To our customers:
It’s holiday time again! When I was a child, this season took forever to arrive, now it seems like it’s always right there. This is a season of remembrance and giving; enjoying family and friends in a tranquil atmosphere. Good food and wine definitely play a role. I hope you will find some new and interesting items in this newsletter which may help you in remembering and giving. Slow down, be calm and rejoice. Happy Holidays!
It is said that travel broadens one’s horizons; learning new things, finding hitherto unknown things. Well, this is just what happens to me when I travel. Recently in Perth, Australia, as a judge at the Royal Agricultural Wine show, I saw some new (to me) pink salt from the Murray River area of central Australia. Going to Japan to check on things there, namely to visit the Owarino Tamari producer whose product we sell, I was then taken to visit another shoyu producer, Higashimaru, in the lovely town of Tatsuno, called a “little Kyoto,” in Hyogo Prefecture.
Higashimaru is an old (1664) and very large producer of the light shoyu called “Usukuchi.” This is the style of shoyu preferred in Japan’s Kansai area comprising Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Hyogo, near Kobe.
In Kansai, soy sauce is lighter in color than in Kanto, the area around Tokyo, where the “karakuchi” or darker soy sauce is preferred. Usukuchi shoyu does not change the color of food as does the darker “karakuchi”style.
At the impressive Higashimaru plant, I found that they have a tiny production of a special usukuchi shoyu called Tatsuno no Toki, its name meaning “a remembrance of time of Tatsuno.” Everything about Tatsuno no Toki is different from the already high quality, normal Higashimaru usukuchi. Produced in spring, Tatsuno no Toki is sold only in November until sold out.
Tatsuno no Toki begins its life using only Japanese grown soybeans, parched Japanese wheat, local salt, and the soft water from the Ibo river which runs through Tatsuno town. A special “koji,” the mold used to saccharify rice, is used to make the “amakaze,” the sweet rice liquid added twice to the soybean and parched wheat fermentation. This is one of the secrets of Magoemon Maruo, the company founder and creator of usukuchi shoyu. It gives a depth of flavor, a refined, delicate sweetness and aroma to the Tatsuno no Toki. Five potential lots are produced, of which only the best two are selected by tasting for bottling.
Available only once a year, Tatsuno no Toki shoyu would be a precious gift for lovers of Japanese cuisine. Since it is very delicate, it should be used up within a year, before it turns darker, and once opened, kept refrigerated. Its flavor does not change, only its color, which is why you are buying it in the first place.
Corti Brothers is honored to offer Tatsuno no Toki exclusively for the first time this year. Tatsuno no Toki is not even found in stores in Japan, but must be bought directly from Higashimaru. The quantity produced is very limited and comes in a two bottle presentation box. Of course, single bottles can be purchased.Sold out.
It’s holiday time for Italians when stores begin to display panettone and pandoro. These holiday breads are available in Italy from about mid November to the 2nd of February when the Christmas season officially ends. Bardi Panettone and Pandoro have been our exclusive for seven years and have won many admirers. Despite the Italian penchant for making them seasonal delicacies, I find that they are in fact delicious after the holidays and have varied uses such as in bread pudding and as the base for french toast.
Panettone, a buttery, raised dough bread with raisin and candied fruit comes in several variations. There is the tall and low shape; we have one, Bardi Senza Canditi, without candied fruit, just raisins; the Bardi Veneziana, with only candied citrus fruit and the Bardi Nocciolato, glazed with hazelnut paste. A special one is the Bardi Fondente, perfumed with orange flower water, pieces of chocolate, glazed with chocolate and decorated with peeled almonds.
Bardi Pandoro, a Venetian specialty, has no fruit, is in a tall, star shaped form and is covered with powdered sugar. It is traditionally eaten at New Year with a glass of Recioto. All Bardi products come in a 1 kilo (2.2lb) size.
Bardi Panettone Alto (Tall shape, candied citrus fruit and raisins, boxed )
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