Shizuoka Beer 3/3: Izu Ale by Oratche Brewery


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This is my third tasting of the beer from this micro-brewery lost in the east of the prefecture at the foot of Mount Fuji:

Izu Ale

This particular beer is an organic beer using wheat malt.
It is unfiltered and should be kept in a cold environment because of its live yeast.

Clarity: slightly smoky (unfiltered)
Colour: golden orange
Foam: Long head, fine steady bubbles
Aroma: Oranges,yeast, bread
Taste: Dry and heady. Oranges, bread. Shortish tail. Refreshing and satisfying.

Overall: British Ale type. True Ale. My British particularly appreciated it. Can be savoured on its own or with food.

Oratche
419-0105 Tagata Gun, Tanna, 349-1
Tel.: 055-974-4192
Fax: 055-974-4191
Homepage (Japanese)

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Chocolat Fin: Traditional Cakes (3)


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Before I start I must make sure that “Taste Memory Girl” is notified as she has this insatiable sweet tooth!

Talking of traditional cakes, Gateau Chocolat was conceived as far back as the 18th Century. Contrary to its name, it is not of French origin but first adorned the plates of Austrian nobility.
It has since voyaged through the times and lands and been refined in many ways.
The variety created by Chocolat Fin in Shizuoka City is typical of its French evolution in Japan.

From bottom to top (I was going to say from top to bottom as it is eaten, but after all you make it the other way!)
Chocolate Sponge Cake and Chocolate Ganache, twice.
Chocolate Sponge Cake and Milk Chocolate Butter Cream, twice.
The whole coated with Chocolate Icing.

Chocolat Fin adds a hint of liqueur while refraining on the sugar.
Each layer and every confectioner will find plenty of scope there.
Otherwise finely chopped solid chocolate or raisin (soaked in rum) bits may be added to the chocolate ganache.
The possibilities are endless!

Chocolat Fin
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo Machi, 1-3-7 (2 minutes walk from Shin Shizuoka Center)
Tel. & fax: 054-2516321
Business hours: 10:00~20:00

Also: Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Shin Shizuoka Center, Basement 1F
Tel.: 054-2215878

Italian Cuisine: Latina


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Mr. Kojima is far from being a new face in Shizuoka City. For a long time he was the chef at Ciccio Ristorante, renamed Via de Burgo since then, before he had to take a year-long holiday due to health problems. In september 2006 he came back with a vengeance with his own restaurant, Latina, south of Shizuoka City JR Station, the fastest-changing area in town.
His (forced) move could not have happened at a better time when he took over an enormous cafe to modify it in a restaurant with a minimum of work. One can sit at a table away from the kitchen or next to it, or at a long counter overlooking Mr. Kojima’s kitchen.

Not only the food is great and very reasonably-priced, but the wine list is definitely top-class.
Now, I would suggest anyone to have a word with the master of the place before choosing one’s nectar as they are not all featured on the menu. The two friends who visited the place last Friday in my company being extremely knowledgeable, I chose a Rosso di Montalcino 2006 from Toscana. A bit young I admit, but with plenty of swirling around it did pretty well with our first order.

Although the ever-changing menu is written for all to see on a blackboard above your heads, you could always get your favourite dishes by notifying Mr. Kojima a few days in advance.
In any case, the antipasto misto was a beauty including homemade ham, crostini with homemade liver paste, omelette, meat balls, ratatouille and so forth.

Alright, I should have done my homework and prepared a menu beforehand, but as my friends intend to go as far as to organize a wine-tasting dinner there, it is only postponed!
So, to follow up in accordance with the wine, we ordered roasted guinea fowl (above)

roasted quail (notice the yellow-fleshed potatoes. Not yams, but a different variety of potatoes served as wedges with their skin, perfect!),

and a soft, so tender, venison stewed in red wine!
All cooked to precision but without any ostentation. Solid, delicious, homely fare, like in the Italian country!
Rowena, don’t kill me! And don’t ask where the Missus was!

