Chibeta: 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
‘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!
Sakura Mochi Ice Cream
Sakura Mochi Ice Cream – detail
Notice the pink fleck on the left center and the bits of leaf on the right.
Again, sakura mochi looks like this.
Chibeta Sakura Mochi Ice Cream Package
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.
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