2014 Pumpkin Beer Masterlist

This year’s winner: Elysian’s Punkuccino. I was a little skeptical of a coffee-chocolate-pumpkin beer, but the flavors are perfectly balanced–a molasses-malt head, rich pumpkin, coffee, and stout with a little sweetness.   I got to try a lot of these at the Great Pumpkin Beer Festival–highly recommend the event. Special thanks to my family in…

Marketing Halloween in Japan: Krispy Skremes

Today’s post is about shifts in marketing: which brands continue to produce Halloween-themed goods/advertising and which don’t. Also doughnuts. Mister Donut decided to go with fall-themed cronuts this year: crushed chestnut whip, apple-custard pie, and cherry-cream pie. Meanwhile, Krispy Kreme Japan went full-out Halloween with “Krispy Skremes,” and they are not messing around:

Marketing Halloween in Japan: Pocky

Pocky’s been doing Halloween-themed packaging for a few years but I hadn’t written about it because the product was the same. This year, Pocky has Halloween packaging for the normal chocolate and strawberry flavors:   But also a Kumamon(the mascot of Kumamoto prefecture)-themed “sweet pumpkin” flavor that I found out about via @inheritingexile’s Instagram.

Marketing Halloween in Japan 2014: KFC Halloween Bucket

It’s that time again! As I’ve written before, Halloween has exploded into the Japanese food scene. Ten years ago, there were–as to be expected–barely any Halloween specials or goods. An increasingly large cultural shift toward Halloween as popular (children’s) holiday began sometime around 2010. While some of the shift was motivated by consumer demand, the ramped up…

The Rosette of Versailles: Apple Custard Tart with Walnut Crust

I offered to bring tarts to a dear friend’s family Thanksgiving and found this recipe as I was considering my repertoire. Also, geeky-dessert talk: I’m a huge fan of Ikeda Riyoko’s The Rose of Versailles (Beru Bara) fan*, so how could I pass up the tarte bouquet de roses? This tart looks and tastes elegant: the freshness…

Japan-Friendly Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

Hosting two Thanksgivings in Japan taught me to love the holiday and its food again. My friends are amazing cooks, and the sheer sense of community, of getting together to remake a tradition in our own way really made the holiday feel special. Last year, I did a recipe-roundup of our meal. This year, I’d like to…

Halloween 2013: Lupicia Tea

Lupicia is one of the Japanese companies that has really embraced Halloween marketing and does it incredibly well.

Mister Donuts Halloween Donuts 2013

Last year’s Halloween-themed pumpkin-flavored Mister Donuts doughnuts were delicious. This year, they’ve added a ghost and Hello Kitty shapes, and it appears that the batter is normal but the icing is kabocha-chocolate flavored.

Halloween Kit Kats 2013: Where’s the Pumpkin?

In a country full of pumpkin-spice everything, I found special Halloween Kit Kats in Seattle, and they were somehow not pumpkin flavored. The American Halloween Kit Kats this year are orange-colored white chocolate abominations, as they apparently are every year.