2015 FoodEx

FoodEx2015 - Kyro

Kyro Distillery from Finland

FoodEx Japan started today and runs through Friday. It is held at Makuhari Messe in Chiba. A few highlights included tasting through Finland’s Kyro Distillery’s portfolio. I had never tried a single malt rye whisky that had not been aged in a barrel yet, the Juuri. Lacking the tannins from the barrel it was brighter than I anticipated. Likewise, I had never tried a gin that had been aged in a barrel, Koskue, which was more complex than most gins. However, the barrel aging was only three months so the toasty notes were light and didn’t overpower the botanicals in the gin.

The Verso rye is aged in small American barrels for six months and is well-balanced. A little spicy and sweet and not too overpowering. The Napue gin (not aged in a barrel) was soft and fragrant. Very approachable and while lovely on its own, I imagine it would be seductive in a martini. The gin is made with 16 botanicals, 12 dried and 4 fresh. The barrels used are made with American oak and are smaller barrels, 32 or 64 liters.

I love the packaging and design and imagine that this brand could do well in Japan. I am told it will be sold at Hasegawa Liquors. I will update this post when I hear where it is sold retail in Tokyo. I met Mikael, Mikko, and Miika at the stand. If you go by, ask for Mi-kun (as all of their names start with Mi-), and tell them Yukari sent you. The distillery is brand new, only ten months’ old. I see the future as very good for them.

Kyro Distillery Company


FoodEx 2015 - Kitayatsu Ham

Kitayatsu Ham from Nagano was another highlight. The cured ham, sausage, and pates were all lovely. The Nagano Antenna Shop has recently opened in Ginza and I am told that their products are sold there, so will look for it there.

Kitayatsu Ham


FoodEx 2015 - konnyaku

These konnyaku chips were great and only have the calories of the seasonings as konnyaku has zero calories. Flavors are pepper, chili pepper, oden, and ume (tart apricot). Okabayashi Shokuhin also had a thin sliced konnyaku that was nice when cooked up with soy sauce.

Okabayashi Shoten


The event hall is huge and there is more than one can see in a day. I wish I had more time to visit the sake, shochu, and other importers. There are some great speakers in the upcoming days including Kumiko Ninomiya Sensei of Ajinomoto, chef Nozaki of Waketokuyama, and chef Kondo of Koenji Sanukiya.

Yamagata Antenna Shop in Ginza – Oishii Yamagata Plaza おいしい山形プラザ

Tama Konnyaku

Tama Konnyaku

The Yamagata antenna shop, Oishii Yamagata Plaza in Ginza is home to chef Masayuki Okuda’s restaurant, San-Dan-Delo (see post below). It is also one of my favorite antenna shops in the city due to the variety of products available. Yamagata has some of my favorite foods, cherries, La Furansu pears, pork, wagyu, rice, sake, and a variety of vegetables. One local product to seek out is tama konnyaku, small balls of konnyaku that comes with its own flavored broth. Simmer and enjoy with some sake.


Roasted Brown Rice

One of the great fun parts of exploring antenna shops is that discovering food products you’ve never heard of. On a recent tour with clients we came across these roasted GABA genmai (germinated brown rice), “Motto Yasai o Tanoshiku”, literally having ‘more fun with vegetables’. It’s a great alternative to croutons, super crunchy and somewhat earthy bits.

My mother is from Tsuruoka soI have grown up visiting my grandma’s home and eating lots of the food so of course there is a nostalgic familiarity with the products. But, after eating food from all over the country, Yamagata is truly a treasure chest of great foods from both the sea and the mountains. Some of the best sake comes from here (Juyondai, Dewazakura, Takenotsuyu) as well as wine.

Oishii Yamagata Plaza

Chuo-ku, Ginza 1-5-10

Phone: 03-5250-1750

http://oishii-yamagata.jp/ (Japanese)