Saturday, February 11, 2023

JETRO’s Nukumori Fair brings Love from Japan this Valentine Season at Mitsokoshi Mall BGC

From sweet and delicate confections to one-of-a-kind dessert liquors, must-try treats await lovers of Japanese food and culture

Japan is beloved for its certain gentle warmth, which resonates with its people, cuisine, and culture as a whole. There’s a quiet sophistication that’s often difficult to replicate and therefore must be experienced first-hand, especially when it comes to their handcrafted delicacies and liquors.

This Valentine’s season, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is hosting a one-of-a-kind fair that will surely bring a taste of Japan to Metro Manila, the Nukumori Valentine’s Fair.

Nukumori Valentine’s Fair

Gift-giving is a big part of Japanese culture. Being known around the world for their thoughtfulness, Japanese people take pride in giving well-made handcrafted gifts that are often made locally by talented artisans and well-known homegrown brands.

From February 1st until the 14th, the Nukumori Valentine’s Fair will be open to the public at the Mitsukoshi Mall BGC Events Space. It aims to celebrate love in all its forms and highlight the gentle warmth of the Japanese people, how it radiates to others – whether friends, family, significant other, and sometimes even strangers. Nukumori, which means ‘warmth’ in Japanese, manifests through the world-famous hospitality of Japanese culture, like thoughtful gift-giving, meticulously handcrafted confections, and wholesome acts of service.

Through this Valentine-themed fair, JETRO also aims to celebrate the partnership and similarities between Japan and the Philippines when it comes to expressing affection and appreciation for others.

The fair will feature Japan’s well-loved and premium confections, highlighting some of the best creations from the Land of the Rising Sun. Fair-goers can sample some featured sweets and beverages, pose with loved ones on photo walls to create lasting memories, and more exciting activities throughout the two-week-long fair.

Delicious Expectations

Everyone attending the Nukumori Valentine’s Fair can expect nothing but the best of Japanese confections and dessert liquors. Sweet creations are some of the most popular gift items in Japan because of its delicious flavors, captivating presentation, beautiful packaging, and of course, the hard work of the Japanese men and women who have dedicated their lives to this craft. It is the sweetest way to say “I love you”.

From Hokkaido comes the famous Baumkuchen of Sanporoku, which uses locally made/grown ingredients like sugar, Tokachi flour, eggs, and butter. Sanporoku has been making their signature chocolate-covered Baumkuchen since 1947 and it has been hailed as the “No.1 popular representative confectionery” in Japan. Sanporoku Baumkuchen comes in three variants: Plain (covered in milk chocolate or white chocolate), Maple, and portion-sized Sanporoku Small Cut Baumkuchen.

Hokkaido-made confections Raisin Cream Sandwich and Hokkaido Butter Rich Cookies by Wakasaya Honpo are also famous for its rich and creamy flavor.

Another famous Hokkaido sweet treat is the Butter Cream Sand Cookie by Ryugetsu, which is a “marriage of red bean paste and butter”. The an-butter cream is made with Hokkaido-sourced ingredients and sandwiched between two Okhotsk salt-flavored sable cookies. The butter is slightly fermented to give it a unique flavor.

The Amaou Strawberry from Fukuoka Prefecture has been named the ‘king’ of strawberries in Japan. Plump, juicy, and oh-so-sweet, these strawberries are the star of Hakata Amaou Marugoto Strawberry Daifuku. The daifuku either had Koshian (black bean paste) or Shiroan (white bean paste).

Since 1948, Shinkinedo has been making their famous Fruit Daifuku Mochi by hand because the fruits they use are too delicate to be handled by machine. They are famous for their Mikan Daifuku, which contains a whole Mikan or Mandarin orange from the Wakayama Prefecture, as well as their Shine Muscat Daifuku, which contains a piece of sweet and juicy green Muscat grape. Shinkinedo also makes Soft Haniue Rice Cake filled with sweet red bean paste and soft earthy chestnuts; fluffy Roll Cakes that come in Plain (filled with soft cream), Amaou Strawberry (grown from their own farm), and the cream-filled Rainbow Roll that is as delicious as it is eye-catching; and the deliciously fun Roll Cake Tower comprised of mini roll cakes that one can stack on top of each other to build a tower of desserts, which comes in nine variants: Plain, Black Tea, Strawberry, Mango, Chocolate, Black Sesame, Marron (chestnuts in French), Green Tea, and Raspberry.

