Let’s talk about yuzu !
Yuzu is a great success nowadays in France. The most curious have certainly discovered it in Japanese restaurants of a certain level of quality, but it is also widely used in gourmet restaurants, confectionery and pastry. Let’s mention the recent and excellent achievements of Pierre Hermé and his collection named «japonisme» which includes a macaroon in Yuzu and which was declined this year in ice cream by the famous brand Haagen Dazs !
Yuzu is a citrus fruit native to China, allegedly introduced to Japan in the Nara era. Adopted for its medicinal properties and its high content of vitamin C, A, B, potassium and magnesium, its intense aromas mix lemon, grapefruit and tangerine, with floral and spicy nuances. In France, Yuzu is a great success, present in high-end Japanese restaurants, gastronomy, pastry and confectionery. Moroyama’s "Katsuragi Yuzu", Saitama, is the oldest variety grown in Japan, thanks to Ichitaro Kushida. His reputation extends throughout the region, where he is nicknamed "the fruit hill".
Asahara Shuzo’s Nigori Yuzushu
We have been importing this reference for years and we always have the same pleasure to make discover it. To consume as is, served very fresh, with ice, it is also a superb cocktail base of which we present an example today.
This Nigori is produced from a particular Yuzu called Katsuragi Yuzu which is the oldest variety grown in Japan. It has a unique history that we wish to share with you here.
The Katsuragi Yuzu of the Moroyama region
During the years following its introduction in Japan, most yuzus were planted around the houses and only a few localities actually cultivated it. The most important region in terms of production is Shikoku, and still today with 70% of the market. But the small town of Moroyama in Saitama is of particular importance. Indeed, since the Edo period, its proximity to the capital allowed it to easily ship yuzus with an emphasis on quality.
It was really during the Showa period, at the beginning of the 20th century, under the impetus of a resident of the region named Ichitaro Kushida, that it experienced a decisive turning point. This last pariah very strong on the yuzu abandoning its activity of sericulture to devote himself fully to this fruit, at a time when it had a relatively limited commercial value.
He launched the name «Katsuragi Yuzu», a yuzu of exceptional quality. And the success was at the rendezvous and the cultures of Katsuragi Yuzu spread to the whole region, at the same time as its reputation, to the entire national territory. The Moroyama region is ideal for growing yuzu. Its slopes at the foot of the Chichibu hills are south-facing, the wind exposure is low, and it almost never freezes. It is nicknamed «the hill of fruit».
A cocktail at Yuzu?
Here is a simple cocktail to make, perfect for the holidays: a variation of the Tom Collins Japanese style, gin and Yuzu !
45 ml Kanomori gin
55 ml Nigori Yuzushu
10 ml cane syrup
Add the gin, Nigori Yuzushu, and syrup to a glass filled with ice. Spoon to combine with sparkling water.