Friday, December 28, 2012

Choco Shiso

Two girls are walking towards each other along a busy sidewalk. One is hungrily munching on a musubi (Japanese rice ball) with ume and shiso and responding to a text. The other finally peels away a stubbornly wrapped bar of chocolate sprinkled with lava salt and is just about to take a bite. Their lives come to a crash when they turn a corner.

Foodie #1: You got ume all over my chocolate!
Foodie #2: You got chocolate on my shiso!

Ume Shiso
Ume shiso chocolates

When I think of ume and shiso, what immediately comes to mind? Hot tea poured over a bowl of shiny white rice and a pink schmear of jaw clenching sour and mouth watering salty pickled plums (ume). Fresh shiso (intensely herbal in a minty-citrus-licorice sort of way) is exquisite with sashimi dipped in shoyu or in hiyayakko, chilled tofu drizzled with shoyu and sprinkled with katsuobushi - wispy thin shavings of smoked tuna. Better yet, shiso quickly simmered in shoyu, as in Korean cuisine, served with ume, rice, and tea.

Even though I've tried garlic roasted grape ice cream and enjoyed chocolate dipped potato chips, never would I have imagined Big Island Candies' creation of silky ume-shiso filled chocolates. They kept in check the intense sourness of ume and sharpness of shiso, presenting a well-crafted piquant chocolate confection.

And they lived happily ever after. The end.

- Cassaendra

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