After signing up, and telling the festival organizers about tofu misozuke, we were asked if we wanted to make a short presentation as part of the educational program. I jumped at the opportunity to go on and on. Below is most of my presentation on the ancient and mostly unverifiable history of tofu misozuke. [Read more…]
Oooh-whee that was a packed summer. But first an announcement:
We have two tofu misozuke events coming up:
Saturday Oct. 20th 11am-3pm : Tofu misozuke tasting at Rainbow Grocery, 1745 Folsom Street (@ 13th Street), San Francisco CA, 94103.
If you’re curious about tofu misozuke and still haven’t had a taste for yourself, please drop by. We also sample out tofu misozuke most every Sunday at the Palo Alto Farmers’ Market on California Avenue.
Anyway, onto summer…
It started out with a booth and an educational presentation at the 2012 Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival. A lot of people stop by for their first taste of tofu misozuke on a lovely day in Japantown Peace Plaza. There was music and dances and lots of other foods besides. A good time all around. The educational panel was fun as well, a lot of guests have not heard of tofu misozuke and were interested to know more about the history and science of it. I’ll have the presentation up as a blog post soon.
Later that month, we went to the Fancy Food Show in Washington DC. Counting all the floors together, it was something like 9 city blocks’ worth of specialty food from all around the world. Amazing! Below is part of the convention center floor:
Here’s a fun fact: The Rau Om booth in the New Brands on the Shelf Pavillion was mere feet away from where my research poster was when I attended a conference in DC a few years back.
- We met journalists and buyers and chefs and food professionals of all sorts. We never knew something like this existed before, and being a part of it was so much fun and so much food! As food lovers too, the Fancy Food Show was one of those peel-the-curtain back moments that reveal all the hard work and infrastructure that go into getting food onto the market shelves and dining table.
Being at the New Brands pavilion was a little bit like being at the kids table. Everyone always tried to sneak away from their booth to see what the established brands are doing. A lot of people curious about what’s new and what’s a good story also stopped by to watch our antics.
We came away from the Fancy Food Show with quite a bit of press. First a number of journalists listed us as part of their highlights of the Fancy Food Show, even their favorite product of the show in some cases:
- Huffington Post – Best Bites of the Fancy Food Show by Katherine Brewer
- DC Vegan – Vegan Foods Delight at the Fancy Food Show by Amber McDonald. Our tofu misozuke made quite an impression, but apparently Amber also remembered Oanh and me for talking up how well our tofu misozuke goes with drinking!
- The Veracious Vegan – Summer Fancy Food Show 2012 by Angela Proudfoot. Angela’s continued to come up with some really decadent way to serve tofu misozuke – like with vegan caviar!
- My Favorite 2012 Fancy Food Bites and Sips – by Nevin Martell
- Chef’s Expression – An Inspired Trip to the Fancy Food Show
- Dish Bliss – The Fancy Food Show
A number of ‘zines also wrote a whole article about us after the show:
- Cool Hunting – Rau Om Miso-cured tofu answers the call of cheese-craving vegans by James Thorne.
- Tasting Table – Miso Happy: Mindbendingly Delicious Tofu by Posie Harwood
- The Kitchn – Beyond Vegan Foie Gras: Tasting Tofu Misozuke by Dana Velden
The result of all this press was a lot of orders for tofu misozuke coming from all over the country. The Tasting Table article in particular was a doozy. In addition to the hundreds of orders that came in just the first week the article went up, but all our local stores had to put in restock request as well. We had to break up and fulfill the mailorders over several different weeks. Still, this was from just one trip to the post office:
Whew – so here we are now in early fall. The long tail of this past summer’s finally tapered off – just in time for our first anniversary coming up, and the busy party trays and gift season!
This weekend, you can try samples of tofu misozuke at Rau Om’s booth (#15) at the Soy and Tofu Festival. We’ll also be serving up some tofu misozuke with cucumber, French bread, crackers, and fresh herbs so you can experience some of the many tasty ways to pair tofu misozuke with other ingredients.
Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival
LOCATION: San Francisco Japantown Peace Plaza, Post at Buchanan Streets
DATE: June 2, 2012
TIME: Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
PRICE: FREE and OPEN to the public. Affiliated events may charge admission.
After that, head over to the Union Bank Hospitality Room at Japan Center East Mall for the Educational Forum. I will be giving a short presentation about the history and science of tofu misozuke, including its connection to one of Japan’s most famous battle from the 12th century. The presentations are at 12:15pm and 2:50pm. The full schedule can be found at http://soyandtofufest.org/educational-forum/
Growing up, my family cooked cá kho/braised fish the Northern way and it was never a favorite dish until much later. Northern style cá kho is ascetically simple and intense. Southern style cá kho is easier to like – the fish is more softly presented and embellished with a more prominent sweetness. When we experimented with adding tea (a typically Northern touch) to Southern style cá kho, we found that the flavors of braised fish and the fragrance of tea were well matched companions still. Using Japanese or Korean barley tea made for an even more intriguing dish with a novel taste while the tea leaves themselves can be roasted to form a crust on the fish filet, adding a new textural element.
More to be added when confirmed.
But wait, there’s more!