Mochi Ice Cream: it was about five years ago when they became the quintessential conclusion to any sushi dinner at your neighborhood American sushi restaurant. The snack has been a favorite dessert of Japan since its invention in the early 1980's. But alas, both at home and abroad mochi ice cream has become as cliché as Pokémon, Japanese school girls, and Strawberry Pocky... That is until Mochi Cream intervened...
Mochi Cream is not simply ice cream within a sticky pounded-rice outer layer. Mochi Cream's mochi have three (sometimes even four) layers: a delicately flavored, pillowy mochi outside, a middle-layer of airy ice cream mixed with bean paste, and then a flavor-saturated center (usually fruit) that will haunt your dreams with cravings for more. My personal favorite is the Apply Pie Mochi which features a cinnamon flavored mochi, a filling of clove and spice infused apples, decedent and satiny ice cream, separated by a thin and crunchy layer of pie crust; wholly completing the apple pie à la mode experience. It is probably the best apple pie I ever had... and it is not even an apple pie!
If apple pie is not your idea of the perfect ice cream mochi, then certainly one of the other thirty-plus ever changing flavors will stimulate your appetite. Mochi Cream has a menu that covers everything from the traditional (green tea, sakura, black sesame seed) to the outrageous (tomato, carrot, sweet potato) to the ingenious (chocolate banana, lemon camomile tea, orange with fresh cheese, raspberry mille feuille). In true Japanese style, they offer special mochi corresponding to the ingredients that are in season. Currently it is early August and the Japanese White Peach (hakutou 白桃) mochi at Mochi Cream certainly does not disappoint. The peach meat in the center is sweet and tart, not to mention perfectly ripe. Whichever flavor(s) you do decide on, know that you are eating a creative, perfectly planned confection made with the highest quality ingredients.
There are Mochi Creams located throughout all of Japan, I have been to three locations and they are mostly identical in design, quality, and selection. They also ship mochi via next day air anywhere in Japan for an nominal additional fee. As far as I know, Mochi Cream only has locations within larger stores, often near city centers. They also have a website, but it is not yet operational. For this reason, I will post the information of the three locations I know of below.
Within the basement of the Daimaru Department Store at Shi-jo
Accessible by the Kyoto Subway, Karasuma-Oike Station
Eighth floor of the Umeda Yodobashi Camera building, within the "Sweets Museum"
Accessible by both JR Osaka Station and Umeda Hankyu Station
CLOSED 2009 :-(
Mochi very in price between 150 and 250 yen per piece. Do not forget to wait 20 minutes before you eat your mochi. This will allow it to thaw enough so that you may fully appreciate all of the mochi's intricacies. Locations are open until 9:00 pm, year round.
Visit Mochi Cream's website at: www.mochicream.com
*A version of this review was published on worldlyeats.blogspot.com on August 8, 2009