September 28, 12 | Iwasaki
This is a bit embarrassing, but when I first ate at Harvest Roadside I didn’t actually know what gibier was. “Gibier” is a term used in french cuisine for meat that was brought in from the field, also known in English as "game meat." For readers from the Western world I don’t think it's too uncommon to find game meat in dishes. But for me, with my agricultural family roots and childhood in Kyoto, it's pretty new territory!
Hokkaido is home to a fair amount of game hunters, however, some chefs who use game meat in their dishes go out hunting themselves. They then cook up delicious meals featuring their own catches. This style of restaurant, although they are very rare, can be found in Hokkaido. I was lucky enough to find the restaurant “Harvest Roadside” and was really shocked by the taste. Not only is the food delicious, but the restaurant itself is quite charming.
From early autumn onwards you can enjoy meals prepared with fresh shimeji mushrooms and wild duck, deer, or even bear meat!
In Hokkaido people have the chance to try game meat from animals that weren't raised specifically for slaughter. The natural diet of the animals, and wild lifestyle gives a natural taste to the meat. I can't help but feel a sense of awe for the bounties of nature here.
The menu at Harvest Roadside, which features a delicious venison course, draws many wedding parties up from Honshu. In fact, this article was inspired not by my personal research, but by chance after I visited the restaurant for a friend's wedding party. I urge readers to, if they have the chance, visit the Harvest Roadside for a taste of Hokkaido game meat!
Harvest Roadhouse Home Page: http://www.harvest-rh.jp/index.htm (Japanese)
(Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer - Iwasaki)