This Store in Kobe Specializes in Healthy Pumpkin-Infused Delicacies
It's hidden in one of the biggest shopping districts in Kobe.
SPECIALTY PUMPKIN ZUCCA
2-9-13 Sannomiyacho, Chuo District, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture
It is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily except Wednesdays.
How to get there: It's a 7-minute walk from Hanshin/Hankyu Kobe Sannomiya Station and JR Sannomiya Station
SPECIALTY PUMPKIN ZUCCA, a pumpkin specialty store, opened last June in the middle of Sannomiya Hondori Shotengai shopping street. Here, you can enjoy various dishes and sweets made with high-quality winter squash. The shop's eye-catching and stylish exterior will remind you of coffee stands.
Aside from the sweets and dishes offered in the store, they also sell whole winter squashes.
"Squash is not that easy to prepare. But we hope to show our customers how good they can taste through our delicious menu,” Ms. Mao Mori, a staff member explains.
Inside the store, you can have additive-free organic snacks made with generous amounts of rare winter squash. (Fun Fact: This type of squash makes up 0.1% of Japan's squash production.) They are harvested by 70 producers from Hokkaido, Miyazaki, and Nagasaki.
The fine quality sweetness, freshly-baked crumbly texture, and deep savory flavor of the shop's snacks will make you want to order more.
Lots of customers come to the shopping street on weekends and holidays.
Zucca is a company that has been selling squash products for 30 years now. SPECIALTY PUMPKIN ZUCCA is a sister branch of Zucca FINE VEGETABLE & DELI located in Mikage, Higashinada District, Kobe City.
Ms. Mori is a part of Zucca’s Product Development Department and now works as a member of the crew at this new store.
“While the Mikage shop mainly sells dishes, here at Sannomiya, we focus on our sweets menu, which customers can eat as a light snack in the middle of their shopping spree,” says Ms. Mori.
Their best-selling Pumpkin Donuts are perfect for pasalubong.
The Pumpkin Donuts (¥900 for 10 pcs.) is the store’s best-selling and most popular product. Its dough is made up of winter squash. The mild sweetness spreads in your mouth as soon as you take a bite.
"Since it's additive-free, most of our customers are mothers who want to give their children safe and healthy food for their afternoon snack. However, many male customers take these donuts home as well, " Ms. Mori shares.
The Pumpkin Parfait Special consists of deep-fried pumpkin, pumpkin donuts, and pumpkin soft serve topped with brownies and cheesecake.
Ms. Mori recommends trying the Pumpkin Parfait Special (¥990).
“The parfait toppings, such as the deep-fried pumpkin, cheesecake, brownies, and donuts, are also sold ala carte. Customers can enjoy different products made with squash through this parfait,” she explains.
You won’t be able to resist the perfect combination of the deep-fried pumpkin and donut’s texture with the mild sweetness of the soft serve. The creamy cheesecake and brownie will also have you ordering a second serving.
Aside from these, the Mixed Float (¥750) and Pumpkin Croquette (¥1,000 for five pcs.) are also available.
Their Winter Squash (¥2,160) is produced through a cultivation technique that allows nutrients to be gathered in every fruit.
The store's handmade sweets are enjoyed by everyone, regardless of age.
“On weekends and holidays, our customers are mostly from the younger generation. During weekdays, housewives and elderly people comprise the majority of them," Ms. Mori elaborates.
Moreover, being in the biggest shopping district in Kobe attracts many tourists to the shop too. Some of them even come from afar just to visit the store.
“One customer from Yokohama went to our Mikage store the day before visiting ours,” she fondly recalls.
As a shop that opened not even half a year ago, this store is relatively new in the area.
“I think this shopping street has a very warm and welcoming atmosphere. It's probably because the other shops on this street have been around for so many years already,” she tells us. “I find it heartwarming to see the staff of other shops casually talking to passersby like they’ve known each other for a long time.”
Pumpkin Donuts (10 pcs.) are freshly-made in the store. Sometimes, they are being offered to passersby for tasting.
"The stores get along so well," she comments on the charm of working in a shopping street. “Employees of neighboring shops come to our place to buy our products or simply say hi, and we really appreciate it.”
When asked about the possible changes that can be done to ensure the future of shopping streets, Ms. Mori answers, "Sometimes I think more customers would come if there are benches along the shopping street."
Ms. Mori says she finds the warm atmosphere of the shopping street really charming.
Make sure to try the rare winter squash delicacies at this shop the next time you're in Kobe! Bookmark this for your next Japan trip.
*Prices listed in the article are all tax excluded unless stated otherwise. Some products may be subjected to the reduced tax rate, and may therefore vary from the prices above.
Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Tokyo Walker™ (27 September 2019)