What's So Special About Konpeito?

Konpeito is a small Japanese traditional candy carefully handcrafted from rock sugar and shaped like confetti stars. It is popular among Anime fans even featuring in top shows such as the movie Spirited Away and the series Kobato. Some swear that Konpeito is probably the most perfect version of rock candy. They are cute, crunchy and sweet with mild flavors. One can enjoy sucking them in your mouth or crushing them into little crystals.

History of Konpeito

Konpeito comes from the Portuguese word “confeito” which means candy or confection. Konpeito was first introduced to Japan by the Portuguese in 1546. Nobunaga Oda, Japan’s charismatic warlord was delighted with the shape and taste of the candy when it was first given to him by a Christian missionary. Since Konpeito uses a lot of sugar in its production, the candy automatically became a rare and expensive commodity that only high levels of noble and samurai families were privileged to.

Ingredients of Konpeito

Over the years, the ingredients of this tiny delicacy have been kept quite simple; sugar, water, food coloring and flavors. Konpeito are obviously high in calories as they are made purely from sugar.

How Konpeito is Made

Konpeito is primarily handmade. This candy is created by heating a ball of course sugar then adding sugar syrup little by little to make it bigger. This process creates an uneven coating of syrup that makes the little bumps that make the candy recognizable all around the globe. Originally, they would make smokeless fires using coals to heat this rock sugar. Hence it would take approximately two months to make just one kind. Currently, it only takes 7 to 14 days. It may take close to 20 years to master the art of making Konpeito candy to perfection. Konpeito creators rely on their own expertise to work with variables such as sugar syrup density, kiln temperature and changing weather conditions to maintain the appearance, luster and taste of Konpeito.

Konpeito Varieties

These candies come in various colors such as purple, blue, orange, pink, yellow and its original white. Regardless of this, the taste is generally the same. Initially, Konpeito tasted like plain sugar but today these candies come in a variety of flavors that appeal to different markets. They include vanilla, strawberry, plum, yogurt, mango, cherry and peach. The limited edition Konpeito, are made exclusively in certain seasons. For example; the Peach Konpeito is made especially for summer, Chestnut flavored which is popular in late fall, Plum Konpeito that is beautiful in the winter and Sakura Konpeito available only in spring time. There are also special Konpeito made for specific occasions like the chocolate flavored for valentine or the Vone Romanevan Rouge for the Christmas period.

Where Konpeito Found Use

For hundreds of years, this classic candy has been enjoyed by nobility. The Imperial family to date uses Konpeito as commemorative gifts in various occasions. Citizens use the candy as party favors. It can also be a wonderful exotic addition to Easter baskets or used in tea ceremonies. The sweet taste and mesmerizing shape and colors of Konpeito is fantastic when making children’s cakes. Some Konpeito flavors like chestnut are packed in beautiful containers making it a perfect souvenir. It is perfect for those that wish to experience this historic Japanese food.

Special Features

Konpeito, unlike most candies, can tolerate high temperatures without its hard surface softening or its flavor diminishing. Kept in a tightly sealed container away from humidity, they can maintain freshness for close to thirty years.

Where to Buy Konpeito

Ryokujuan Shimizu is the only Konpeito specialty shop in Japan known to produce high quality handmade Konpeito. The shop hosts well over sixty regular flavors of this candy including tea, chocolate, caramel, wine and brandy. Some limited seasonal flavors of the candy are also available. Ryokujuan Shimizu is located in Kyoto, one of the most traditional Japanese cities. Konpeito is not only available in Kyoto and Tokyo but has spread to the rest of Japan and overseas. Luckily, you can also purchase it online and have it shipped directly to you.

Konpeito is still the popular, much appreciated candy 400 years later. In all this time, the flavor, taste and appearance has remained the same. Modern technology has brought new advances in packaging and additional flavors thus attracting even more customers abroad.

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