Thursday, February 2, 2023

Bringing Love From Japan: JETRO Hosts the Nukumori Valentine's Fair at Mitsukoshi BGC

The rich culture, colors and flavors of Japan are celebrated in a unique one-of-a-kind fair at the heart of Bonifacio Global City...

The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) brings the taste of Japan to Manila with the Nukumori Valentine's Fair at the Mitsukoshi Mall BGC Events Space from February 1 to 14 showcasing a variety of treats from sweet and delicate Japanese confections to unique dessert liquors. Read on for a taste of Japan with the Nukumori Valentine's Fair in Bonifacio Global City...

Located at North BGC, one can experience the vibrant culture, flavors and lifestyle of Japan in a luxurious setting at Mitsukoshi Mall. It's Tokyo in the city, with its wide selection of Japanese products in each and every corner of the massive and elegant mall. As we celebrate the month of hearts, the Nukumori Valentine's Fair reveals yet another aspect of Japanese culture. The culture of gift-giving with well-made handcrafted gifts is an enduring and timeless tradition for many Japanese and the Japan External Trade Organization or simply JETRO presents an impressive line-up of distinctive artisan gift options for Valentine's. 

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 and medium size Japanese firms maximize their global export potential.  

At the Mitsukoshi Mall BGC Events Space, the Nukumori Valentine's Fair by JETRO highlights the very best of Japan in a variety of rich and flavorful expressions for that perfect gift. The name of the fair is inspired by the Japanese word for "warmth" manifested in the tradition of gift-giving including meticulously handcrafted confections and traditional spirits such as sake and shochu. It's a memorable experience of Japan with the sights and flavors of tradition and culture by JETRO right here at Bonifacio Global City. 

In addition to a memorable experience of Japanese flavors, the fair also aims to celebrate the similarities between our two countries particularly when expressing affection and appreciation for others.   

The two-week long Valentine's themed fair at Mitsukoshi Mall BGC is open to the general public, and fair-goers can sample a curated selection of featured Japanese sweets and beverages or pose with loved ones on the colorful photo wall plus many more exciting activities.   

The attention to detail and ornate presentation of traditional Japanese gifts reflects the constant pursuit of perfection as seen in the diverse fields of Japanese art, technology and cuisine for the finest from the Land of the Rising Sun at the Nukumori Valentine's Fair. Nothing expresses one's feeling better than sweet confections, and you can sample pure indulgence like the Hakata Amaou Marugoto Strawberry Daifoku with fresh Amaou strawberries from the Fukuoka Prefecture. 

Named the "King of Strawberries" in Japan, the plump, juicy and sweet strawberries becomes the base for a lavish dessert creation with its blend of Koshian (black bean paste) or Shiroan (white bean paste) adding layers of decadent sweet notes. And that's just the proverbial tip of the iceberg, with so many more tasty creations to experience at the Nukumori Valentine's Fair by JETRO at Mitsukoshi Mall BGC.  

Sake and Shochu are an integral part of the Japanese experience, and you can sample traditional dessert liquors at the Nukumori Valentine's Fair. A popular staple in Japan's specialty stores, the range of spirits offer a wide range of distinctive notes from a soothing sharpness to deep, bold notes and a lingering sweet finish to tease the palate in this month of hearts. 

At the special preview of the Nukumori Valentine's Fair by JETRO in Mitsukoshi Mall BGC, host Tessa Prieto Valdez introduced a lavish tasting experience of authentic and traditional Japanese flavors with a curated menu by Mr. Takato Ishimoto of Mitsukoshi Federal Retail, Inc. After all, there's just no better way to experience a culture than through its food, flavors and cuisine. 

An expert in Japanese liquors, Takato Ishimoto shared the featured selection of Japanese spirits...

...starting with the Junmai Daiginjo Dassai 45, a versatile sake with its smooth yet robust flavor-forward hints of melon and honey rounded out by a lingering umami finish on the palate. 

At the exclusive preview, other traditional spirits were also served including the Little Kiss Coffee Shochu and Little Kiss Black Tea Shochu. A popular and famous libation from Japan, the uniquely flavored liqueurs are made by the centuries-old Higashi Sake Brewery. A family-run institution now led by the seventh generation since it was founded back in 1860, Higashi Sake Brewery continues to create its iconic spirits from the pristine waters of Mt. Hakusan in Ishikawa. The full-bodied yet soothing notes of coffee or calming hints of black tea, the Little Kiss Series is a perfect gift-giving option to friends and family with its refreshing flavors.

The Shochu from the Little Kiss Series by Higashi Sake Brewery contains 14% ABV and is best enjoyed simply chilled, on the rocks, mixed as a highball or even with a splash of milk.  

The Komasa Gin Hojicha is another unique spirit with its blend of roasted green tea or hojicha from Kagoshima adding rich and earthy notes, juniper berries and Japanese Cypress. The fresh and clean flavors with its subtle sharpness is best enjoyed as is, as a refreshing soda or simply with a splash of warm water.   

As a special treat, Takato Ishimoto also served his own concoction to complete the uniquely Japanese experience at the Nukumori Valentine's Fair with Komasa Gin Hojicha mixed with ceremonial grade matcha and simple syrup. The pronounced hints of matcha and the crisp and clean finish of the gin combine for a balanced and palate-cleansing finish with each refreshing sip. 

