＊This article is translated from the column "Hello from Kanazawa (No.9)" of Vancouver Shinpo.
Hi, this is Nina from Guest House Pongyi.
How are you doing recently ?
It is getting hot and humid in Kanazawa.
I would like to introduce Kinkato in this article.
What is Kinkato?
A bit translucent milky-white, various colors and round shape…
Many people must say “ Wow ! It’s cute !” for the first time they see this picture,
This is “Kinkato”, one of the traditional Japanese sweets in Kanazawa.
Kinkato has been loved by people in Kanazawa for a long time.
Mainly, it’s been used as an offering of the girls’ festival.
Kinkato is written like “金花糖” now.
* 金：gold, 花：flower, 糖：sugar
However, it was written like “金価糖” in the Edo era about 400 years ago、because sugar was as precious as gold.
Kinkato was made all over Japan before, but the number of the craftsman decreased.
Now, it is made in very limited places like Tokyo, Niigata, north part of Kyushu area besides Kanazawa.
The above picture is Kinkato which is displayed in Pongyi.
It was made by our friend, Mr, Eiichi Koshino.
His family has been made Kinkato for many years and he is the 4th generation.
His gentle and elegant Kinkato coloring makes people feel peaceful.
Art made with a wood pattern !
Hiw to make Kinkato is very simple.
It is made by sugar syrup poured to the wood patterns.
It is difficult to make a wood pattern of Kinkato because the shape is not equal in all directions.
Sadly, there are only a few people can make the pattern now.
Kinkato is made of the pure confectioner granulated sugar, that is different from the well-defined sugar (one of the popular type of sugar in Japan.)
That makes Kinkato white and hard.
By putting the sugar syrup over a fire and stirring it with a wood stick, a lot of air is mixed to the syrup.
The transparent color gradually changes to white.
Not completely white, a little bit translucent… it is really dreamy. I feel I can see it forever.
After pouring the sugar syrup to a wood pattern… amazing technique of sweets craftsman ! He carefully moves the pattern to make a same thickness sugar wall. (Kinkato is hollow inside.)
After that, coloring and finish !
The making process is quite simple, this means it is hard to disguise the technique.
Kinkato is not only one of sweets, but also wonderful art.
Tidbits of Kinkato !
When I got a small Kinkato for the first time, I wanted to taste it, so I put it in a cup of coffee like sugar cubes.
However, it didn’t melt at all.
I tried to break it by a spoon, but nothing has worked.
“ How hard Kinkato is !
I guess this hardness is to keep the quality in changeable temperature and humidity in Japan !
What an invention !”
I was really surprised.
According to Eiichi-san, it is better to crush Kinkato with a hard stick or something and used it for stewed dishes when you eat it.
If you are worried about the food coloring (actually it is safe to body), you may better to choose the white part.
Kinkato is lucky food. That is great if we could eat it with gratitude !
If you come to Kanazawa, Kinkato must be a great souvenir !
Kanazawa is a city that its per capita consumption of traditional Japanese sweets is No. 1. in Japan.
There are many other tasty sweets, but Kinkato will reminds you of your days in Kanazawa after coming back home.
Thank you very much for reading.