Introducing Little Moons: Mochi with an Ice Cream Centre
April saw temperatures hotting up in the UK, with a mini heatwave and lots of beautiful sunny weather. So you can imagine our delight when we emerged from a hot and dusty underground train station to stumble across a popup stall selling Little Moons ice cream mochi.
For those of you who aren't familiar with what mochi is, it's essentially a Japanese wagashi (sweet) made from rice with a glutinous texture. Little Moons mochi is a twist on this traditional sweet, filled with refreshing ice cream and available in a variety of flavours. The perfect snack for a picnic under the cherry blossom trees!
After sampling their sakura (cherry blossom) flavour, (and eyeing up all the others on offer) we've decided to spread the word about the wonders of Little Moons. We caught up with Vivien Wong, co-founder of Little Moons to find out a bit more:
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to launch Little Moons.
My father’s cancer diagnosis in 2004 made me ask myself what I wanted out of my life and career. While I was inspired by all the intelligent people in my life, and I was lucky to work with in the City, I longed to do something I was truly passionate about and I could call my own. Starting Little Moons was going to be a challenge, yes, but an exciting one. It also gave me flexibility to get a dog, which was another thing I had longed for in my life.
My parents ran a bakery business and one of the products was traditional mochi so I had grown up with it and loved it as a snack. My brother and I discovered mochi with ice-cream on a holiday together and LOVED it. It's the combination of mochi (a soft, sweet dough) combined with ice-cream which you can eat with your fingers that makes it so fun. t was a challenge but we first targeted restaurants as people are more likely to try new things in a restaurant for the first time rather than pick it off a shelf in a supermarket
For those readers that aren't familiar with mochi, can you give us a little rundown of what it is?
Traditionally, mochi is made with red adzuki beans, and is a sweet chewy treat without ice cream. As mochi ice-cream grew in popularity in the restaurants, people would get in touch with us asking if we would consider selling it as a grocery product. It has also helped that Japanese food has grown in popularity so we have also benefited from that trend. It took two years to develop Little Moons. Despite the fact our parents have been making traditional mochi for 30 years, filling mochi with ice-cream came with added complexities that needed ironing out. It is quite a technically complex product to manufacture. Branding also took a long time once we had made the decision to go into retail
What makes Little Moons mochi special?
It’s bitesize and indulgent. We use rich, gelato ice cream and took time to develop authentic flavours first. The rice-flour dough on the outside is pillowy and slightly chewy, so the contrast is something rather pleasing as you eat a Little Moon
Tell us about your different mochi flavours and how you developed these.
Our retail flavours include Alphonso Mango, Matcha Green Tea, Madagascan Vanilla, Coconut, Toasted Sesame and Raspberry. In Selfridges Food Hall, you can try even more flavours such as Black Espresso, Hazelnut, Banana and Salted Caramel. We love to experiment with unique flavours too, such as Cherry Blossom, which is a limited edition mochi available at Whole Foods Market and our Old St station pop-up for Sakura season
What are your plans for the future?
We have new flavours coming in 2018 as well a revealing our new product packaging. Will be very exciting to share that with everyone!
Where can our readers buy Little Moons?
Little Moons is available at Waitrose, Selfridges, Ocado and Whole Foods Market.