Saturday, 23 March 2013

Sakura Tea (Chinriu Honten)

Springtime is more-or-less here (it's still snowing in Toronto), so while I wait for my first first-flush teas to arrive, I've got another springtime tea to enjoy. Sakura tea, Japanese cherry blossoms preserved in salt and ume plum vinegar. Chinriu Honten produces all sorts of sakura and ume products from Odawara, near Tokyo, and I found them through the Nihon Ichiban site.

The flowers are a bright, cheery pink, encrusted with salt and with a slightly tart aroma from the plum vinegar.

After a quick rinse to get the excess salt off, the liquor is light yellow, while the flower opens up into a pale pink bloom. The aroma is mild, with a light, sweet cherry scent.

The taste is milder than the other sakura tea I've tried, with a gentle sweet-and-salty cherry flavour. There's a little bit of strawberry jam, but also a pleasant plum tang. It's a very subtle and elegant tisane. I kind of want to try using these preserved blossoms in other dishes, maybe with some rice or congee.

Sakura Tea at Chinriu Honten at Nihon Ichiban