I went to visit a Rice malt manufacturer, Matsubara Shoten! February is already coming to an end. I haven't been able to keep up with my blog, and while I'm thinking I have to do it, March is already here...
Speaking of March, it's Hina matsuri which is a traditional event in Japan. Speaking of Hina Matsuri... When I was a little girl, I remember playing with the hina dolls (or to be more precise, the first and second tier of the hina-steps). The dolls that my grandmother and mother decorated looked like a Japanese Sylvanian Families, and I was so excited to play with them.
Another thing is Amazake. I think we used to make Amazake at my house, too. However, as a child, I did not like Amazake and did not drink much of it.
Before I joined Nogi, I bought and ate some of their sweets, and I was surprised and impressed to find such delicious sweets without using eggs, dairy products, or wheat! I was so surprised and impressed. Among them, my favorite was the Amazake cookies. It is still my favorite product. I used to hate Amazake when I was a child, but I wondered why it tasted so good....
There are two types of amazake: amazake made from sake kasu (sake lees means the leftover bits from the sake making process.) and amazake made from rice malt. The former contains alcohol, while the latter contains no alcohol at all. I wondered if this was one of the reasons why I didn't like Amazake. The amazake we use at our company is made from rice malt. It is safe to eat for children and pregnant women.
I went to visit the factory of Matsubara Shoten, the company that makes the ingredients for our Amazake cookies.
Matsubara Shoten is a rice malt manufacturer located in Zouda, Sanuki City near our office. Mr. Takenori Matsubara, the second generation of the family, explained the process of making amazake and the tools used to make it. Mr. Matsubara just said he wanted to deliver safe and reliable products to their customers. The ingredients for amazake are only rice, water, and malt. It's very simple. No preservatives or additives are used.
First, the rice is put in a large pot and steamed it. Put the steamed rice in the koji lid, plant the fungus, and then let it sit overnight in the muro. The temperature in the cellar is very important and is kept between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius all year round. After that, the "komo" is covered and left to rest overnight. Komo" is woven rice straw, which is essential for the koji mold to grow because it controls the temperature. Surprise! They are also handmade! Mr. Matsubara showed us how to make it, saying, "This is the hard part. This is amazing! It is the time and effort that goes into making the koji as fluffy as snow. The koji is covered with a komo and left to rest for one night, then mixed with porridge, and left to rest for another night. Then, the finished
It was very time carefully and meticulously made. Matsubara Shoten's amazake is made the old-fashioned way, using only the best ingredients and methods. It is very sweet and delicious, even though it does not contain any sugar.
Through this factory tour, I was able to learn more about Mr. Matsubara's feelings, the care with which he makes his products, and the power of rice malt. We will continue to provide our customers with delicious amazake ingredients!
Thank you very much.