Yuzu is an exceptional variety of Citrus, highly prized for its bright floral aroma and tart cross between grapefruit, Mandarin orange, Meyer lemon, and lime. Yakami Orchards, located in the Miyazaki prefecture in southern Japan, is a family of farmers, some fourth generation, that have taken this integral part of Japanese cuisine and transformed it into a brilliant confection. Yakami combines fresh Yuzu with honey, and sugar cane slowly boiled in small batches until golden and lusciously thick. The fragrance of the Yuzu explodes out of the jar as thinly sliced pieces of rind swim in a bath of liquid gold. There is an exceptional balance between sweetness, tartness, and acidity here with a remarkable depth of flavor for only having three ingredients. There are no giant chunks; everything is uniform, and the rind while softened has a lovely texture and adds a tart pop. Paired with mild cheeses, this is a complete knockout and is perfect with seared foie gras or on toast for a more straightforward preparation; the uses are endless. Our favorite way to enjoy this is on top of a goat cheese crostini with a nice bottle of bubbles, delicious. We've tried many artisanal marmalades and jams over the years, and this one is an easy favorite, unlike anything we have tried before. Yakami Orchards puts an exotic twist on a classic condiment creating something familiar yet mind-blowingly delicious and new.
Here is another Japanese twist on a familiar classic this time with another exotic flavor, ginger. From the same family of farmers that handcraft the delicious Yuzu marmalade, this is from three natural ingredients, fresh-picked ginger root, honey, and sugar cane. The ginger's peppiness is unexpectedly mellow, infused subtly with a gentle sweetness showing the more delicate aspects of an otherwise powerful flavor. Nowhere near the intensity level as a piece of ginger that you would get at a sushi bar, but enough to still offer a palate-cleansing feel that pairs very well with creamy cheeses. The marmalade is a glistening amber color and expressive upon opening with an incredible texture from thinly sliced pieces of ginger that melt in the mouth. Other than the common uses, this makes an excellent component to a miso-ginger dressing or a glaze on fish, admittedly we have tried it on Sushi, but cooked fish pairs better. Even in an exotic cocktail, if that is of interest, the uses are endless, and the results are delicious.