Japan is also known for its luscious dessert liquors and has become a staple in many specialty and souvenir stores in the country. It’s the perfect gift for mixologists and food professionals, foodies, cocktail lovers, and anyone with an adventurous spirit. The Nukumori Valentine’s Fair will be highlighting the following beverages:

The Komasa Gin Hojicha is one of the most popular drinks from Japan because of its rich and earthy flavors made of Hojicha (roasted green tea) with hints of Juniper Berries and Japanese Cypress. The Hojicha comes from Kagoshima, one of Japan's leading tea-producing regions. It is best enjoyed in its simplicity as Hojicha Soda or simply gin with warm water.

Little Kiss Coffee Shochu is another famous drink from Japan. This coffee-flavored liqueur made by century-old Higashi Sake Brewery is part of the Little Kiss line of products, which aims to appeal to the younger market. It’s made of coffee from Japan, Columbia, and Brazil with Kome (Rice) Shochu. The delicate aroma of the coffee goes well with the robust flavors of the shochu.

Another part of Higashi Sake Brewery’s Little Kiss Series is the Black Tea Shochu. It uses Benifuuki black tea leaves from Tokunoshima in Kagoshima Prefecture soaked in Kome Shochu and black sake, giving the liquor its golden amber color. It’s a refreshing and easy-to-drink liqueur that blends the sweetness of black sake with the aroma of black tea so beautifully, making it ideal for tea time or paired with light meals.

The shochu from the Little Kiss Series has 14% ABV (alcohol by volume) and is best enjoyed chilled, on the rocks, mixed as a highball, or even with a splash of milk.

In the Philippines, these unique confections and dessert liquors are available at Mitsukoshi Fresh all year long.

A Nukumori Tasting Experience

At the launch of the Nukumori Valentine’s Fair on February 1st, members of the media and the blogging community experienced a curated menu featuring Japanese favorites curated by Mr. Takato Ishimoto of Mitsukoshi Federal Retail, Inc. who is also an expert in Japanese liquors.

The meal started with Tuna, Salmon, and Lapu-Lapu Sashimi paired with Junmai Ginjo (sake). 

The second course was Ebi, Lapu-Lapu, and Mushroom Tempura – fresh out of the fryer – paired with Junmai Daiginjo Dassai 45 (sake). 

For the third savory course, guests were served Kushiyaki made of chicken, pork, and beef paired with Junmai (sake).

The two dessert courses highlighted some of the products offered at the Nukumori Valentine’s Fair: duo of Hakata Amaou Marugoto Strawberry Daifuku and Shinkinedo Roll Cake paired with Little Kiss Black Tea (dessert liqueur/shochu); then Sanporoku Chocolate-covered Baumkuchen and Ryugetsu Butter Sand Cookie paired with Little Kiss Coffee (dessert liqueur/shochu).

As a traditional ending to most Japanese meals, the tasting ended on a savory note with crispy red and white shrimp crackers paired with Komasa Hojicha Gin mixed with ceremonial grade matcha and simple syrup – Mr. Ishimoto’s very own concoction.

The Nukumori Valentine’s Fair will run from February 1 to 14, 2023 at the Mitsukoshi Mall BGC Events Space.

For more information about JETRO Philippines and upcoming events, visit


The Japan External Trade Organization, or JETRO, is a Japanese government-related organization that works to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world. Through its various services and activities, JETRO aims to help small to medium size; Japanese firms maximize their global export potential.

The Certification program of Japanese Food and Ingredient Supporter Stores Overseas was designed to certify overseas restaurants, bars, and retailers who carry Japanese food and beverages as official “Japanese Food Supporters” to promote Japanese agricultural, forestry, fishery, and food products around the world.

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