SEASONAL DELIGHTS (Summer 2022) - Sustainability: Preserving Traditions for Future Generations (伝統)

 SODA BUSHI DASHI (TUNA SOUP STOCK)

SODA BUSHI DASHI (TUNA SOUP STOCK)
(宗田節スープブロス
)
Producer: Tosa Shimizu Shokuhin
Prefecture: Kochi

Dashi is a simple broth made by extracting flavors from ingredients by boiling them. This dashi is made from soda bushi, a frigate tuna local to Kochi Prefecture, along with konbu (kelp) and shiitake mushrooms, that together provide all three amino acids responsible for creating umami.

Tosa Shimizu Shokuhin is helping to revive the soda bushi industry inTosashimizu City, a small fishing village in Kochi, through their Mezika Revitalization Project. The project promotes local foods by preserving traditions and creating innovation. Their master craftsmen catch their tuna one by one using the traditional dragline fishing method. The fish are then simmered in kettles for an hour, deboned, then aged repeatedly by smoking and drying the fish for a week. The resulting broth is rich in flavor and full of umami.

Ingredients: Seasonings (glucose, salt, bonito extract powder, other) (domestic), olive oil, soda bushi (dried bonito from Tosashimizu City, Kochi Prefecture), soy sauce (incl. soy and wheat), spice
Suggested uses: To make a sipping broth, combine one cube with 180ml of boiling water (adjust to taste), or combine with 100ml of water and 1 tbsp of soy sauce to create mentsuyu (noodle broth). Add one cube to 200ml of liquid in soups, miso soup, ramen, curry, vegetable stews, hot pots, etc. for extra umami.
Storage: Room temperature.
 

 HOMEMADE MATSUMAE PICKLES

HOMEMADE MATSUMAE PICKLES
(松前漬手作りセット
)
Producer: Ishoku Dougen
Prefecture: Hokkaido

Selected as Culinary Kingdom’s top 100 products of 2021, this pickling set allows you to create fresh tsukemono (pickled foods) at home. Tsukemono are an integral part of Japanese cuisine, served alongside almost every meal. Here surume (dried squid) and konbu (ma-konbu (“true” kelp) and gagome, a rare sticky kelp) from Matsumae Town, located in Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido, is combined with an umami-rich, additive-free sauce which balances acidity and sweetness (known as “amazuppai” in Japanese).

Through their products, Ishoku Dougen strives to create harmony between food, health and well-being. In an age of advanced food processing, they encourage people to return back to relying on their taste buds and intuition to savor the original flavors of food and the traditions and inherited knowledge of artisan food makers.

Ingredients: Dried squid (from Hokkaido), kelp (makombu (“true” kelp, gagome kelp, brewed vinegar), sauce (starch syrup, hon mirin, soy sauce, dried bonito extract, kelp extract, salt) (incl. wheat, soybeans)
Suggested uses: Combine the ingredients in a bowl with 700ml of water and mix well. Let sit for an hour before eating. You can also include shredded vegetables such as ginger, carrots and daikon, or boiled or sashimi grade seafood.
Storage: Refrigerate after opening and use as soon as possible.
 

 SHISO (JAPANESE BASIL) SAUCE

SHISO (JAPANESE BASIL) SAUCE
(大葉ソース
)
Producer: Tanaka Soy Sauce
Prefecture: Oita

Shiso (also known as “Ōba”, perilla leaves or Japanese basil) is a Japanese herb related to mint that has an earthy flavor similar to basil and anise with hints of citrus. It comes in two main types, reddish-purple and green, and is commonly found as a garnish for sashimi, in tempura, or adding color and flavor to umeboshi (pickled Japanese plums).

Tanaka Soy Sauce is located in Oita Prefecture, one of Japan’s leading production areas of shiso. Their shiso comes from Ueki Farm which was established over 50 years ago and received the Prime Minister's Award for their particular attention to their soil and for producing safe, high-quality shiso leaves. They combine their shiso leaves with Spanish olive oil, garlic, salt and chili peppers to produce this savory paste full of minty, basil flavor.

Ingredients: Olive oil (from Spain), shiso leaves (form Oita Prefecture), garlic (domestic), salt, chili pepper (domestic)
Suggested uses: Use in place of basil such as in pasta sauces (1~1½  tbsp for 1 serving pasta), on carpaccio, as a sauce for fish/chicken/meat, on pizza, in stir fries, as a spread for toast/bagels or drizzled on cheese.
Storage: Refrigerate after opening.
 