But it's the Little Kiss Coffee Shochu that had a lasting impression from the very first sip. Made with coffee from Japan, Colombia and Brazil with kome or rice shochu, the Little Kiss Coffee Shochu is a refreshingly new and different flavor experience. From the rounded full-flavored notes of coffee adding depth and the clean finish of the shochu, it's a smooth and easy libation capped by a nutty sweetness that's perfect any time of day. 

And it's also the perfect gift this Valentine's or simply a reward to yourself for a good well-behaved start to the new year. The Little Kiss Black Tea Shochu offers a different flavor profile, blended with Benifuuki black tea leaves from Tokunoshima in Kagoshima Prefecture soaked in Kome Shochu and Black Sake giving it a distinctive golden amber hue. Tea time with high spirits, this may be your cup of tea. The sweetness of black sake and the fragrant aroma of black tea leaves conspire for a light and easy drink enjoyed as is or with light meals. 

Another round of the Little Kiss Coffee Shochu? Yes, please...

To complete the pairing at the Nukumori Valentine's Fair preview, Takato Ishimoto served a curated selection of Japanese dishes starting with Tuna, Salmon and Lapu-Lapu Sashimi with a glass of Junmai Ginjo Sake weaving fresh flavors in a seamless blend with each bite and sip. 

For the second course, Takato Ishimoto presented the light and delicately crisp Ebi, Lapu-Lapu and Mushroom Tempura paired with Junmai Daiginjo Dassai 45. The flavorful burst of briny and nutty sweetness from the succulent seafood, vegetables and mushrooms drapes the palate with fresh and clean notes perfectly washed down by the sake.

The final course featured a selection of Chicken, Beef and Pork Kushiyaki paired with Junmai Sake. The savory richness of the skewered meats are tempered by the sake, prepping your palate for another juicy bite. 

The sake, shochu and gin pairings revealed yet another layer in the colorful tapestry of Japanese culture experienced with traditional flavors. 

For dessert, Takato Ishimoto shared more of the featured products from the Nukumori Valentine's Festival including delectable dessert creations featuring the world-famous Amaou strawberries with the Hakata Amaou Marugoto Strawberry Daifuku with layers of silky smooth cream... well as the specialty Roll Cakes by Shinkinedo in Plain or simply filled with cream, Amaou Strawberry with the King of Strawberries harvested from their very own farm, the cream-filled Rainbow Roll and Roll Cake Tower.

Since 1948, Shinkinedo has been pleasing palates creating exquisite desserts like the Soft Haniue Rice Cake filled with sweet red bean paste and soft earthy chestnuts along with their flagship Fruit Daifuku Mochi... 

...a pillow soft delicacy filled with fresh fruits and intricately made by hand as the fruit fillings are too delicate to be handled by machines. Shinkinedo is also famous for its Mikan Daifoku containing a whole Mandarin Orange harvested from the Wakayama Prefecture and the Shine Muscat Daifuku filled with a sweet and juicy green Muscat grape. 

When you visit the Nukumori Valentine's Fair, don't forget to try the equally famous Baumkuchen or "Tree Cake/Log Cake" of Sanporoku. A lavish chocolate-covered confection made with local homegrown ingredients like sugar, Tokachi flour, eggs and butter, it's pure decadence with fresh and real flavors from the finest ingredients. Sanporoku has been making these indulgent creations since 1947 and hailed as the "Number 1 popular representative confection" of Japan. The Sanporoku creations comes in three tempting variants, Plain or simply covered in milk or white chocolate, Maple and bite-size Sanporoku Small-Cut Baumkuchen

At the fair, you'll also find other decadent treats like the Hokkaido-made Raisin Cream Sandwich and Hokkaido Butter Rich Cookies by Wakasaya Honpo as well as the Butter Cream Sand Cookie by Ryugetsu. Long known for its famous dairy produce like fresh milk and butter, the flavors of the tasty offerings come through made richer by Hokkaido's famed and renowned dairy produce.

Go ahead and enjoy one more serving of the famous Baumkuchen. But it doesn't end there, with so much more to taste, experience and discover at the Nukumori Valentine's Fair. At the fair, you can take your palate on an epic culinary journey to the Land of the Rising Sun with its wide variety of featured offerings. 

And if you're still hungry, grab a few packets of these crisp red and white Shrimp Crackers... paired with another round of sake.

Once you've completed your Valentine's shopping at the Nukumori Valentine's Fair, have a few photos taken by the Photo Wall or pick up a paper fortune cookie for some good vibes...

For me, my Nukumori Valentine's Fair experience continues at home with another shot of the Little Kiss Coffee Shochu... 

...simply enjoyed on the rocks...

...while taking stock of the memorable afternoon at Mitsukoshi Mall BGC. An immersive experience taking you deep into the richness of Japanese culture with its rich and diverse flavors, the Nukumori Valentine's Fair is one of those must-visit destinations in Bonifacio Global City. 

The experience provides an insightful peek at a culture, its different flavors and the tradition of gift-giving in this Valentine's month. 

Treat your partner to an indulgent taste from the Land of the Rising Sun, or yourself to a memorable, unique and immersive experience of Japan right here in Manila. At the Nukumori Valentine's Fair by JETRO at Mitsukoshi Mall BGC. But do hurry, the fair runs only until February 14...

For more information about JETRO Philippines and upcoming events, visit for updates.

For more on Mitsukoshi Mall BGC, visit their FB Page at

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