The first time I encountered little cubes of coffee jello in an ice cream parfait I thought ewww, weird! But then I became acquainted with Japanese summer weather, which sort of feels like being in a room where the shower has been running full blast on ‘maximum hot’ for an hour. A nice big dish of sparkling cool jello with a shot of caffeine to lift those summer doldrums suddenly looked a lot more appealing!
Oddly enough, these coffee jelly treats are a riff on a traditional Japanese dessert called anmitsu, which features clear agar jelly cubes (sweet, but tasteless), topped with sweet red bean paste, ice cream, various fruits, and little balls of sticky pounded rice. Japanese food often mixes textures as well as flavors, and the rubbery slipperiness of jello is especially enjoyed when eaten with something creamy, something chewy, and something crunchy (hence its supporting role in ice cream parfaits, which can also mysteriously be layered with cornflakes, pudding, and cake…)
Read a novel set in Tokyo…
Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!