As we still had some beautiful homemade bread left in the basket, we could not resist ordering a somewhat extravagant Carbonaione 1998 to go with some cheese in lieu of dessert. Mind you, it is only the first of a few more surveys. I shall be able to tease the likes of Memory Girl and Foodhoe later!

For this time I’ll be content with teasing Gaijin Tonic when I tell him that he Master of the place came with no less than eight kinds of Grappa for after drinks (on the house!) and two homemade liqueurs with lemon and orange!

Holy macaroni! I can tell you it was about time we took our leave as two of us were working from 9:00 a.m. the next day! Look forward to the next article!

LATINA
422-8062 Shizuoka City, Suruga Ku, Inagawa, 1-1-29
Tel. & Fax: 054-289-6522
Business hours: 11:45~14:00 (Saturday, Sunday & National Holidays only)
18:00~23:00
Closed on Mondays (or Tuesday if Monday is a National Holiday)
Credit cards OK

Quatre Saisons: Traditional Cake


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Quatre Saisons is tiny (if not the smallest) cake shop fisrt established 4 years ago in Shizuoka City. It stands at the very corner of a narrow crossroads away from the bustling centre. The only reason why I know of it is because it is located along the way to the Cricket Ground I visit at least twice a week.

This Chocolat Fruit Terrine will probably tempt more the likes of Foodhoe, Gaijin Tonic and even Lojol than the ladies!
It is hearty, fulfilling and gratifying.
And ridiculously cheap (157 yen a cut!)!

It is traditional in the sense that it is very rural in concept. The fruits, cherries and blueberries, are first flambeed before being mixed more or less at random with soft chocolate and vanilla dough which is poured into a mould laid with a thin layer of sheet pastry.
One more layer of the latter will cover the terrine before being baked.

Snow sugar will be sprinkled on top as the terrine cools down.
The solid consistency will make it easy to cut into size portions although it tends to crumble down under the fork.
Lojol would probably appreciate it lukewarm with a good serving of hot English custard!

Quatre Saisons
420-0002 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Zaimoku Cho, 8-1
Tel. & fax: 054-221-0651
Closed on Tuesdays

Chocolat Fin: A real Shizuoka Dessert!


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Chocolat Fin has the advantage to be located a few minutes away from my office, which in a sense is a bit unfair to other very good confectioneries in Shizuoka. I promise I will hunt away from my haunts from next month! My students will be the happier for it as I do have to visit cake shops at east three times a week!

Now, before I start I’d better alert all my lady friends with a sweet tooth!
I’m certain that Rowena, Memory Taste Girl, Jocelyn, Etsuko, Melinda, Deluscious Life and The Left Over Queen wil be interested to know that the present dessertis a very healthy one! Oh, I forgot that there is atleast one gentleman, Dominique, who will grace me with a professional curiosity!

Shizuoka Prefecture is the largest (about 70%) producer of green tea in Japan. Since we are in the middle of harvesting season, Chocolat Fin had the greaty idea to come up with a creation made with ma-cha tea, a superior class of tea used in tea ceremonies and restaurants. As it comes under the form of powder it is very easy to manipulate.


This Ma-cha pudding was underllined with a caramel sauce and topped with a fine layer of ma-cha jelly. The whole pudding is a perfection of balance, not too sweet, with a definite tea savour and firm enough for you to dig in with your spoon. Actually, I made a point of leaving it in the fridgefor a coupe of hours before devouring it. It almost ate like an ice-cream.

The recipe is not difficult, but the ingredients are simply first class!

Chocolat Fin
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo Machi, 1-3-7 (2 minutes walk from Shin Shizuoka Center)
Tel. & fax: 054-2516321
Business hours: 10:00~20:00

Also: Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Shin Shizuoka Center, Basement 1F
Tel.: 054-2215878

Today’s Bento/Lunch Box (11)


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-“Rice or noodles?”
-“Well, I had cold ramen salad yesterday, so please make it rice!”
-“OK Doc!”

And my other half went into the kitchen to steam the rice for Tuesday’s bento.
Biggie might be interested in those lunch boxes my wife recently found. Tupperware type, they are rigid and strong but very light and close very tightly, although even a child will find them easy to open.


