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Photo: Market by Jean-Georges

Sakura-Inspired Eats: The Culinary Delights of Vancouver’s Cherry Blossom Season

Each spring, as the clouds lift and the rainy season begins to fade, Vancouver residents and visitors begin to admire one of the world’s most stunning sights: thousands of cherry trees bursting forth with colorful blooms. Cherry blossoms, known as “Sakura” in Japan, are the symbolic flower of spring. In Japan, the beginning of spring is celebrated through “Hanami,” which translates to “watching blossoms”. During this celebratory period, friends and family gather to enjoy a potluck feast under the cherry blossoms, and after sundown, the cherry trees are adorned with paper lanterns for “Yozakura” or “Night Sakura.” 

To celebrate the long-awaited arrival of spring, Vancouver’s restaurants, cafes, chocolatiers, and pâtisseries begin to offer a delicious selection of Sakura-inspired eats– a highlight of the city’s culinary calendar. Here’s what’s on the menu for Sakura-Vancouver 2017:

Photo: Purdys Sake + Sakura

Purdys Sake + Sakura Truffle

To capture the fresh feeling of spring, Purdys Chocolatier has created a special Sake + Sakura truffle just in time for the cherry blossom season. This floral white-chocolate truffle combines Granville Island’s world-renowned sake with the flavorful charm of cherry blossoms. This delicious truffle was created by Purdys resident chocolatier, Rachel McKinley, who was inspired by Japanese flavors and the beauty of the cherry blossom season.

Purdys conducted extensive taste-testing experiments to achieve the perfect balance of heat and flavor in the truffle’s white-chocolate ganache center. All chocolate moulds are sprayed by hand, and an all-natural cocoa butter spray was used for the pink and white on this piece. With delectable white and dark chocolate and just a hint of spice, Purdys Sake + Sakura truffle is divine indeed.

Photo: Aaron Surman

Lucky’s Sakura Bismarck Doughnut

Whether you’re tempted by the Apple Bacon Fritter, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, or Coconut Bismarck, Lucky’s is the place to go for doughnuts in Vancouver. Starting March 30, Lucky’s Doughnuts will bake a special selection of Sakura-inspired treats. Lucky’s delicious Sakura Bismarck is filled with white-chocolate/Matcha pastry cream and topped with a strawberry/Sakura glaze.

Each doughnut comes in a pretty pink box and is decorated with fondant Sakura flowers with dehydrated salt-packed Sakura. Lucky’s Sakura Doughnuts will only be offered for a limited time, so get your fill while you can. On March 30, all proceeds from Lucky’s Sakura Doughnuts will benefit Dining Out for Life Vancouver (@vandofl) via A Loving Spoonful (@alovingspoonful), a charity that supports those living with HIV/AIDS.

Photo: Miku Vancouver

Miku’s Sour Cherry Clafoutis Tart

By combining local ingredients and tastes with traditional Japanese cuisine, Miku Vancouver delivers a unique culinary experience. Miku’s Aburi philosophy is “Ningenmi,” which means “finding joy in one’s life by bringing joy to others.” With a mouth-watering selection of steak, seafood, cocktails, and Sakura-inspired eats, joy is never in short supply at Miku.

From March 31 to April 14, Miku will celebrate the cherry blossom season with a special Sakura feature menu. The menu will include delectable delights like a Sour Cherry Clafoutis Tart, Sakura Roll, and Persephone Cocktail. The Sakura Roll features fresh scallop and sockeye salmon wrapped in hamachi and shiso, garnished with golden tobiko and finished with a salted Sakura flower.

Miku’s Persephone cocktail will feature a decorative flower floating in a blend of Odd Society Bittersweet Vermouth, Sakagura Nigori Umeshu, Absolut Vanilla, and sparkling wine. For dessert, Miku will serve a Clafoutis Tart with guanaja dark chocolate ganache and amaretto ice cream, topped with a Sakura flower.

Photo: Soirette

Soirette’s Cherry Blossom Matcha Cake

Founded by Shobna Kannusamy, alumnus of the Diplome de Pâtisserie program at Le Cordon Bleu, Soirette is a charming pâtisserie situated in the beautiful Coal Harbour area of Vancouver. Indulge your senses with a slice of Soirette’s Cherry Blossom Matcha Cake, a delicious cake that’s swirled with cherry blossom buttercream and filled with strawberry mousse and fresh strawberries. This delectable cake is finished in a pink Swiss buttercream and topped with Matcha powder, ribbons of buttercream, and a cherry blossom macaron.

For a naturally gluten-free option, Soirette is also baking a tempting Cherry Blossom Macaron Cake. This giant macaron cake is filled with swirls of cherry blossom buttercream and finished with a Matcha mousseline. Soirette’s spring high tea menu features fresh and delicate Sakura-inspired flavors, including a Cherry Blossom French Madeleine.

Photo: Market by Jean-Georges

Sakura Tasting Menu at Market by Jean-Georges

Vancouver’s posh Shangri-La Hotel is celebrating the changing of the seasons with a Sakura-inspired tasting menu at Market by Jean-Georges. This special menu was created by executive chef Ken Nakano and is available from April 1 to 30. The Sakura tasting menu is inspired by Nakano’s mother and pays homage to his Japanese heritage. “I remember having bountiful picnics beneath the beautiful cherry trees in Queen Elizabeth Park with my family each spring,” Nakano says of his childhood. “The flavors of this menu are inspired by my mother, and the Japanese cooking techniques that she instilled in me.”

From British Columbia Yesso Scallops to classic Nova Scotia Lobster, the Sakura tasting menu incorporates the finest Canadian ingredients from coast to coast. Guests will dine on dishes like Lobster Chawan Mushi with Gold Caviar, and Matcha White Chocolate “Kit Kat” with Lillooet Honey Lemon Ice Cream and Mochi for dessert. As an aperitif to the Sakura menu, guests will enjoy cocktails made with award-winning Osake sake handcrafted by Granville Island’s Artisan SakeMaker.

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