Okayama AKA the ‘Sunny Land’ is known for its delicious fruit and in particular, its white peaches. The folk tale of Momotaro, a boy born from a peach who became a warrior, originated in this region. Here, as well as actual whole fruits, an extensive variety of fruit (in particular peach and grape) products are on offer. These include, fruit jams, fruit chocolate, fruit jello-like desserts, fruit tea and even fruit curry! Not sure how I feel about the latter but hey! We ought to give everything a go, right? Perhaps most popular of all fruity products though, are Okayama’s fruit parfaits. These as you can imagine, can be seriously good and are often served with a combination of cream/ice-cream/sponge cake and oddly, corn-flakes – go figure? And range anywhere from 600YEN to a whopping 2200YEN.
So, where is the BEST fruit parfait in Okayama you say? Kurashiki Momoko is my answer (In Kurashiki – well, duh). Kurashiki Momoko is a farm direct outlet located in the Historical Quarter of Kurashiki, run by the Okayama Prefecture Vegetables and Fruits Sales Group. The two-story building is a retail space on the ground floor and an adorable wooden furniture fitted café, on the second. You know a place knows their shizzle when there’s a line out the door!
One of the most popular items on their menu is the fruit parfait, which is available only during the peach season. Fruit options include: peach (well, of course), grape, fig, pear and mixed fruit. They are generously proportioned (especially the 22000Yen one) and seriously GOOD – I mean look at that picture! The café also serves smoothies, gelatos and other cakes/sweets as well as a range of edible souvenirs, all made with locally grown Okayama fruit.
We ordered the fig and pear parfaits and ohhh boy.
However; I do have one tiny complaint though. When we finally reached the counter, after having waited our turn like civil folk, we were escorted all the way to the back of the line again! What had happened is that the shop assistant had assumed (as unfortunately often happens here – sorrynotsorry) that the foreigners had pushed in line. Thanks to a lovely Japanese woman (who with her family had been waiting behind us all along) speaking up, we were apologised to and escorted to the front again. Here’s hoping you won’t have the same experience – A minor glinch compared to the epic sequel, though!
Although Christchurch and Kurashiki are some 5800 miles apart, riding down the Kurashiki river feels almost identical to punting on the Avon. In fact, some may say the two are related (wink wink). According to my Japanese friends, Kurashiki, Christchurch’s sister city is most famous for its incredible art (glass in particular), delicious food and great shopping (jeans in particular). In other words: its Christchurch. Except with a snack shop entirely dedicated to soy snacks (peach, shrimp, matcha, white grape, grape grape and so on), an extensive chopstick store and a denim district equipped with a denim cafe selling everything blue – and when I say everything I mean everything: denim sweet bread, denim burger and denim soft serve. Ewww!