The side salad of greens and cheese came into a softer type of box, but still very practical and safe. For once, I start the other way round to feature the usual veg juice (samll) carton and the wasabi dressing I keep handy in the office fridge.

Now the bento consisted of two types of sushi:

“Inarizushi” or sushi rice ball enclosed inside a pouch of fried tofu. The rice contained “hijiki” seaweed and tiny bits of home-made chicken ham.
The two nigiri balls encased in lettuce contained finely chopped pieces of pickled vegetables. The one on the left also contained pickled sakura/cherry blossom with one whole on top for decoration. The other also contained boiled “shirasu”/ baby sardines (a typical Shizuoka marine product) and “tobiko”/flying fish roe. I can hear Rowena sing I’m being cruel again!
The mini tomatoes were also grown in Shizuoka Prefecture. The pink strips are home-made pickled ginger sticks. The dessert are kinkan oranges cooked and marinated in water, honey and Cointreau (team work for once!).

Who said I’m a lucky “what”?

Shizuoka Izakaya: Shibata


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For once, I did not foot the bill (although I tried hard) as I was invited by Mr. Sakurai, an old friend of mine and the sire of a favourite student of mine. Therefore I must admit I do not have a clue to how much the bill amounted to, although the place is fairly reasonable.
Shibata was opened 20 years ago and has already gone through a total renewal in 2003.
It is extremely popular and busy. Reservations are a must on week-ends!
Mr. Sakurai had ordered a set menu (probably the most expensive one, judging from the quality and quantity!). We had only the drinks to worry about!

Like any worthy Izakaya in Shizuoka, Shibata features a good number of Shizuoka Jizake on its menu: Isojiman (Yaizu City), Kokkou (Fukuroi City), Shidaizumi (Fujieda City), Suginishiki (Sugii Brewery/Fujieda City), Kikuyoi (Aoshima Brewery/Fujieda City), Shosetsu (Kansawagawa Brewery,Yui Cho), Kaiun (Doi Brewery/Kakegawa City)!
Before I go through all the morsels I’d better hoot for Rowena, Gaijin Tonic, Foodhoe and Simaldeff to prepare themselves (and call their friends, LOL)!

The “snack” coming with first drinks was a proof of the quality of the establishment: boiled bamboo shoot, grilled clam, shellfish in its shell and broad beans.

But the enormous sashimi plate (for three persons) could have been enough with adequate drinks:
Sazae/Turbo shells in its shell and insides in a small plate. Maguro Chutoro/Tuna Fatty part (right). Awabi/Abalone (small on left). Bottom right, raw Sakuraebi/Sakura Shrimps from Yui Cho and Shirasu/Sardine Whiting from Mochimune. Centre, Uni/Sea Urchin in a cup. Centre left, Shime saba/pickled Mackerel. Bottom left, Aori Ika/Aori Squid and Suzuki/Seabass.

But then, dishes came down at speed (if I had a single criticism to vent, it would be that dishes come too fast!):
Ise Ebi to Kani Gusoku Ni/Spiny Lobster and crab legs in Japanese-style sweetand sour sauce. The lobster is Australian and the crab Russian, but very tasty!

Ooba no Tsutsumi mushi/Clam steamed inside a bamboo leaf. reminiscent of Vietnamese food. Both delicate and fulfilling!

Yuba Chakin

Fish and shellfish in white sauce baked inside yuba/”toofu skin”. A dish that would be appreciated anywhere as you could easily make a vegetarian version! A shame you have to open it!

The last dish before the dessert (sorry I got carried away and forgot to take a pic of the latter!) was a typical Japanese fare: Sawara no kidomeyaki/Large Mackerel variety grilled topped with garnish made with Japanese herbs and spices. and Nasu no Denraku/Egg-plant or Aubergine grilled topped with a sweet miso sauce.

Holy Macaroni! Getting up proved an almost exhausting excersise!

Shibata
420-0034 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 2-5-8
Tel.: 054-251-2405
Business hours: 17:00~23:00
Closed on Sundays
Credit Cards OK