When did ‘Yuzu’ became a household name? Maybe it is not that well known yet but if you are an official foodie, you must have heard the name at least once. For me the first time I heard the name Yuzu coming out from an English person’s mouth was on TV programme ‘the Great British Bake Off’ a few years ago. One of the contestants was using its juice as the key ingredinent for his special cake. So what is Yuzu?
Yuzu is a small citrus fruit we cultivate in Japan. It has a quite tough skin and a sharp taste so it is not for eating fresh as a dessert fruit, but it has a marvellous aroma so we add the juice or skin into some dishes and a dipping sauce for enhance the flavour.
When I saw the baking programme I thought ‘where did he get that Yuzu from?’ I believe almost nobody knew about the fruit in England at that time and it was impossible to find Yuzu anywhere in London. How funny the time passes and the situation changes. Now, just a few years later, the bottled juice is available in major supermarkets and if you are lucky, even fresh ones can be found in some Japanese Food shops.
In a cold evening it is wonderful to have a Hot Pot with a hint of Yuzu flavour. So Yuzu is a flavour of Winter.
I made a Mochi sweet that has a scent and flavour of Yuzu.
Huge Cat statue at Okage Yokocho in Ise says ‘Please do not wake me up because I’m so full up’
Now I am going back to my report on visiting Japan.
When you go to stay in Japan there are many things you really should do (apart from viewing Sakura blossom in springtime). One particular thing you should NEVER miss is staying in ‘Onsen (Hot Spring) Inn’. Unlike the western hotels the evening meal and breakfast are strongly part of the stay and they are rather good ones. Japanese Inns quite often serve very traditional food with lots of local delicacies.
During this time of my stay I went to visit Toba where locates by the sea and went to Ise for visiting one of the biggest Shinto Shrines ‘Ise Jingu’ the following day with my mother.
After checking in to the Onsen Inn we were welcomed with a little Japanese sweet and ‘Matcha’ Greet tea. After resting a little in our own room we moved onto our mission – bathing in Onsen! The Onsen had an outside space which faced to the sea directly.
By the way Onsen is normally a public bath sharing with other visitors. All the Inns have a separate bath for men and women but there are some baths for both genders occasionally.
The plaque on the wall says the Health benefits of Onsen water, such as Neuralgia, Joint Pin, Frozen Shoulder …
One thing you should have in your mind is that if you have tattoos on your body you are normally not allowed to get into a public bath in Japan. It is because the people who have tattoos are always associated with ‘Yakuza (Japanese mafia)’ in Japan and tattoos frighten other guests in the public bath.
Anyway, right after bathing we were served very refreshing ‘Yuzu’ flavoured sorbet in the lounge. Yuzu is one of the many citrus fruits we produce in Japan. Because of its fragrant scent it became very popular in the UK recently. Lots of chefs use it nowadays and you hear the name in TV programs like MasterChef of even Great British Bake Off.
In this Inn that we stayed in the dinner was served in our own room.
The Dinner menu
The first round of the dinner at the Onsen Inn