The Art of Wasabi
In case you’ve ever wondered where that green blob of wasabi alongside your sushi comes from, here is the low down from Mr Nori Toshi. He is an 8th generation wasabi farmer on Japan’s lush Izu Peninsula, and he sells almost all of his produce to the famous Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo.He toured us through his fields, where this root vegetable grows alongside streams. It is a difficult plant to cultivate; it requires a warm, wet climate, and soil that is kept moist with water that is cool and has the right mix of minerals. This valley has a perfect environment for the plants, which helps to explain the long success of Nori’s family’s business – along with their patience and passion for this plant. Nori showed us how to harvest wasabi – each plant is carefully pulled out of the ground, like a carrot. Later, at his house, he grated a wasabi root, using a special grater and just the right amount of pressure. And then we ate some on top of wasabi ice cream. Only ever eat it freshly grated, he told us. Oh, I wish!