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  • Writer's pictureAditi Ramaswamy

Channelling Your Inner Lithovore

I made sugar cookies today. They are very tasty, and very much not my own creation (I used this recipe, except I didn’t have the right sugar so they turned out crunchier and rounder than I’d expected).

The point of this post is not to discuss my fairly unremarkable sugar cookies. Instead, I would like to talk about a marvellous Japanese invention, one you can see on a handful of the cookies in the above photograph: konpeito.


Have you ever looked at those little crystals you get in national park gift shops, and gotten a sudden urge to eat them? Not that I personally have felt it, nor am I explicitly admitting that I’ve come really close to putting them in my mouth once or twice. Anyway, konpeito was designed to cater to this desire. It is shaped like a series of small colourful quartz crystals, and has a pleasant crunch. Mostly it tastes like sugar, but if you let one sit on your tongue for a minute you’ll be able to taste very faint flavourings (my favourites are the purple, which are floral in a wispy sort of way).


Perhaps it is a weird candy to consider a favourite. It has no chocolate or caramel in it. There is no oomph factor or pizzazz in konpeito. It is just a small packet of bright neon, slightly larger than average sugar crystals. And I am addicted. I can no longer picture myself in a world without konpeito. I am Maruta’s most faithful consumer. Around 2pm every day, I make myself a cup of steaming hot tea and carefully pour a mini packet of konpeito into a little cup, then eat them one by one. It is a meditative experience. As I gently crunch these tiny sugary pseudo-tonsilloliths, I find myself relaxing. There is nothing complicated about konpeito. It is just sweet, and for 10 minutes around teatime, so is life.

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