If you visit Japan in the summer you may, nay, will come across a flag that looks like this.
This sign is a promise to you, weary traveler, that inside this establishment you may purchase some kakigori— a shaved ice dessert drizzled in syrup and often sweetened with condensed milk that is the highlight of summer for many, both young and old. Even Japanese branches of some American restaurant chains can be found bearing this flag once the temperature rises, and Coco’s is no exception.
Coco’s has an astonishing repertoire of frozen desserts available during their Taste of Destiny Summer campaign, coinciding with their Twitter campaign of the same name which will continue until Aug 15. Following the official account, taking a photograph with one of the Taste of Destiny Summer campaign desserts and tweeting it to them will enter you in a lottery where five entrants can win 10,000 yen worth of credit to use at the restaurant.
With the cross-cultural memory of Coco’s Evangelion promotion still fresh in our minds, we headed right over to taste some sumptuous syrupy ice and instantly selected one of the restaurant’s brand new flavors, the Pistachio and Chocolate Crisped Rice Fluffy Shaved Ice. It costs 649 yen and is served up in a picture-perfect pistachio presentation.
You might be fooled into thinking that the snowy cap atop the mess of shaved ice is vanilla ice cream, but it’s actually decadent dollops of whipped cream.
▼ And sprinkled liberally with puffed chocolate rice.
Though we appreciate the trend of pairing ice cream with shaved ice, such desserts can feel like a cold overload. The whipped cream, however, perfectly accented the fluffy shaved ice while bringing its own note of sweetness. The dessert also comes with a little pot of pistachio syrup which rather than the typical diluted shaved ice dressings is thick, almost like molten chocolate.
So rich and luxurious is this syrup that the restaurant grants you an extra pot of milk syrup just to ensure you don’t get washed away in a tidal wave of pistachio nut flavor.
The shaved ice is, as the title declares, “fluffy”. This manner of cutting the ice shavings allows to incorporate more air, and in turn, gives the dessert more volume. It also has a soft, cushiony texture to the tongue. It’s no wonder that it’s becoming an increasingly popular way to make shaved ice in Japan.
▼ The ice parts away beautifully as we pour in the pistachio syrup.
▼ Followed by a generous dollop of milk syrup.
We wouldn’t blame you if you assumed this was made with matcha syrup, but don’t worry. The pistachio flavor melds beautifully with the milk and ice, and you can savor its sweet nutty essence to the last bite.
While we obviously wouldn’t recommend this version to anyone who dislikes pistachios, if you’ve been dissuaded from trying them in the past due to their medicinal appearance then this could be a great way to expand your palate!
The other flavor we tried was the Cotton Pop Blue Fluffy Shaved Ice, which utilizes both candy flavors for a treat that’ll delight the young or young-at-heart. It costs 649 yen as well.
Topped with a wispy mound of cotton candy, this will be one shaved ice you’ll want to share on social media. The syrup that accompanies it is called “Pop Blue” syrup, which is an unusual and unfamiliar name. Blue Hawaii, a tropical punch flavored syrup with a hint of coconut, is a popular syrup for standard shaved ice…but where does the “pop” here come from?
▼ From popping candy
The menu photo demonstrated syrup being poured atop the cotton candy, but everyone knows that cotton candy instantly dissolves into sugar syrup once a liquid touches it. We ate ours sensibly, by tearing off fluffy chunks of it.
As the shaved ice is eaten, the liquid coaxes fizzing and crackling sounds out from the popping candy. It’s a treat not only for the tongue but for the eyes and ears as well.
Unlike the pistachio shaved ice, this one comes with a small container of lemon syrup. When you pour it over the heaped ice, it causes an interesting reaction…
▼ It changes the syrup’s color from blue to pink.
Of course, standard shaved ice staples like ones served with strawberry, mango, or berry syrups are also on offer…as well as a watermelon shaved ice studded with chocolate chips that resemble seeds.
Take a trip to Coco’s and fall in love with a new flavor! Or, you know, you could also try any of the other fine establishments touting similarly exciting and novel shaved ice desserts.
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