Have you ever been to Kamakura before? I have been only one time and it’s definitely one of my favorite memories of Japan. I went during Obon (the week-long vacation in the summer) of 2009. Because of my friend Abasa, I was able to make a new friend out of the trip, Rei…who served as my impromptu tour guide. Anyway, Kamakura is a wonderful place with amazing matcha (green tea ice cream) and sweet potato ice cream (yep, I said sweet potato ice cream). I guess neither of those flavors are very common in the United States. When I went, I remember trying to buy souvenirs for my co-workers and one of the recommendations that Rei made were these dove-shaped cookies from a nearby cookie shop. I didn’t end up buying them or trying them, but I wanted to. Time went on and I completely forgot all about them.
Last Friday, the sixth grade students at my elementary school went on a field trip to Kamakura. I was here teaching, but at the end of the day, when I went downstairs to the teachers’ room, I saw a plastic wrapper on my desk that said Hato Sabure (鳩サブレー). I . Inside was one of those dove-shaped cookies. My Kamakura memories came rushing back. I thought about Rei, touring the temples on a hot summer afternoon, eating enough matcha ice cream to make the average person sick to their stomach (let’s just say I have a pretty high ice-cream tolerance, lol ), and how I missed out on these cookies.
Usually, the Friday snacks at my elementary school are pretty tasty. As a result, I usually devour them as soon as I get them. This time, though, I didn’t eat the cookie right away. I was surprised to see that even for teachers that didn’t know that 6th graders went on a field trip, every one of Japanese staff members in the office looked at these cookies and immediately knew they were from Kamakura. I found that pretty interesting. So I decided to find out a bit more about this “special” cookie.
The name of the shop is also the name of the cookie. Hato, or the kanji 鳩, means pigeon or dove. The word Sabure, サブレー means shortbread in Japanese. So everyone in the office was enjoying the Dove Shortbread cookies from Kamakura. If you’re ever in the area, you may want to stop by and get one…they seem to be quite famous here in Japan.
Because these cookies are often linked to Kamakura and because so many people know of them, I sure hope this cookie tastes good. If that first nibble is good, I whole-heartedly plan on eating the crap outta this cookie!
Alright, well…It’s time for me to go eat a duck…er…umm…duck cookie.
P.S.-After writing the post, I tried the cookie. How was it? Pretty tasty. I can’t say it was a life-altering experience, but it was good. Now I can finally say I had one.