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A sweet sign of spring.

The winter chill is finally starting to fade, but we’ve still got a bit of a wait until we start seeing sakura blooming on Japan’s cherry trees. However, you can get an early start on cherry blossom season by enjoying Japan’s favorite flower in a different, and edible, form right now.

Japanese confectioner Eiwa’s Sakurairo Marshmallows are as soft and sweet as you’d expect, but instead of the squat cylinder the candies usually come in, each marshmallow is shaped like a cherry blossom petal, with the flower’s distinctive cleft serving as a charming accent. Made with sakura extract, each bag contains two flavors, the pink sakura marshmallows, and the white sakura latte marshmallows.

Since they’re marshmallows, there’s nothing stopping you from just grabbing a fistful and tossing them into your mouth, except maybe embarrassment at your own gluttony (this isn’t a problem for us, since we made peace with our gluttony long ago). However, the really cool way to enjoy Sakurairo Marshmallow is to use them as delicious and artistic enhancements for other desserts, like these cupcakes which look so beautiful we’d like to spread out a blanket and have a hanami cherry blossom-viewing party while gazing at them.

You don’t even have to get particularly fancy with the rest of the dessert. For example, if you can make a short stack of pancakes, slice a few strawberries, and squirt some whipped cream out of a can, you could make this cafe-quality creation.

And of course, sakura …continue reading