Snacks and snacks packed in fun and colorful packages, snacks on-the-go, candies, sauces for snacks….. Are we heading to a completely no-cooking wonderland?
At the 2018 Summer Fancy Show I was amazed at how much the products scene has changed. Cooking sauces or basic cooking ingredients have shrunk to 10% of total products introduced at the Show.
I enjoy cooking to nurture my body, health and soul as my 91 years old mother still does in Tokyo (well she cooks 3-4 days a week and my sister covers the rest of the week). I don’t often buy packaged goods, so this show was an eye-opening experience, even though I know full well that this has been the trend in the past years. I read about the trend in Specialty Food News.
Among few cooking ingredients that remained at the Show and stood out this year was one of my favorites. It is Miso Master Miso products, including chick pea miso, from Great Eastern Sun Company. The company has been producing the quality miso every day for more than 30 years. Their delicious miso is the base for my creation of so many delicious sauces for savory and dessert dishes.
I found another favorite product this year. It is maple syrup from Rocky Ridge Maple Farm. You already know that I use maple syrup from time to time to replace fake mirin. This delicious, quality, artisan maple syrup comes from Canandaigua, New York. The owner, Joshua, was born and raised as a dairy farm boy. He became a pharmacist but his passion for nature and quality food products pushed him to become a maple syrup producer.
Rocky Ridge Maple Farm produces three products – lighter colored, dark colored and barrel aged maple syrups. The sap that is collected in the early spring consists mainly of fructose (sucrose is converted by microbes and enzymes to fructose and glucose) that has more sweetness. So, the lighter golden color early spring maple syrup tastes very sweet. In general, Joshua’s maple syrup has sweetness of around of 67 to 68 on the Brix scale. For contrast raisins are at around 70. I tasted each of his syrups and loved them all. The darker colored one was robust both in maple flavor and character; the bourbon barrel aged maple syrup had the most rounded flavor with elegant fragrance. Their products are sold at Whole Food, I was told. So, I went to Whole Food at Union Square, NYC, but couldn’t find it. Please let me know if anyone is buying this maple syrup in the City…where?.
With these two wonderful products – miso and maple syrup – here is what I am going to make: Miso-Maple Syrup Sauce for my rice-cream made that is from koji rice. I make the rice-cream to enjoy during this hot summer time. For this sauce we need Sweet Miso and light color maple syrup. That’s it. This sauce also goes well with sandwich with hams and prosciutto. In America I think we often add too many flavors to many products. This kills the true nuances of flavor and disguises the character of ingredients. If we begin with very high-quality materials we should limit the number of flavors added to say, the sauce, in a single preparation so that these wonderful ingredients can each speak with its own voice.
Quality and simplicity go hand-in-hand. At Rocky Ridge Maple Farm 40 gallons of maple sap is processed to make 1 gallon of maple syrup. And I will lick the last drop of maple syrup in the bottle.