The Wonder 500

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Kuromame Shibori (Sweetened dried black beans)

The Japanese New Year holiday is celebrated with osechi ryori, a special meal prepared with the desire for family well-being, a rich harvest, and perpetuation of one’s descendants. Black soybeans, which are boiled to a sweet plumpness, are a Japanese flavor that is indispensable to osechi ryori. These black beans, which are grown in the fertile soil and clear water of the Tanba region of Kyoto prefecture, an area subject to extremes of temperature, are a famous local product. Kitao fell in love with the large, good-tasting “New Tanba Black” type of bean made in Tanba, created confections harnessing its appeal, and is taking care to convey this appeal to customers. After the grower works diligently for half a year cultivating them, the black beans are sorted by size and then selected by hand and eye by exacting seasoned artisans. The carefully boiled sugar-glazed black beans display a taste that emanates a gentle sweetness, sealing in the natural flavor that can only come from the choicest New Tanba Black beans.