In July in the Vilnius shopping center "G9"Motiko" dessert cafe selling unique Japanese "mochi" desserts opened its doors, and next Monday two more of its branches will open - one will be open "at the riverside market" in Užupi, the other "Benedict Market" in Fabijoniškės.
"Mother” are traditional Japanese sweets with an elastic rice dough shell on the outside and vegetable cream inside. These cakes are gluten free, relatively low in calories and suitable for vegans.
When "mochi" was started to be produced is not exactly clear, but it is assumed that this tradition came to Japan came from China even before our era, and became especially popular in the 6th century.
Today it is popular sweet, eaten by the Japanese both everyday and during holidays. "Mother” is a popular gift for weddings, the birth of a baby and celebrating the New Year. Different regions of Japan produce "mother" are different - in some places they are made only from dough and eaten fresh or dried, in other places the filling is added, but its composition and quantity vary, and the shape and size of the "moči" themselves may differ. Today, the most popular "mother" - with ice cream filling.
"Mother” were very common among members of the samurai class, many emperors also enjoyed eating them. The Japanese associate "mochi" with strength and abundance. A legend is still told in the country about one rich man who with "mother"behaved disrespectfully, even shot at him from a bow, but missed. "Mother” then it turned into a white bird and flew away, and the rich man fell ill the next day, his wealth began to rapidly disappear, and he ended his days in utter poverty.
"These desserts are real unique. There is nothing like it anywhere in the world. Their texture is unusual and their taste is very good. The shell is elastic, like chewing gum, and the filling resembles a souffle," said Jorūnė Stonienė, the founder of the cafe. According to her, since popular in Japan "mother" with ice cream, "Motiko's sweets are somewhat different - although the filling resembles ice cream, it is not ice cream - when the "mochi" is kept at room temperature, it does not melt, lose its shape or taste.
"Our "mochi" can be eaten both cold and warm - everyone chooses what is tastier for them. However, for most, the most delicious "mother"eat barely thawed. After taking them out of the freezer, we bring them to the customers together with the hourglass - in 10 minutes the dessert is thawed and ready to eat," the interviewer explained the process. Such a ritual is intended not only to best reveal the taste of "moči", but also to encourage customers to pause and enjoy the peace. "Many are used to the fast pace of life, and do not have time to have a leisurely meal or spend time with loved ones at lunch or dinner. Our philosophy is to inspire people not to rush, to appreciate every moment, because only then can you feel the fullness of life", J. Stonienė is convinced.
Currently, the dessert cafe "Motiko" assortment includes 12 "moči" flavors. True, three more types will soon be added to the assortment (two of them - pannacotta cheese and salty caramels will be non-vegan).
"Mother"the shell is made from a special type of short-grain rice flour, water and sugar with various additives, such as freeze-dried fruit powder for color, and the filling from fruits, berries, nuts, seeds, plant milk, cream. No synthetic materials are used to make the desserts.
According to J. Stonienie, Lithuanians "mother"eagerly tasting. Although the cafe has been operating for a very short time, it already has a number of regular customers. The most popular flavors are mango, matcha, blueberry, pistachio. "The reviews are only the best, many say that this is the tastiest dessert they've ever tasted and promise to come here every day, others are happy that when they visit from now on they will have a place to buy a unique sweet gift," smiled the businesswoman.
Special taste "mother"Motiko is also visited by Japanese people staying in Vilnius. "They are surprised that someone so far from their homeland wants to spread their culture." We also get a lot of compliments about the taste", J. Stonienė was happy. Pies can be eaten on the spot or taken home. Freeze "mother” is valid for almost a year. Sweets can also be packed in special gift boxes when purchasing.
"Mother” are usually eaten with the hands, although they can also be eaten with chopsticks. The Japanese usually eat these desserts with various types of green tea - matcha, sencha, kukichi, bancha, etc., tp - with sake, Westerners - with tea red or white wine, champagne, cocktails suitable for desserts. "We primarily offer them to be tasted with matcha tea, which we have in various flavors - natural, with turmeric, cranberry powder and others. We can make it with selected vegetable milk. We also have homemade lemonades, smoothies with green tea - they also go well with "mother". And of course, those who want can choose traditional coffee or black tea", said the woman. By the way, since December "Motiko” will also sell colored latte coffee.
Until now, she has worked in the field of event organization J. Stonienie to take up a new business was encouraged by the quarantine. I have been fascinated by "Moči" for quite a long time, I dreamed of bringing them to Lithuania, but I still did not find the time. However after the announcement of the pandemic, I realized that the events will probably not be able to take place for a while or they will only be able to be organized on a very small scale, so something else needs to be done. At first we wanted “mother" to produce ourselves, but it turned out that the process is very complicated and expensive, later we discovered "Motiko" - a company founded in Moldova, which has been producing "moči" for seven years," said J. Stonienė. At the beginning of this year, the entrepreneur became "Motiko"not only a representative In Lithuania, but also in Latvia and Estonia.
"Motiko" cafes already operate in more than ten countries - In Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France, Spain, Czech Republic, Romania, etc. "Our plan is to focus on development in Lithuania this year, and to enter the Latvian and Estonian markets next year. By the way, we plan to open cafes in Lithuania not only in Vilnius, but also in other cities," she said.
Although the future of coffee shops during the pandemic is just as murky as that of events, J. Stonienė optimistic. "I won't hide it, was worried, but if they don't let us work, we will come up with something, we will provide take-out desserts, we will deliver them to the house, - she shared the back-up plans. - I was convinced that these desserts would be a novelty that would capture the hearts of many, and I decided to start a business, no matter what. It wasn't easy, I spent many nights working, but I'm glad I didn't hesitate - I'm very satisfied with the result."
"Motiko"products can also be ordered online (www.motikodesserts.lt), it's true, for now they are presented only in Vilnius, besides, several types of "moči" should reach the big shopping centers this year, the woman is also actively looking for restaurants and hotels with which she could cooperate.
J. Stoniene herself liked "moči" the first time she tasted it, and now she eats at least one of them every day. "The tastiest for me are mango and pistachio mochi, I enjoy them with black coffee. Husband and kids adore them too", she said.
Photos of Emilija Barčytė and "Motiko" archive