When it comes to pretty delicious, there is one royal family ruling Japan’s Instagram – sweets. And softcream is their queen, parading in all colors on our social media feeds. Of course, there are the mouthwatering burgers, cute sushi bites and stunning kaiseki ryori spreads, but only sweet treats look effortlessly scrumptious from any angle. A cone of softcream comes out camera-ready, so any shutterbug simply #cannot_resist taking a snap for the ‘gram. With this in mind, Tokyo Weekender invited three Insta influencers based in Japan to join us in drooling over a variety of softcream flavors – and to pick their favorites from the lineup. No cone was left unturned.
Meet the Influencers
We picked three influencers, each of them no stranger to softcream. They all boast adventurous palates, having tried some pretty unusual flavors in the past such as gold leaf, sake, soy sauce, natto, garlic, ramen, wasabi, chicken, olive oil and shirasu fish.
Jessica is a massive foodie both on and off the clock as she works as a marketing manager for Arigato Japan, a food tour company. You can find her at @wirejess on Instagram where she posts food pics, Tokyo street shots and daily life, her gorgeous cat, and anything to do with her favorite Japanese singer Aimyon. Jessica loves natto softcream with all her heart.
Aala says he’s simply @ungaijinaujapon – that’s French + Japanese meaning “a foreigner in Japan.” He takes his Japan travels and food experiences and writes about them in French for his blog and posts on his Instagram. Having lived in Japan since 2011, Aala has no shortage of stories to share.
Mehdi is the founder of the travel blog and Insta account Asian Wanderlust. This full-time dreamer explores Asia while based in Tokyo, creating gorgeous photos in the process, with food naturally being a big part of his travels.
And The Award Goes To…
At the beginning of summer, Jessica, Mehdi and Aala sat down with TW in Nissei’s test kitchen to sample four softcream flavors and rank them. First up was the unassuming milk flavor, which might trick you into thinking it’s plain boring, when actually it’s food of the gods. Then, the new and very Japanese azuki bean flavor, another wild card – could be weird, could be genius. Both the milk and azuki beans are sourced from Hokkaido, known for all things delicious, promising delicious softcream. Playing for the refreshing softcream team were two competitors: premium Amao strawberry flavor and kiwi. Both from the south of Japan, with kiwi hailing from Saga Prefecture, and the Amao strawberry coming from Fukuoka.
Bronze Medal Softcream
With a heavy heart, Jessica placed strawberry third, while Aala gave this spot to the kiwi flavor. Mehdi actually proclaimed a tie between the fruity flavors, placing strawberry and kiwi together in 3rd place. The sorbet-like flavors were commended, but they paled in comparison to the others. Everyone agreed that on a hot day, kiwi or strawberry softcream might be their first choice, but when it came to this flavor contest it was a different game.
Silver Medal Softcream
Unanimously, milk softcream was placed 2nd. Incredibly milky and rich, this classic option is popular for a reason. And no matter how many interesting flavors appear, we doubt milk softcream will ever be ousted from the top three.
Gold Medal Softcream
Azuki is king – all three influencers agreed. They were caught off guard by this humble ingredient’s milkiness, smoothness and overall perfectly balanced sweetness. There was a chocolate scent that they did not expect, and its richness offered a completely different experience than eating it in traditional Japanese desserts. Azuki had taken on a completely new persona – moved out of the wagashi house, majored in softcream, and now starring in a brand-new cone.
Softcream Flavor Wishlist
After swapping stories of softcreams from our past, and sampling the softcream flavors here and now, we started dreaming of new flavors to come. Hoping to influence the gods of softcream, our three influencers shared their wishlist…
Jessica, proudly representing all millennials, would love to see and taste avocado softcream in the future. Mehdi would love to see pistachio and almond softcream – both mixed together and as separate flavors. Aala is keeping his fingers crossed for a whisky honey combo – Japan is known for quality whisky, so why not combine it with softcream? Everyone agreed it’s a devastating oversight that there’s no coconut softcream – the sooner it debuts, the happier foodies will be.
In the meantime, there are so many softcream flavors scattered across Japan that even if you make it your mission to try a different one every day, it would probably take you more than a year to taste them all!
Do you have a dreamed-up softcream flavor?
Tag @tokyoweekender on Instagram to let us know!