Bokksu is a monthly subscription box that sends out high-end Japanese treats from local artisans. They curate each month around a theme, and include a tea pairing to enjoy with the snacks. The theme for January is “Maru”, or “circle”.
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According to the beautifully done information card, “maru” is the basis of the idea of Enso in Zen Buddhism. Enso represents goodness, enlightenment, strength, and elegance. It can be drawn closed, to represent perfection, or open, to represent the beauty in imperfection. I think maru is a wonderful theme with which to start the new year, when things “come full circle” and begin again. And on a personal note, “Maru” was one of the names I considered when adopting my cat, so I was especially thrilled with the lovely theme.
The inside of the card contains detailed information about each product, including where it was made and any allergen information.
The back describes the included tea and explains why Bokksu chose this selection.
Natural Yeast Bread Hokkaido Cream by Day Plus
Hokkaido is famous for producing rich and creamy milk, and supplies Japan with 50% of its total milk. This fluffy bread is lightly sweet and made naturally with brown rice yeast, and filled with a rich cream made with milk from Hokkaido’s Tokachi district.
Kaisen Usukeshi Kasen by Honda Seika
Shrimp senbei! These have a lighter taste than other shrimp senbei that I’ve tried – less salty, but no less flavorful. They’re twice baked so they’re extra crispy, and they are made with deep sea shrimp for a heartier flavor. To be honest, these were not my favorite shrimp senbei: a little too brittle, a little lacking in salt. The shrimp flavor is certainly richer though, and comes through more strongly.
Gaufrettes by Tokyo Fugetsudo
These wafers are mini versions of typical “gaufres”, or “waffles”. They are filled with a sweet cream that comes in three flavors: vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. The outside wafers are delicate and crispy and have their own sugary flavor, and complement the rich cream inside very well. I really liked these!
Cheese Manju Okashinai by Bambai
These smiley little guys are “manju”, or pastries made from flour, rice powder, and buckwheat. Manju are traditionally filled with red bean paste, but these have been filled with white bean paste and cheese instead. I’ve never had cheese in a manju before, and had expected it to be savory, but actually it was quite sweet. If I hadn’t read the info card, I would have thought it was filled with cream. These definitely brightened up my day a little, and they were delicious too!
Ka no Michi by Ginza Hana Noren
This cream-filled cookie sandwich came in three flavors: vanilla, matcha, and cocoa. The outside cookie is buttery and has the loveliest wave pattern, and the cream inside is thick and lightly sweet so as not to be overwhelming. These had a more delicate flavor than the gaufrettes, and would go well with an afternoon tea.
Baumkuchen by AS Foods
This German roll cake came to Japan in the early 20th century. Its name means “tree cake”, and represents the way the layers look like rings in a tree trunk. Bokksu included plain and chocolate flavors to try. These cakes were moist and rich, and had a wonderfully buttery flavor. I’m so glad they were packaged well and did not dry out at all during shipping.
Gyokuro Green Tea by Maeda-en
This category of Sencha (Japanese green tea) is one of the highest grades available. Gyokuro tea leaves must be covered from the sun for three weeks before harvesting, which allows the leaves to develop a richer flavor. This tea is steeped at a lower temperature for a longer time. I appreciate the lower temperature, so I can sip it comfortably, and I do think it has a deeper flavor than regular Sencha. Traditional Sencha is a little brighter and fresher, whereas this gyokuro has a slightly darker, almost smokier flavor. It certainly pairs well with all of the sweet treats in this box!
Another beautifully done box by Bokksu! In case you were confused as to how the theme of “Maru” ties in: all of the treats are circle shaped! I thought it was a cute and creative idea. Everything was high quality and locally sourced, and you can really tell that these snacks were made with care. This is a great box for people who want to explore Japanese culture and traditional artisanal treats. You will never be disappointed in the curation!
PR Sample. All opinions in this review are my own, and no compensation was received.