Takenoko, à l’aube du printemps

Le printemps est la saison des récoltes des pousses de bambou “takenoko“.

La plante de bambou était indispensable dans la vie quotidienne japonaise, utilisée comme matériau de construction ou comme ustensiles de cuisine sous la forme de baguettes, de bols, d’assiettes ou encore comme passoires.
Aujourd’hui, beaucoup de ces objets ont été remplacés par des outils en plastique, mais le “takenoko“ reste un aliment très populaire, apprécié pour sa texture croquante et son goût légèrement amer.

Ici à Kanazawa, les premières «moso» (pousse de bambous) ont été cultivées en 1766, à l’époque plantées en banlieue. De nos jours, la ville certifie 15 catégories de ce légume et l’une d’entre elle est représentée par la marque Kaga Yasai.

Le takenoko n’est récolté que lorsque les pousses sont très jeunes, juste après que les pointes vertes sortent du le sol. C’est pourquoi on les appelle takenoko (signifie littéralement ‘le petit bambou’). Les takenoko sont utilisés dans une grande variété de plats, avec du riz, mijoté ou en tempura sont des recettes traditionnelles. Lorsqu’ils viennent d’être ramassés, ils peuvent être simplement tranchés et consommés crus.

Pour répondre à la demande tout au long de l’année et malgré le fait qu’ils soient aujourd’hui principalement cultivés dans des serres, les takenoko ne sont récoltés qu’une fois par an. On dit que les takenoko sortiront du sol entre 7 et 10 jours après que les cerisiers commencent à fleurir. Les deux sont donc attendus avec impatience par les Japonais comme signes de l’arrivé du printemps.

Takenoko, un sabor de la primavera

La primavera es la temporada de cosecha del retoño del bambú, takenoko. El bambú, originalmente, era la planta que no podía faltar en la vida del japonés, utilizado como material de construcción y de utensilios de cocina como palillos, contenedores y coladores. Aunque en la actualidad estos han sido reemplazados por productos de plástico, el takenoko es ampliamente consumido hasta estos días, es amada su textura crujiente y su sabor ligeramente amargo.

Aquí en Kanazawa es cultivado por primera vez en 1766 el bambú Moso, e introducido a sus suburbios posteriormente. En el Kanazawa actual se tienen certificados 15 tipos de vegetales endémicos, y el takenoko es uno de ellos.
Se cosechan solamente los retoños jóvenes del takenoko, que parecen colmillos recién salidos (de ahí su nombre, “hijo del bambú”).

Aunque hay varias formas de prepararlo, son tradicionales con arroz, hervidos y en tempura. Los frescos recién cosechados pueden ser rebanados y comidos crudos.

A pesar de ser una sociedad que cultiva bastantes vegetales en invernaderos durante todo el año, el takenoko natural solo se cosecha una vez al año. Se dice que el takenoko muestra su rostro 7 a 10 días después del florecimiento del cerezo, y para los japoneses ambos eventos representan la añorada entrada de la primavera.

Takenoko; a taste of spring

Spring is the time to harvest bamboo shoots, or takenoko.

The bamboo plant used to be an indispensable part of daily life in Japan, being used as a building material or as kitchen utensils in the form of chopsticks, food containers, or colanders. Many bamboo tools have been replaced with plastic ones, while takenoko continues to be widely eaten, loved for its crunchy texture and slightly bitter taste.

Here in Kanazawa, the first moso bamboos were cultivated in 1766 and were introduced into the suburbs of the city. Nowadays, the city certifies 15 types of indigenous vegetables as ‘Kaga Yasai’ branded products, one of which is takenoko.

Takenoko is only harvested when the shoots are very young, just after the green tips poke through the soil, which is why they are called takenoko (lit. means ‘child of bamboo’). Takenoko are used in a wide variety of dishes, while takenoko rice, simmered takenoko, and tempura are traditional favorites. Freshly dug ones can be simply sliced and eaten raw.

Despite the fact that many vegetables are grown in greenhouses nowadays to satisfy year-round demand, takenoko are harvested only once a year. It is said that takenoko will sprout from the ground 7-10 days after the cherry trees start to blossom. Both are eagerly anticipated by Japanese people as signs of spring.

Takenoko, un assaggio di primavera

La primavera è la stagione in cui raccogliere i takenoko, ossia i germogli di bambo.

In passato, la pianta di bambù rappresentava per i giapponesi una parte essenziale nella vita di tutti i giorni. Basta pensare che il bambù veniva usato come materiale edilizio o veniva trasformato in utensili da cucina quali bacchette, contenitori per il cibo o colapasta. Ad oggi molti strumenti di bambù sono stati rimpiazzati ormai da quelli in plastica, tuttavia i takenoko continuano ancora ad essere mangiati da molte persone, e ad essere amati per la loro consistenza croccante e il loro gusto leggermente amaro.

