Konpeito – The Traditional Japanese Candy with Portuguese Roots

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  • These multi-colored and sugary candies are known as konpeito (金平糖). They are a traditional type of sweets in Japan and were introduced by Portuguese traders in the country during the 16th century. The word “konpeito” comes from the Portuguese word “confeito” meaning confection or candy. They come in various colors but are unflavored. They are perfect for party decorations or even event souvenirs.

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    History

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    In the 16th century, sugar refining was not yet available leading to the high cost of konpeito. To produce them a lot of sugar was needed. During the Meiji period, it became one of the standard sweets in Japan. Some would use it as a thank-you-for-coming gift. Once you place konpeito in a gift box, you call it bonbonieru in Japanese.

    Candy Making

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    With the help of technology in Japan nowadays, producing such kind of sweets in large numbers in a short time is easy. Konpeito, obviously, are small, only 5-10 mm in diameter. They are made by repeatedly coating the core consisting of a grain of coarse sugar with a sugar syrup. The core used in the past was a seed.

    Where to Find Konpeito?

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    One of the places to look for konpeito is Konpeito Petit Museum in Osaka, Japan. The museum is open all throughout the year, even on Saturdays, Sundays or public holidays. They even have a handmade konpeito workshop where you can make your own konpeito in a kettle. Making a reservation beforehand is important. They only accept 3-4 people per group and a total of 45 people max per batch. The session lasts about an hour and 30 minutes. There are 2 more branches, one in Osaka as well, and another in Fukuoka.

    If you want to make a reservation, check out their official website. *Automatic translation

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