All About Japan

This Ice Cream is as Japanese as 'Matcha Pie'

Sweets Convenience Stores

Over the years, the Japonais ice cream series has been surprising us with delights designed exclusively for Japanese palates, such as Chestnut and Adzuki Red Bean, Kurumi Kuromitsu Koshian, and Double Matcha Condensed Milk and Brown Sugar Syrup. And in 2019, we'll get to try a little Matcha Pie!

It’s no secret that we’ve got a soft and gooey spot for Häagen-Dazs ice cream. But while we can’t help but fall in love with every new release they bring out, there’s one particular limited-edition series that really gets us smacking our lips, and that’s the Japan-exclusive Japonais line.

Now Häagen-Dazs is back again with a brand new Japonais release for 2019, which goes by the official name of Matcha Pie Honaka na Kuromitsu (Matcha Pie with a hint of Brown Sugar Syrup). Available exclusively at 7-Eleven stores in Japan, we headed down to our nearest branch to get our hands on one of these frozen dessert tubs for a tasting.

Tearing off the lid revealed a delicious-looking layer of flaky pie pieces, encircled by a ring of green that made us eager to find out what was hidden below. Looking closely at the layer of pie flakes, it was clear that a lot of care and attention to detail had gone into its making. Not only was each flake a perfect shade of toasty brown, but the whole mound had also been dusted with icing powder to give it an added touch of sweetness.

Dipping our spoon into the tub revealed the beauty of the ingredients that lay below the crunchy top layer. There was Häagen-Dazs’ iconic matcha ice cream, looking brilliantly green, along with some smaller pie bits and a small amount of kuromitsu brown sugar syrup.

We took a mouthful and were immediately impressed. Kuromitsu brown sugar syrup has a characteristically strong flavour similar to molasses, which can often overpower other ingredients, but the amount used in this dessert was perfect. The syrup played its melody gently in the background, adding an additional depth of flavour to the creamy matcha ice cream and bringing the individual elements together to create the unmistakable flavour profile of a matcha pie.

What impressed us most about the dessert was the remarkably well-rounded balance of flavours. It was neither sweet nor bitter, and instead of tasting like ice cream, it delivered the same type of rounded, umami moreishness that you’d find in a pie. The pie pieces inside the dessert were less flaky and more densely compacted than those on top, giving us an additional textural element that had us devouring spoonful after spoonful until the dessert was gone.

The new Matcha Pie ice cream is an exquisite dessert that’s definitely worth trying. On sale from 7-Eleven stores around Japan for a limited time from 13 August, each tub retails for 392 yen (US$3.72).

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