Qui a Kanazawa, i primi bambù “moso” furono coltivati inizialmente nel 1766 e, in seguito, furono introdotti nella zona periferica della città. Attualmente, Kanazawa certifica 15 specie di vegetali indigeni in qualità di prodotti denominati “Kaga Yasai” (letteralmente “vegetali di Kaga”), una delle quali è proprio il takenoko.

Il takenoko può essere raccolto solo quando i germogli sono molto giovani, subito dopo che le gemme verdi sono spuntate (letteralmente significa infatti “bambino del bambù”). I takenoko sono usati in numerose pietanze, mentre il riso ai germogli di bambù, i germogli di bambù fatti cuocere a fuoco lento e la tempura rimangono i piatti tradizionali preferiti. Per esempio, quelli appena raccolti possono essere semplicemente tagliati e mangiati crudi.

Sebbene ad oggi molti vegetali vengano coltivati in serra per poter rispondere alle richieste di mercato durante tutto l’anno, i takenoko sono coltivati solo una volta all’anno. Si dice che i takenoko germoglino dal terreno dopo 7-10 giorni dall’inizio della fioritura dei ciliegi. E pertanto, come segni di primavera, entrambi sono attesi con impazienza dal popolo giapponese.

Kanazawa Sake: brewed in the heart of winter using a blend of pure water and premium rice

The coldest part of winter with its dancing snowfall is the busiest time of the year for Kanazawa’s sake distilleries. Around this time, each sakagura (sake brewery) in Kanazawa enters its peak season of sake brewing. Ishikawa Prefecture, with its cold winters and heavy snowfall, is perfectly suited to sake brewing and is said to be one of the leading sake regions in Japan. There are many established sakagura in Kanazawa, taking pride in their time-honoured tradition while seeking new and innovative tastes.

Water and sake-rice are the principal ingredients of sake and are key in determining its quality. The nearby Hakusan Mountain range ensures that Kanazawa has an abundant supply of fresh, pure water which is high in minerals and low in iron, making it ideally suited to the cultivation of yeast. Local sake breweries have long used premium sake-rice called Yamada Nishiki, as well as high quality local sake-rice Gohyakumangoku.

Traditionally, sake brewing is overseen by a chief brewer called toji. The breweries in Kanazawa recruit tojifrom the Noto Peninsula but from all over country as well, so that they can compete and learn from each other. Also, the rich culinary traditions in Kanazawa have long supported the sake brewing industry.

Sake has been considered a sacred drink and was believed to exorcise evil spirits. That’s why you often see big casks of sake dedicated to Shinto shrines.

[Sake breweries in Kanazawa]

・Fukumitsuya http://www.fukumitsuya.co.jp/english/index.html (English)

・Yachiya http://www.yachiya-sake.co.jp (Japanese)

・Nakamuraya Shuzo http://www.nakamura-shuzou.co.jp (Japanese)

Kanazawa Sake: brewed in the heart of winter using a blend of pure water and premium rice

The coldest part of winter with its dancing snowfall is the busiest time of the year for Kanazawa’s sake distilleries. Around this time, each sakagura (sake brewery) in Kanazawa enters its peak season of sake brewing. Ishikawa Prefecture, with its cold winters and heavy snowfall, is perfectly suited to sake brewing and is said to be one of the leading sake regions in Japan. There are many established sakagura in Kanazawa, taking pride in their time-honoured tradition while seeking new and innovative tastes.

Water and sake-rice are the principal ingredients of sake and are key in determining its quality. The nearby Hakusan Mountain range ensures that Kanazawa has an abundant supply of fresh, pure water which is high in minerals and low in iron, making it ideally suited to the cultivation of yeast. Local sake breweries have long used premium sake-rice called Yamada Nishiki, as well as high quality local sake-rice Gohyakumangoku.

Traditionally, sake brewing is overseen by a chief brewer called toji. The breweries in Kanazawa recruit tojifrom the Noto Peninsula but from all over country as well, so that they can compete and learn from each other. Also, the rich culinary traditions in Kanazawa have long supported the sake brewing industry.

Sake has been considered a sacred drink and was believed to exorcise evil spirits. That’s why you often see big casks of sake dedicated to Shinto shrines.

[Sake breweries in Kanazawa]

・Fukumitsuya http://www.fukumitsuya.co.jp/english/index.html (English)

・Yachiya http://www.yachiya-sake.co.jp (Japanese)

・Nakamuraya Shuzo http://www.nakamura-shuzou.co.jp (Japanese)