As an introduction to the following post:
We are so lucky to be surrounded with talented, passionate and well intentioned staff members at all of our restaurants. It was with pleasure to find out that one of our line cooks, Eric Hass decided to look at the persimmons on the ESTATE property differently than we did. He approached Chef Chris and asked if he could turn the persimmons into Hoshigaki. I for one have never heard of that so I am anxious to watch the process continue and of course taste the end results!
I was first introduced to hoshigaki while studying the traditional foods of southern Japan; I was living and working with an elderly couple who ran a farm-restaurant-hotel out of their home. They adhered scrupulously to ancestral tradition in almost every aspect of their lives; they believed that there is a right way to do anything worth doing, and one must do it in precisely that way.
For example, they grew their own rice, without any chemicals, and raised ducks in their fields to fertilize and protect the crop from pests. They brewed sake over the course of months, using their own brown rice, inoculated with the cultures they harvested from the rice leaves. And, of course, they peeled and meticulously massaged hachiya persimmons every day over the course of a month and half to preserve the fruit and accentuate its complex flavors; this is the art of hoshigaki.
The couple was very kind to me, and generous with their knowledge; I followed their examples as best I could, on the farm and in the kitchen. They remain an example to me of the thoughtful precision with which one can live life, and of the subtle pleasures that such a life can provide. Eric Haas