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Esonice’s culinary gem - Mitsuji sweets!

Article sponsored by Babucha's Special Confections, Viro Kora teahouse and Tiger Express 

 

In collaboration with the Esonice-wide beloved teahouse brand Babucha’s Special Confections. We are glad to help further popularise Esonice’s tasty culinary arts to all the international food lovers out there! Today’s article is about the mouth-watering Mitsuji sweets! A very sought after dessert in any Esonian home that comes in many shapes, sizes, and tastes! But before you go looking, here is some stuff to know about Mitsuji sweets and their relevance to Esonian culture!

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~Mitsuji sweets getting prepared and served to customers in a Viro Kora Teahouse in Maimedo~

Mitsuji sweets - also known as Namitsuji (Nature's sweet candy) or Esonian sweet candy in Anglish, are a delicious confectionary candy. Very often served alongside tea during supper or tea ceremonies. They were given the name “Mitsuji” with the combination of the word miyo meaning sweet (taken from the word miyoto meaning honey); and tsuji, meaning confection or candy. Mitsuji were first created during the High Hirugo Period of Esonian history between 1000-1260 A.D being originally made from fruit and sweet bean pastes taking the forms of cubes and often took days to dry. They were meant to be the representation of nature and the natural elements, and became a regular offering by Arikai priests to the ari such as the wekari of the sun, and wekari of the mun. Including some ari such as the ari of love and the ari of nature. Because of this, Mitsuji weren’t considered popular by the wider Esonian society and were considered too tedious to make, and only useful for spiritual purposes. But that slowly started changing as the Late Hirugo Period came in the 15th century. 

 

During the 1400s many have realised that Mitsuji during its preparation were very mouldable and could be combined with other ingredients such as honey and chocolate. People started to experiment what they were able to make with Mitsuji, and soon enough, the creation of Mitsuji became an artistic expression and an artisan creation. People moulded Mitsuji into many shapes, those of flowers and leaves soon becoming the most common. This caused Mitsuji to soar in popularity among regular people; but especially the upper classes who started having Mitsuji as part of tea ceremonies offered on porcelain plates. Soon making them an integral and undetachable part of tea ceremonies in Esonice as a result.

 

As time went on into the 16th and 17th centuries, Mitsuji continued to change and grow in the hearts of many, especially with the normalisation of sugar in Esonian cuisine. Sugar revolutionised Mitsuji sweets, allowing them to become the size of an average muffin and allowed for wider possibilities of taste and shape, and also made the time of making Mitsuji last from a few days to only a few hours. The 17th century also is when Mitsuji became associated with love and soon the July time Suchi-Koshin festival (Sun and Mun festival)!
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~Mitsuji being made in Babucha's Special Confectionary teahouse branch in Vikitsu~

In the Suchi-Koshin festival

Ah the San and Mun festival, a truly magical time during the year. And a time when boxes of Mitsuji come flying onto your doorstep or flowing down the river in hordes, that is not a joke mind you. The reason behind this perceived weirdness by foreigners of nicely packed Mitsuji gently drifting down hundreds of river streams in Esonice is because of another similar tradition within the Suchi-Koshin festival. But before that, let's talk about how Mitsuji became part of this nationally adored love festival. 

 

Because of Mitsuji’s original association with the wekari of the San and Mun and their child, ari of love and joy, they tied nicely into the love legend of how the sky and space were created, and day and night harmonised. Many have got the idea that if they asked priests at the shrines of the ari of love and joy to give their blessing to their Mitsuji, it would mean that their special someone would have their love strengthened and rejuvenated towards them. It slowly started becoming a popular tradition every year for the San and Mun festival, so much so special handmade boxes started being made and letters to go with them. And since Mitsuji were expensive and still pretty tedious to make, even without the artistic part to them, it signified to the other the wealth and power the person had to provide to their spouse or soon to be one.

 

Gifting Mitsuji during the San and Mun festival soon became a common tradition of the festival during the 19th century. It also inspired people to once again experiment with the shape of Mitsuji, making elaborate hearts and symbols of love. It was also the time Mitsuji in shapes of animal faces started becoming common and popularised. 

 

During the 20th century, people finally joined Mitsuji with the San and Mun festival’s most vital and important tradition, flower and shell crowns, that are sent flowing down the rivers of the nation in hopes of soulmates finding them, and symbolising the love between the San and Mun wekari. People soon started sending boxes of Mitsuji down the waters of Esonice alongside their crowns in hope that if their soulmate received both it would guarantee an eternity with them as the Mitsuji were blessed by the ari of love and joy himself. This forever settled Mitsuji sweets place within the festival, and continues to this very day on every July 27th of every year. 

Other than the Suchi-Koshin festival, in the late 20th and 21st century it also became highly popular to shape Mitsuji into popular Esomation and gaming characters and many other cute stuff!


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~A box of homemade Mitsuji prepared for being gifted on the San and Mun festival~

We at Katara hope that this was an insightful and educational article for you and many others! We are proud that we are able to spread love and awareness for Esonian culture. And wishing that one day,  you'll come visit our wonderful nation and experience all the wonderful sides of what Esonice has to offer and inspire within! And who knows, maybe you'll learn how to make Mitsuji sweets yourself?


But as always, if you visit our dear reader, you will 
witness the unforgettable 

Edited by Esonice
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