Japanese Ingredients for the World’s Top Kitchens ＃18
Naturally Fermented without Shortcuts
Though the times are always changing, there are certain timeless ingredients from Japan that will never go out of style. Yukio Hattori, president of Hattori Nutrition College in Tokyo, introduces unique labors of love—items grown and produced with care and integrity by hardworking suppliers across the country.
This month we spoke with Kazukiyo Takahashi, the 14th in a long line of brewers of organic brown-rice vinegar. Shoubunsu Co., Ltd.in Fukuoka prefecture has been making its product the all-natural way for more than 300 years. “We started out making sake,” he says, “but shifted to vinegar in 1711.” The firm’s latest offering, a seasonal line of fruit-based vinegars, can be found at its boutique at Ginza Six in Tokyo.
Brown-rice vinegar is brewed twice annually, in spring and fall. The ingredients are simple: organic brown rice, Acetobacter aceti, water, and time. The wooden casks are partially buried in the ground. “The lower half remains a steady 10ºC, an optimal temperature for alcoholic fermentation,”Takahashi explains.“The upper half, exposed to sunlight, warms up to about 40ºC, which is just right for acetic acid fermentation.”
◎Shoubunsu Co., Ltd.
548 Enokizu, Okawa-shi, Fukuoka
（The Cuisine Magazine /November 2018）