Bronx Girl brings Asian dessert to the Pioneer Valley
I grew up in the Bronx and did everything a typical Bronxnite will do. Going to Yankee games, visiting the Bronx zoo, spending summers playing in an open fire hydrant to cool down from the stifling New York Summer heatwaves. Yet from as early as I can remember, I always wanted to go to Japan… I can’t remember a time when I didn’t. When I was 11, I shared with my Mom how much I wanted to see Japan. She looked at me and said, “Angie, you live in Japan.” She proceeded to tell me that when my dad was in the military, we spent the first two years of my life in Japan! I was stunned… to be so drawn to the country when I didn’t even remember being there in the first place!
Fast forward more than 20 years, I was promoted into a job that required international travel. About a year into my new position, I fell in love and was ready to go back to working full-time in the US, when I discovered that Japan was one of the countries in our project scope. Screech – halt, wait a minute!! I told myself, “not so fast, you need to stay on this project.” Never did I think this Bronx girl was ever going to go back to Japan. So I waited and waited and waited for Japan. After 6 years, I had the opportunity to make several wonderful trips to Japan and was so thrilled.
During my last trip, on an almost 100-degree day, I decided to go to a traditional Japanese
bathhouse. I thought, “What a crazy idea to visit a bathhouse on such a hot steamy day!” I
almost turned back. In retrospect, I am so grateful that I didn’t. I enjoyed an incredible
experience at the bathhouse, and as I turned back into the main building, something
caught my eye. I had never seen anything like it before. It was a cool, refreshing
dessert. Depending on the ingredients, it looked like strips of ribbon or like crushed ice.
Unlike American “snow cones,” this dessert was infused with wonderful, delicate,
natural flavors like mango, strawberry, and vanilla. I knew I’d never seen anything like
this in the US and I believed this dessert could do well in the United States. And so began my journey. Is this a coincidence, my longing to visit a country for so many years and then to find a delicate, melt-in-your-mouth dessert that was to become my inspiration for a new adventure? I think not. I think its East-meets-West.
The rest is history!