Togo-Su Kurozu Vinegar w/ Hijiki
Togo-Su Kurozu Vinegar is an Aged Artisan Amber Rice Vinegar that is brewed following a tradition dating back to the Edo period 200 years ago. Recently, brewers have experimented with aging this vinegar, as well as combining different ingredients and even blending, which traditionally was not done. When the vinegar is aged, it darkens in color, softens and a subtle caramelization is present. This natural maturity is what differentiates it from traditional brown rice vinegars found throughout Japan. The addition of Hijiki Seaweed is a perfect marriage of earth and sea, creating a uniqueness that is special and rare. Hijiki adds roundness, a balance of bitterness and sweetness as well as depth that is a little difficult to put your finger on. The site of tens of thousands of stoneware pots blinking in the sun along the hilly coasts lines of southern Japan is truly a site to behold. Using four ingredients, local organic brown rice, dried hijiki seaweed, brown rice koji and mountain spring water, The Gentle Brewer combines these carefully into century old stoneware pots and allows them to naturally ferment in this open micro-climate ideal for such a revered process. Typically started in the spring or fall, when the sun is a medium temperature during the mid-day, then cool ocean breezes keep the pots company at night. This natural cycle is essential to proper fermentation and is what makes this vinegar so special. The entire process takes about 1 to 1.5 years and each pot has its own schedule and own unique color and taste. The vinegar is then aged anywhere from 3 to 5 years.