Obviously cocoa is not cultivated in Japan.
However, I recently had the opportunity to take part in a very interesting conversation about the "YUZU" fruit.
During the Choco-Laté festival, Mrs Chiéko Saïto, a journalist who specialises in patisserie, discussed with Dominique Persoone, who runs the Chocolate Line shop in Bruges, 3 types of "yuzu"
- yuzu paste
- chopped yuzu
- yuzu in 5 mm pieces.
Dominique Persoone immediately saw the potential of yuzu for use in pralines.
The yuzu is a citrus fruit native to East Asia. It is believed to be a hybrid of sour mandarin and Ichang papeda.
The fruit looks like a grapefruit but smaller.
The fruit originated in jap where it is cultivated on a small scale.
It also grows wild in Central jap and Tibet.
It was introduced into Japan and Korea during the Tang Dynasty and it is in those two countries that it is now the most widely cultivated.
Unlike other citrus fruits it is relatively cold-hardy and survives in winter temperatures of up to 5°C.
It contains a large number of pips. The bitter yellow fruit is used in sauces and cakes. The green fruit which is even more bitter is used above all in industry, in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics (soap, lotions, etc.) sectors. Its taste is very similar to that of a grapefruit with a hint of mandarin orange. It has a sweet, very refreshing aroma which is so popular that its essence is used in perfumes in Japan. It is harvested between November and April.
The yuzu is rarely eaten as a fruit.
On the other hand, in Japanese and Korean cuisine, the zest (the rind) is used for decorating certain dishes and the juice is used as seasoning, in the same way as lemon juice in other countries.
The yuzu can be used to make marmalades or added to a cake mixture or as an ingredient in a filling for pralines.