thank you for this very informative post 🙂 I have heard about kurikinton watching the anime “Yakitate!! Japan” and it is amazing to get to know how those look like in reality, and how they are made.

  7. Fuji Mama says:

    Mmmmm, I LOVE kurikinton! Makes me homesick for Japan!

  8. Yumm, looks delicious. I just love the way the name “kurikinton” sounds:-)

  9. Leong says:

    Hi, i am from Malaysia, would really hope to buy this omiyage… is there any online shop can be approached?

    Thanks.. i hope i can buy it..

  10. noobcook says:

    I love omiyage … spent a lot buying them for friends n family even though I only bought one for myself hehe… all your posts are making me crave so badly to return to Japan for a holiday

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