 TRADITIONAL NERI UME (JAPANESE PLUM PASTE)

TRADITIONAL NERI UME (JAPANESE PLUM PASTE)
(ねり梅(白干梅
))
Producer: Kishu No Umekura
Prefecture: Wakayama

Neri ume is a tart and salty paste used as a seasoning in many Japanese dishes. It’s made from umeboshi (pickled Japanese plums) which are made by soaking ume (Japanese plums) in salt brines until they become plump and bright pink. Ume are related to apricots and plums yet become more sour than sweet as they ripen. This traditional neri ume is made from a special type of ume known as “kishu nanko ume”. Regarded as one of Japan’s highest-quality and most flavorful ume, it has a thin skin, small seed and soft flesh.

Kishu No Umekura produces their kishu nanko ume in Minabe town in Wakayama Prefecture, the largest production region of ume in Japan. They do not use fully ripened ume, which are used for regular umeboshi, but instead their small team carefully selects greener ume which leads to a more flavorful ume extract. The green ume are boiled down by hand by skilled craftsmen - a lengthy process as only 20 grams of ume extract can be obtained from 1 kg of green ume.

Ingredients: Ume, salt
Suggested uses: A little goes a long way in adding flavor to dishes so we recommend using a small amount. Use on cooked chicken or fish, mix with syrup or honey to add to boiled vegetables or meat, use in dressings, on pasta (try adding it to a pasta made with the Shiso Sauce in this Care Package), or mix it with katsuobushi (dried tuna flakes) to make a filling for onigiri (rice balls) or a soup when combined with hot water.
Storage: Refrigerate after opening.
 

Producer: Kawagoe Kaiundo

Producer: Kawagoe Kaiundo

 

Kawagoe Kaiundo, located in Kawakgoe City in Saitama Prefecture, grows their sweet potatoes (also known as “imo”, a local specialty) using the traditional fallen-leaf composting method, which has been around for over 300 years. Fallen leaves are combined with fermenting microorganisms and left for two years to turn into compost. The resulting soil is fertile and soft, allowing for the roots of the sweet potatoes to grow deep into soil and to easily absorb the soil’s rich nutrients. The plump sweet potatoes are harvested in the fall before being left to ripen, bringing out their natural sweetness. This recycling-oriented farming method won the Emperor's Cup in the village development category at the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Festival and is recognized as a Japan Agricultural Heritage.

 

KAWAGOE POTATO BUTTERCREAM

KAWAGOE POTATO BUTTERCREAM
(川越芋バター
)
Producer: Kawagoe Kaiundo
Prefecture: Saitama

This smooth buttercream is made from imo (sweet potatoes) that are first steamed to bring out their natural sweetness then made into a smooth paste by combining it with beet sugar, unsalted butter and a unique blend of white wine, coffee and soy sauce. The resulting spread has an exquisite sweetness and creamy, rich flavor.

Ingredients: Sweet potato (from Saitama Prefecture), beet sugar, domestic unsalted butter (milk ingredients), dextrin, white wine, coffee, soy sauce (non-GMO soybeans, wheat)
Suggested uses: Spread on toast, pancakes or crackers, or as a topping for ice cream.
Storage: Refrigerate after opening and use as soon as possible.
 

KAWAGOE POTATO SENBEI 

KAWAGOE POTATO SENBEI
(川越芋せんべい
)
Producer: Kawagoe Kaiundo
Prefecture: Saitama

Another artisanal way to enjoy imo from Kawagoe are these potato “senbei”. Senbei are crackers typically made from non-glutinous rice which are formed into big, round circles. Kawagoe has created these baked, crunchy senbei from local imo with a hint of black sesame to allow you to enjoy the full natural taste of the sweet potato. 

Ingredients: Sweet potato (from Saitama Prefecture), black sesame
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is.
Storage: Room temperature away from humidity.
 

BARLEY MISO WALNUTS 

BARLEY MISO WALNUTS
(
麦味噌くるみ)
Producer: Hoshisan
Prefecture: Kumamoto

These Barley Miso Walnuts combine 100 years of history and miso making tradition with ingredients grown from the groundwater deep below Aso City in Kumamoto Prefecture. Hoshisan was founded in 1906 by the current president’s grandparents. Using the same original methods, their skilled miso craftsmen age rice, barley, soybeans and natural salt from the Amakusa islands to create their signature miso. To this they add a touch of sweetness, achieving a balanced sweet and salty flavor known as “amajoppai”, which is then used to coat crispy walnuts.

