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FUKU-UME:

New Year’s Lucky Confection

When Kanazawa folks think of shopping for New Year, fuku-ume will likely be on their list of purchases. Fuku-ume, literally means “lucky ume blossoms,” and is one of the most popular sweets in Kanazawa. During the Edo period, it was originally a confection dedicated to the tenth ruler of old Kanazawa, Shigemichi Maeda, for a new year’s tea ceremony. It spread among the ordinary people in Kanazawa, and then turned into a pair of red-and-white wafer cakes in the shape of an ume plum blossom, afterward filled with sweetened red-bean jam. The plum blossom is the family crest of the Maeda family. The shell of the confection is molasses-smeared and sugar-sprinkled, and starch syrup is blended with the bean paste to preserve it. Thus, it has a sweeter taste and a tougher texture than the typical Japanese monaka wafer cake. It’s sold from the middle of December to the first seven days of New Year. Why don’t you give it a try, if you are in Kanazawa for New Year’s Day?