When Japanese melons are mentioned, people often think of Yubari City in Hokkaido, home of the famous Yubari Melon, but in fact, Ibaraki Prefecture is number one in the land when it comes to both production volume and consumption of melons, and there are many varieties to choose from.

Therefore, now that it's prime melon season, it should come as no surprise to learn that a popular sweets company based in Ibaraki is featuring the fruit in their current lineup.

Based in the city of Kasama, Gruyères won the grand prize in the Ibaraki Sweets Championship for this delicious dessert which they call「真夏の貴婦人」manatsu no kifujin or "Midsummer Lady". Using a whole mini melon with a filling of melon bavarian mousse and mint jelly, then topped with a sprig of mint, it's been getting rave reviews.

Using the best available melon at the time, the dessert varies in price depending on the melon used. They are currently serving a version made with Earl's Melon, also called muskmelon, a premium melon grown in Ibaraki Prefecture. Succulent with a wonderful fragrance, smooth texture, and a subtle sweetness, they are perfectly suited for parfaits and desserts.

Midsummer Lady

Here are a few images of Midsummer Lady from Gruyères's Twitter account:

Reproduced with permission from 洋風笠間菓子グリュイエール(公式代理スタッフS) (@gruyereskasamas)

Reproduced with permission from 洋風笠間菓子グリュイエール(公式代理スタッフS) (@gruyereskasamas)

Reproduced with permission from 洋風笠間菓子グリュイエール(公式代理スタッフS) (@gruyereskasamas)

And here's a video showing it off from all angles. Try not to drool...

Before the currently offered Earl's Melon version, they had a version of the Midsummer Lady made with orange-fleshed Quincy Melons, prized for their mellow sweetness and smooth texture.

Other desserts from Gruyères

Even if you're unable to visit Gruyères now in time to try Midsummer Lady, there are always delicious seasonal sweets to enjoy, such as their famous Mont Blanc. Kasama is the top producer of chestnuts in Japan, and they use the best local variety, known as "Kasama Chestnut," for this dessert.

As you'll notice on their website, also available in English, Gruyères has made a name for itself well beyond Ibaraki Prefecture, taking home numerous national confectionery awards since it opened for business in 1983. So, it's a safe bet you'll enjoy whatever dessert you try when you visit.

Stop by Gruyères on a day-trip to Kasama

Gruyères is located just an hour and a half by train from Tokyo and you can enjoy their delicious cakes and sweets in the Gruyères Cafe. A great day-trip from Tokyo, Kasama city has many attractions such as pottery centers, the Kasama Castle ruins, the azalea festival at the Kasama Azalea Park in April and May, Japan's oldest chrysanthemum festival, established in 1908, at the Kasama Inari Shrine in October and November (2020 festival not canceled at the current time), not to mention great trekking and hiking routes on Mt. Sashiro. It's also of particular interest to martial arts enthusiasts since it's where you'll find the Aiki Jinja 合気神社, the birthplace of Aikido.

Shop Information

  • Name (JP): 洋風笠間菓子 グリュイエール
  • Name (EN): Gruyères
  • Address (main store): 〒309-1626茨城県笠間市下市毛285 | 285 Shimoichige Kasama City, Ibaraki Prefecture 309-1626
  • Access: 1 minute walk from Kasama Sta. (JR Mito Line) JR水戸線 笠間駅
  • Hours: 9:00 to 19:00
  • Cafe: 9:00 to 18:00
  • Website (English)

By - Ben K.