If you were at Raffles Place this week, you would’ve probably noticed this pop-up store selling Gelato from Okinawa!
This is the first pop-up store for this brand of Okinawan gelato and what immediately caught my attention were the interesting flavours such as Tofu (uh…how would this taste as a frozen dessert?), Tankan Sorbet, Purple Sweet Potato, Salted Milk (is this some sort of variation from Salted Caramel?), Cream Cheese (mmm…I’m imagining the Japanese camembert cheese cakes) and even some exotic fruit named Meyer.
Needless to say, they do have the ‘tamer’ flavours that we’re all a little more used to, which would be Matcha (green tea), brown sugar (although one must note that Okinawa is famous for their brown sugar) and Red Tea.
The gelato chain in Japan has over 30 flavours and the Okinawan flavours really come through with choice of local produce (eg. bitter goya). But of course, as mentioned earlier, some main highlights were brought in instead of the full range as not many Singaporeans are aware of the difference between Okinawan culture/produce when compared to the rest of Japan.
Did you know that the main difference between regular ice cream and Okinawa Gelato is that Okinawa Gelato uses fresh milk instead of heavy cream to create their products. Therefore, it contains less fat and relies more on the flavour, aroma and texture of the ingredients to produce that same richness and what I call, “mouth feel”. Interesting fact: the brand is called South & North because it uses milk from Okinawa (south of Japan) AND Hokkaido (north of Japan)!
Now comes the taste test! I was lucky to get a taste of all the flavours that they brought in. First mouthful, I can assure you that it tastes like regular ice cream in terms of sweetness and creaminess. I wouldn’t have guessed that it was made solely from milk.
The Tofu flavour was a bit forgettable because it just tasted like plain vanilla with just less vanilla essence. Matcha was normal. The brown sugar was good and since it is quite similar to Gula Melaka to a certain extent, I can foresee this going with waffles and coconut. I was super intrigued with the idea of the Purple Sweet Potato. However, after eating the ice cream, I felt like the actual sweet potato would’ve satisfied me a lot more.
The Meyer fruit is a natural hybrid between a lemon and orange, which is an interesting idea in itself. So, this flavour of gelato is yoghurt based with the juice of the meyer. The result was a tangy but yet creamy gelato that perks you up if you’ve had a sad excuse for lunch.
Overall, I think that their ice creams are quite delicious and I would love to try the other flavours that they have in Japan. I also liked that they were not overpoweringly sweet (unlike their European counterparts) and in true Japanese fashion, the flavours are clean and delivers what you expect.
The pop-up store has since closed and you can’t get these gelatos in stores for the time being. However, if you’re interested to know more about the brand (and their >30 flavours), do visit their website at www.gelatotree.jp.