Ichigo mochi (or, more properly called ichigo daifuku) were my favorite treat when I was living in Japan. Even though... thinking about it I guess my favorite treat were daigaku imo - fried candied sweet potatoes, caramelized with sugar and a splash of soy sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. But anyway, ichigo mochi were my favorite spring treat. Mochi, small dumplings made of pounded sticky rice and filled with anko, a paste of sweet red adzuki beans, are a year-round favorite treat in Japan, even though mochi are most popular in winter around new year's. In January, I started seeing mochi stuffed with strawberries from Okinawa (which is so far south that strawberries start ripening there when the rest of Japan ist still cold and wintery).
I purchased my very first ichigo mochi and fell in love with it. The tender consistency of the mochi, the anko's subtle sweetness and the fragrance, aroma, sweetness, and juicyness of the strawberry was better than anything I had ever had before. I spend tons of yen on ichigo mochi in spring.
Back in Germany I had no way of getting mochi. Until the other day, that is. I was in Berlin and on my way back in the train station I came across a sushi place that offered mochi. Oh joy! I grabbed a pack and when I was home I stuffed it with strawberries and dug in. Very un-ladylike and very un-Japanese. If you've ever had these gems you will understand :-)