Kyoto Ice Cream: Sakura Mochi Ice Cream

Chibeta: Sakura Mochi Ice Cream 桜餅アイスクリーム

Sakura Mochi Ice Cream 桜餅アイスクリーム
Kyoto Handmade Ice Cream Shop Chibeta: While Japanese love ice cream and Häagen-Dazs is big here, handmade ice cream shops, the likes or which there are several in my hometown, are a rarity. Chibeta, located in Nishijin, the old weaving district of Kyoto, makes great ice cream in very novel flavors. Inspiration for flavors are either traditional Japanese foods or ingredients or seasonal fruit. When I first walked into Chibeta several years ago, it was spring and I was astonished to see sakura mochi ice cream in the ice cream case. It was quite an amalgam of flavors!

While there is no mochi in this ice cream it is flavored with the salted sakura blossoms (shiozakura) and leaves that flavors sakura mochi. It has the pronounced perfumy fragrance identical to sakura mochi that is provided by the blossom and leaf. The taste of the ice cream is very rich and creamy (low fat diary products are not common, I drink 4.4% milk here) and it is salty. Quite unexpected!

Sakura Mochi Ice Cream
Sakura Mochi Ice Cream 桜餅アイスクリーム

‘Sweet’ plus ‘salty’ is a delicious combination. In the US we have salt water taffy (but the taste is not particularly salty, as I recall from my childhood). Sweet and salty are not uncommon in traditional Japanese sweets. I am unaware of it in ice cream though.

I thought that the combination of creamy, sweet (not too sweet), sakura and salt was well worth writing home about. Salted sakura blossom and leaf ought to be easily obtained abroad, so this ice cream ought to be available throughout the world in the near future, I am hoping! (Aspiring sakura mochi ice cream makers abroad can click the ‘Source Delish!’ link above for help sourcing shiozakura.)

If you are in Kyoto and planning on visiting Chibeta, please keep in mind that sakura mochi ice cream is only available in the spring. There are plenty of other wonderful flavors to try though!

More about Sakura Mochi on KyotoFoodie
Sakura Mochi (History and Kanto-style)
Sakura Mochi (Kansai-style)

Sakura Mochi Ice Cream
Sakura Mochi Ice Cream 桜餅アイスクリーム

Sakura Mochi Ice Cream – detail
Sakura Mochi Ice Cream 桜餅アイスクリーム
Notice the pink fleck on the left center and the bits of leaf on the right.

Sakura Mochi
Sakura Mochi Ice Cream 桜餅アイスクリーム
Again, sakura mochi looks like this.

Chibeta Sakura Mochi Ice Cream Package
Sakura Mochi Ice Cream 桜餅アイスクリーム

Kyoto Handmade Ice Cream Shop Chibeta
Chibeta is located on in the Nishijin district of Kyoto on Senbon-dori, just south of Imadegawa-dori. From the intersection of Senbon and Imadegawa Streets, you just go three (short) blocks to the south and Chibeta is located on the east corner of Senbon and Sasayacho Streets intersection.

Chibeta Storefront
Sakura Mochi Ice Cream 桜餅アイスクリーム

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11 Responses to “Kyoto Ice Cream: Sakura Mochi Ice Cream”

  1. Arun says:

    Wow, that sounds like a strange flavour combination. I’ve heard of things like salted caramel too, but haven’t had the chance to try them yet, so if it works, it must be good! Also that building looks quite modern to me, doesn’t it stick out a bit?

  2. Peko Peko says:

    Hello Arun,

    Ah, yes. I have had salted caramel, but had forgotten about that one.

    Chibeto is on the busy Senbon Street and though it is Nishijin it is not a very traditional Kyoto street. So it doesn’t really stick out right there. If you go up the quite little street either direction away from Senbon Street the neighborhoods and the streetscapes are still fairly traditional.

    Where Chibeta is located, during the Heian era, this was in about the exact center of the Imperial Palace! Senbon Street was the main street of Kyoto, the most important street in the whole country really. Now it isn’t much to write home about.

  3. Arun says:

    An Imperial Palace! Awesome! Ice cream fit for royalty! XD

  4. Peko Peko says:

    That was like a thousand years ago!

  5. JenniLu says:

    That glass bowl is beautiful!! Do you know where I can buy some like it? Thanks!

  6. I love salty-and-sweet-and-creamy desserts. Very interesting!

  7. Roy Latham says:

    Fascinating post! I will probably have to wait until Baskin Robbins picks up the Sakura Mochi flavor. Could be a long wait.

    Salt water taffy is named for it’s having been sold near the ocean, not ingredient salt. I’ve noticed professional chefs often recommending that a pinch of salt be added to pastries and such, almost everything with sugar. They say it enhances the sweetness. Crackers Jacks, kettle corn, and peanut brittle combine sweetness with notable saltiness.

  8. [...] is the salted sakura (cherry) leaf that is used for sakura mochi (sakura mochi ice cream) and here Tanigawa-san uses it to make Kyoto-style sushi. He said that the secret is to sprinkle [...]

  9. jen says:

    I wish I had known about it when I was in the area last winter!!! it would’ve been such a treat! Bookmarked for future reference!

  10. Juneeta says:

    I definitely visit this place . How to get here from the Kyoto Station ?

  11. Paul Hays says:

    Peko,

    JUst read the bon Appetit article about tofu, with a very nice mention of you and the blog. Good on you – really validates what you are doing when they notice you at that level!

    Can’t wait to get back and have you show me around some of those Tofu shops.

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