Ingredients: Walnuts, sugar, miso (incl. soybeans)
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is.
Storage: Room temperature away from humidity.
 

BLACK RICE AND MILLET COFFEE (NON-CAFFEINE) 

BLACK RICE AND MILLET COFFEE (NON-CAFFEINE)
(黒稗珈琲
)
Producer: Itoshi Iro (Panda Sekkei Dan)
Prefecture: Gifu

This grain-roasted “coffee” is made from hie (millet) and black rice grown in the rich soil and clear streams of Itoshiro, a small village which borders Gifu and Fukui Prefectures. Since the Edo Era, locals have sustained themselves on hie, a species native to Gifu, during the long, harsh winters. Itoshiiro is looking to preserve this nutrient by ensuring their hie and black rice are cultivated without fertilizers or pesticides, which protects the clean rivers downstream. The ingredients are roasted at a low temperature and aged for a long time using Itoshiiro’s own black roasting technology, and includes the black rice germ which contains most of the nutrients. The resulting drink is as healthy and robust as coffee with a similar roasted flavor and aroma but without any caffeine. The addition of the hie also creates a pleasant and mild aftertaste when compared to other black rice coffees

Itoshi Iro’s name comes from "itooshii" which means lovely and painful. It celebrates the peasants who toil on their farms, pray for a good harvest, and dance and sing with love for their crops. Their hope is to follow the example of their ancestral farmers by cherishing the time-consuming and painstaking work put into growing their vegetables.

Ingredients: Black rice, hie (Japanese barnyardmillet), black rice
Suggested uses: Steep one tea bag in 150ml of boiling water and let sit for 2 mins. We recommend covering the cup while steeping as the steam will enhance the flavor. Adjust the water and timing to your liking (you can make an “espresso” by using less water). The tea bags can also be reused several times. Save a couple of tea bags and add to 1L of boiling to make a “tea” (served hot or cold) or start with 2-3 tea bags in 1L of hot water and let steep for half a day. You can also add milk, soy milk, honey, etc.
 

SUNKI PICKLES AOJIRU (GREEN JUICE) 

SUNKI PICKLES AOJIRU (GREEN JUICE)
(
国産青汁乳酸菌)
Producer: Plantz
Prefecture: Nagano

In the Kiso Valley of Nagano Prefecture, there is a pickle called "sunkizuke," a local salt-free pickle made from red turnip leaves that has been a traditional food for more than 400 years. At a time when salt was a precious commodity, ancestors of the region created a technique to pickle foods without using salt and is a technique our producer, Plantz, uses to this day.

This 100% natural green juice is made without additives, bulking agents, preservatives, colorants, nor added flavors, but instead contains the 20 billion plant-based lactic acid bacteria produced from making sunkizuke. These bacteria are said to aid digestion and support longevity, and are combined with domestic barley grass, soybean powder, beet sugar, broccoli powder, spinach powder to create this healthy and refreshing drink.

Plantz shares the philosophies of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as they strive to conserve biodiversity through environmentally friendly packaging materials, products, and services while developing new products using local ingredients that help to increase Japan’s vegetable intake.

Ingredients: Barley grass, soybean powder, beet sugar, vegetable acid bacteria, broccoli powder, spinach powder (all domestic)
Suggested uses: Dissolve in 100-150ml of water, milk or juice, add as a topping for yogurt or even mix into pancake batter.
 

GIFT

UKIYOE ORIGAMI (SET OF 10 DESIGNS)

UKIYOE ORIGAMI (SET OF 10 DESIGNS)
(浮世絵おりがみ)
Producer: UNSODO
Prefecture: Tokyo

Long before the invention of color printing technology, prints were made using lithographs, hand-colored copper plates, and multicolor woodblocks. Woodblock printing, a tradition known as Ukiyoe, became popular in the 17th through 19th centuries and is being kept alive by producers such as UNSODO. UNSODO was founded in 1891 as a publisher specializing in art and Ukiyoe prints. They are the only publisher in Japan that still publishes woodblock prints carried out by craftsmen who have inherited the traditional woodblock engraving and printing techniques.

To make this origami, UNSODO uses high-grade pearlescent paper called "berura". The shimmering effect is reminiscent of "kirazuri" (kira meaning to add sparkle) - a method used in Japanese woodblock printing that incorporates mica mineral powder to add color and shine. The designs are byKatsushika Hokusai who is arguably the most famous Ukiyoe printer from the Edo Era.This paper can be used to fold origami, as a card or framed as a keepsake.

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