Kaiseki and CamembertJune 29, 2007 at 3:03 pm | Posted in food | 2 Comments
From the Wikipedia entry on Kaiseki:
In kaiseki, only fresh seasonal ingredients are used, prepared in ways that aim to enhance their flavour. Exquisite care is taken in selecting ingredients and types of food, and finished dishes are carefully presented on serving ware that is chosen to enhance the appearance and seasonal theme of the meal… The serving ware and garnishes are as much a part of the kaiseki experience as the food; some might argue that the aesthetic experience of seeing the food is more important than the physical experience of eating it, though of course both aspects are important.
Hmm… Does any of that sound familiar? Not too different from la haute gastronomie parisienne, is it? Indeed, it was a remarkably similar experience, in form if not in flavor. Perhaps this was in part because we were having what is termed a European style kaiseki, rather than a traditional one, which is completely vegetarian and usually accompanies an elaborate tea ceremony.
Our meal, on the other hand, consisted of a series of elegantly crafted dishes (the food, of course, but also the dishes themselves), each amounting to little more than one delectable morsel.
The menu called this, “Sesame flavored soymilk tofu and water shield with sweet corn flavored soy sauce,” but I believe they neglected to mention the sweet beans on top, and also the strange bluish jellied things. “Bluish jellied things” is maybe not the most attractive description I could have conjured, but they were actually pretty tasty and surprisingly spicy, besides being monstrously difficult to pick up with chopsticks.
More of the meal (along with the menu) is visible here.
Okay, I promise I’m not going to drag you through an entire week’s worth of meals, but since we’re on the subject of French/Japanese food crossover, I thought you might be interested in this:
Camembert Cheese Curry — here’s one cultural bastard that should probably never have seen the light of day. I like curry, and God knows I love a good camembert, but is it remotely possible that this concoction is anything but an abomination? I can’t tell you — I nearly bought it in dutyfree with my last 600 Yen, but at the last minute went for the much tamer green tea kitkats instead. Still, I do hope some braver culinary soul googles this entry at some point, and tells me if I’m missing anything. Maybe I’ll catch it on my next trip.
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