Cherry Blossom-Flavored Treats Are the Pumpkin Spice of Japan


According to Square, the sale of pumpkin spice-related products in the United States increased 1200 percent from August to October of last year. Some might find that trend baffling, but the truth is, we're not alone in our seasonal flavor obsessions. In Japan, the annual taste sensation is sakura, also known as cherry blossoms, and both Starbucks and Baskin-Robbins have gotten an early start on selling their own variations on the theme.

Cherry blossoms bloom at different times throughout Japan, but they largely appear between March and May. According to Japan Today, Baskin Robbins (known locally as B-R Thirty One Ice Cream) is bringing back sakura-flavored ice cream after a 24-year hiatus. The ice cream will include cherry blossom leaves as an ingredient, and is described as having a cherry blossom rice cake taste with what Japan Today describes as “just a hint of salt.” The Japan Times describes cherry blossom leaves as having a “fragrant, salty-sour taste,” and as any foodie knows, the salty/sweet combo is a winning one.

The flavor became available today and will stick around until May. The launch comes just a week before Sakura Pepsi, but nearly a month behind Starbucks and its "Sakura Blossom" frappuccinos and lattes (seen above), which launched on February 15. As Japan Today points out, the Starbucks rollout missed Hina Matsuri, a holiday where eating a treat called sakura mochi is customary, and was too early for the actual bloom season, but given the country’s history of sakura-flavored cuisine, timing probably isn't everything.

If cherry blossom sweet treats aren’t your style, there's always hope that McDonald’s will bring back its limited edition Sakura and teriyaki pork burger.

Images via iStock.

[h/t Japan Today]