Gourmet island cuisine

08 Feb 2019 in Food Culture

Discover how a tiny Okinawan island has inspired a 10-course gourmet menu.

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The French call it terroir: the idea that produce has a unique identity rooted in its place of origin, a combination of climate, soil, terrain, expertise and culture. And, despite its tiny 6-mile perimeter, the sub-tropical island of Taketomi in Okinawa has a terroir all of its own.

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Blessed with a temperate climate, Taketomi island is made up of soil raised by coral reefs.

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Seaweed, octopus and kuruma prawns can be harvested all year, and, while the precious soil is not fit for all crops, it receives plenty of sun and is well-suited to grains and sweet potatoes.

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In winter, herbs, okra and the cucumber-like hechima thrive here while mainland farmers have to wait until spring for their harvest.

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Inspired by this unique terroir, chef Tatsuo Nakasu has created a special menu for the winter season at HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island.

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The “Island Terroir” menu is a 10-course gourmet meal, available until March 3. It fuses French culinary techniques with the unique qualities of local produce.

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You can expect creative combinations such as coral-grilled kuruma prawns in a nuchigusa herb sauce. Or how about roasted akane sweet potato topped with foie gras? And, for dessert, mango baba with fragrance of awamori sake.

From beginning to end, the chef has designed a menu inspired by the local crops, local traditions and the knowhow of local farmers. In other words, a menu 100% focused on the island’s unique terroir!

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