Tuesday, November 13, 2007

飴細工師 (あめざいくし) : Miyuki-san and her candy arts!

While we were visiting EPCOT for the International Food and WIne Festival (see previous post), we were fortunate enough to visit one of our favorite people-- Miyuki Sugimori. みゆきさん (Miyuki-san) is one of a select few Japanese candy artists (and the only female!) practicing amezaiku today.
飴細工師 (あめざいくし) (amezaikushi): practitioner of the art of candy fashioned in human and animal form

Amezaiku originated in the Edo period of Japanese history, approximately 300 years ago. Miyuki-san learned the art of candy from her grandfather, one of the most renowned artists of our time.

Candy artists create animals and flowers with soft rice dough, very much like taffy. The dough is worked with while it is hot, colored and shaped, and hardens while it cools. With her skilled hands and sharp scissors, Miyuki-san makes animals such as dragons, lions, tigers, hummingbirds, horses, monkeys, dolphins, and many more.
Following completion of the models, Miyuki-san decorates them, using a paintbrush and food-color based "paint." The entire process-- from coloring, shaping, cutting, and painting-- takes only a couple of minutes!
Treats are allowed to cool for a few minutes, bagged, and given to the children who requested them-- a beautiful (and delicious) keepsake from the only female Japanese candy artist in the world! (Pictured right, Miyuki-san finishes decorating a pink elephant. Pictured below, a yellow duck is hung in front of a fan to dry, prior to packaging.)

Some of Miyuki-san's other creations are pictured below.
a golden lion...
a fierce blue dragon...
a running tiger...
Next time you find yourself visiting EPCOT, be sure to stop by the Japan pavilion and check out Miyuki-san's edible creations. You will be amazed and entertained!

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