Sweet Taste of Autumn



Have you heard of “Shoku no aki” (食の秋) in Japanese? It translates to “Autumn of Appetite” or “Autumn of Food.” This term is used to describe the autumn season when various delicious foods and ingredients become available. It’s a time when people relish the bountiful harvest and enjoy seasonal cuisine. I would like to introduce the top 5 ingredients that are in season and used to make fall desserts in Japan. 

1. Chestnut (Kuri – 栗)

Chestnuts are essential to autumn in Japan. Their rich, earthy flavor and crumbly texture are incorporated into numerous desserts, including Mont Blanc, a classic pastry with chestnut purée and whipped cream. The dessert is originated from France and Italy, but it has become a staple and popular in Japanese bakeries. 

2. Sweet Potato (Satsuma Imo – さつまいも)

Satsuma Imo, or sweet potatoes, are an autumn favorite in Japan. These starchy, sweet delights are often roasted or dried as a simple snack. They’re also used in desserts like Daigaku Imo, deep-fried sweet potato bites coated in a sweet syrup. Imo Yokan is a traditional Japanese dessert made from sweet potatoes and agar-agar (a gelatin-like substance derived from seaweed). Its dense, jelly-like, smooth texture is often sweetened with sugar or honey. 

3. Nashi (Japanese Pear – 梨)

Japanese pears, known as Nashi, are abundant in autumn. These pears are incredibly juicy and have a delicate, crisp texture. It is like a mix of European pears and apples. Many people enjoy snacking just as it is. But it also makes excellent jelly with its flavor and texture. Nashi tarte is also a great way to enjoy the flavor. 

4. Kabocha (Japanese Pumpkin – 南瓜)

Kabocha, a variety of Japanese pumpkin, is a staple ingredient in many autumn dishes. It is vegetable and not fruit, but its natural sweetness makes it an ideal candidate for desserts like Kabocha Pie, a silky and comforting pumpkin pie. You will also see Kabocha budding, Kabocha cheesecake, Kabocha muffins… the list goes on and on.