The Shoyu Story: New Ones: Kikkoman Honjozo,
Marumata Maroyaka Katsu and Nido Jikomi
Kikkoman Honjozo shoyu is a brand new, Limited production of Kikkoman created to replicate a soy sauce that was favored in Tokyo during the Taisho era (1912-1926), the reign of the present Emperor’s grandfather. There was always a difference in the shoyu made for the market of Tokyo (Kanto), and that of Kyoto (Kansai) due to the cuisine style popular in each place. Kansai is lighter both in flavor and color as shown by the Marumata shoyu we featured last winter and the heavier, thicker tasting, darker one from Kanto.
Using only Japanese soybeans, wheat, salt, and the oldest known koji, the aspergillus mold used to change the starch in grains to sugar, and aging a year, autumn to autumn, the resulting HONJOZO soy sauce is pressed, pasteurized and bottled in the traditional light blue bottles reminiscent of the Taisho period. Here is another specialty from the world’s largest soy sauce producer delving into its own history.
Two specialty shoyu come from Marumata. They are composites of shoyu with different flavor profiles. Nido Jikomi Tokusen is an usukuchi (light) shoyu in the Kansai style with added mirin and the double addition of koji. This is for sashimi, sushi, and pickled vegetables. Maroyaka Katsuo Shoyu is a honjozo koikuchi (dark) shoyu blended with dashi (broth) made from katsuobushi (dried bonito) and konbu (dried kelp). It has 30% less salt than normal koikuchi shoyu. Best with ohitashi (boiled vegetables), yaki-zakana (grilled fish) and hiya-yakko (cold tofu with ginger. I like to use a light fruity oil and lemon zest for a summer dish.)
A cookbook such as Elizabeth Andoh’s Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese home kitchen (2005) is a wonderful base for using these new shoyu. It is widely available from bookstores.
Best of Show Oils from LA County Fair: Domestic and International
First off, a disclaimer of conflict of interest. As of spring 2006, I am the chairman of the Los Angeles County Fair Olive Oil tasting and I am writing about the Best of Show winners at that tasting. It is the first State oil tasting competition, now in its 7th year. However, I do not taste oils there, I taste wine. This year I instituted a slightly different Best of Show scale since it would be impossible to find only one oil as Best of Show since there are three oil typologies: light fruit intensity; medium fruit intensity, and intense fruitiness. (This notion needs to be imbedded in our collective oil mentality.) There is no single oil which can be “the best.”
From the 386 oils submitted by 246 producers, there were selected three Best of Show oils in California oils and three from the international class. Described below are the oils in their class of fruity intensity. They are all wonderful oils, differing among themselves yet each having great quality and distinction. In the international class, there were no Best of Show from traditional producing areas; Italy, Spain, Greece. The Best of Show came from three widely differing areas not often thought of as famous oil producing regions: France, New Zealand, and Chile.
In order to qualify for Best of Show judging, an oil had to have won a gold medal in its class and a Best of Class award. Thus all the oils here, with the exception of the New Zealand Te Arai 2006, have won a gold in their respective class and a best of class. For complete results go to:
A lot of other oils won gold medals in their class and are fine oils. But these Best of Show winners happen to be special. There were four international judges on the panels; one each from Tuscany, Australia, Chile, and Spain. They were severe in their judgements, and if an oil won a Best of Show, you can trust that it is just that.
Best of Show: California
Light Fruit Intensity:
Medium Fruit Intensity:
Best of Show: InternationalLight Fruit Intensity:
Medium Fruit Intensity:
<< Back to Top