"Hokkaido Full Course - The Art of Winter" A report from my night at this wonderful culinary event!
This past February 21st, I visited the "Hokkaido Full Course - the art of winter -" event, where the goal was to present top Hokkaido cuisine to the world in its finest form.
Hokkaido Full Course is an event that brings together Hokkaido chefs, each with over ten years of experience in the business, who create wonderful dished to provide guests with a full course meal. This one day event blends eastern and western cuisine into an incredible evening of luxury. This was the fourth time the event has been held, and the theme was "Winter." Six chefs were brought together to prepare the meal, which was a masterpiece of flavor and presentation.
Let me introduce you to the dishes we enjoyed.
Our first dish was created by master chef Tomoya Taguchi from restaurant "Miyanomori Garden Museum."
"Flavor of the North"
Made with Endive kelp from Tenshin Farm in Nakafurano and Yuzu flavored Esashi scallops with Rakukeisha ricotta cheese.
"I wanted use Hokkaido ingredients and combine five distinct flavors, acidity, astringency, bitterness, sweetness, and saltiness." explained chef Taguchi.
As he says, the variety of flavors created a refreshing spark of taste which was truly impressive.
Our second dish was from owner and chef of "Kirica," Noboru Ishii.
"Scenic Northern Winter"
A dish colored to represent the winter season made with Makkari lily bulbs and potato meatballs from Ikeda town in Tokachi.
"Half of the year Hokkaido is covered in snow. I wanted to try and create a dish that looks like the view from my window." explained chef Ishii. Anyone who lives in Hokkaido can surely relate to the chef's experience of looking out at pure white snow from the comfort of a warm chair. The taste of the dish created a similar feeling of happiness.
Owner and chef at TAKU, Takuya Watanabe and Hayato Wada (respectively), provided the third dish.
"Earth waiting for Spring"
The dish featured soba from Kamikawa, winter cabbage from Kyowa town, and sea urchin from Nemuro.
"I use cabbage that has been underneath the snow since last fall and combine it in a bowl with the yellow raw sea urchin to create an image of a blooming pheasant's eye in a snowy field." explained chef Wada.
An innovative combination, cabbage and soba, which allows the sweetness and saltiness of the respective foods to combine into a wonderful flavor. While enjoying the dish I overheard many guests commenting on the quality and taste of the food.
The fourth dish was created by chef Tomoya Taguchi.
"The Warmth of Winter"
A combination of a warm Powaro terrine from the Mino Plantation in Makkari Village, a Kita Akari crepe from the Miyanomori Museum Garden farm, and a Hokkaido raised veal meuniere. Topped with a sherry vinegar and black Shichimi (seven spice) sauce.
"The style of cooking is french, but it's made for a Japanese pallet with the use of the Shichimi sauce." says chef Taguchi. The taste of this dish is a veritable orchestra of flavor, truly a masterpiece of cuisine.
Owner and chef of restaurant Oggi, Mr. Ryotaka Takao served up the fifth course.
"Memories of the Hokkaido Sea"
Made with fresh fish and winter vegetables.
Chef Takao explains, "Each course being a collaboration of eastern and western cuisine, I wanted to create a harmony of cuisine without overemphasizing the Italian style."
This dish is piled high with bar-fin flounder, winter radish, and minced mackerel, all flavored with a ginger and garlic pesto. This rich dish is presented beautifully on a large plate.
The sixth course was prepared by owner and chef of Jeunesse, Mr. Wakayama Kazuya.
"Yoichi Town produced Kerner Granite."
The grapes used to create this dry tasting dish are from Hirotsu Vineyards, wich we've introduced on Hokkaido Likers before. This dish served as a pallet cleanser, and its wonderful taste left a strong impression.
Reference: [ Place ] "Hirotsu Vineyard in Yoichi Town" - The Harvest begins soon!
The seventh plate was from Hideki Horikawa, owner and chef at Terzina.
"The Origin of Reclamation"
A delicious arosuto made with 60 day aged Ezo pork from Tokachi, and flavored with a grappa contorno made with organic pumpkin, apples, and walnuts from Miyoi's House in Mori Town.
"This meat is outstanding! All I have to do is cook it." exclaims chef Horikawa. Improvements in Hokkaido food have come a long way since the pioneer days.
In Hokkaido, producers, distributors, and chefs have grown close over the years, bringing the quality of food up across the island.
The pork we enjoyed at the event was the specialty "Erezo Marche Japon" Ezo pork. It was packed with hearty flavor and absolutely delicious.
The final dish of the evening was presented by Chef Wakayama Kazuya.
"Melting Snow and the Smell of Spring"
This dish contains a single mouthful of pallet cleansing soup, Tokachi azuki ice, and a tiramisu made with Yoichi strawberries and Hokkaido produced mascarpone.
"I tried to recreate the image of melting snow," chef Wakayama explained, "The warm strawberry sauce on the tiramisu, with the darkness of the azuki ice peeking out from beneath."
This dish is a wonderful combination of eastern and western styles. The strawberry sauce was poured over the chocolate of the tiramisu right before my eyes, giving each guest a chance to watch the "snow" thaw before their eyes.
The food we had at the event was delicious, but I didn't expect the chefs to be such cool guys!
The kitchen was open for guests to peek in, allowing us to see the preparation of food. Not only were chefs working on their own dishes, but they were all helping each other out! The quality of the food and the success of the event was paramount, meaning the chefs all worked together to create the perfect night.
The next Full Course event will be held sometime in the spring and early summer of the year, so be sure to sign up for a table as soon as possible! So come get dressed up and experience the joy of fine dining in Hokkaido, I hope to see you there!
Hokkaido Full Course on Facebook
(Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer - Fukko)
(Photographs by Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer Megane)