Experiences

Spotlight

Two new trends discovered in Fukui, a treasure trove of food

2023.1.19

Kokuryu Sake Brewery “ESHIKOTO Project” and up-and-coming French restaurant “Le Jardin” enter Fukui


As the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension approaches in the spring of 2024, Fukui Prefecture is becoming more active in various activities to welcome it. In particular, the challenge of a long-established sake brewery and the appearance of an up-and-coming French chef have become a hot topic. We visited these two spots that have been attracting a lot of attention.

 

 

A modern building built on a hill overlooking the Kuzuryu River

Eiheiji Town, Yoshida District, Fukui Prefecture. The Kuzuryu River, which originates from the Hakusan Mountain Range, flows through Eiheiji Town, forming a typical river terrace topography. Two modern buildings were built in June 2022 on a hill overlooking the gently shining river surface. The buildings, named ``Sake Raku Building'' and ``Garyu Building,'' were constructed by ``Kokuryu Sake Brewery,'' known for its ``Kokuryu'' brand, as a pioneer of the ``ESHIKOTO Project.''

 

 

The ``Sake Raku Building'' has a cafe restaurant, patisserie, and shop, and the ``Garyu Building'' is a sake brewery where sparkling sake is aged. The ``ESHIKOTO Project'' is an attempt by ``Kokuryu Sake Brewery'' to share Fukui's food culture with the world, with sake as the keyword. After 2024, when the Hokuriku Shinkansen is extended to Tsuruga, a brewing lab and auberge are also planned to be built on the site.



Entrance of “Sake Raku Building” Entrance of “Sake Raku Building”

Behind the entrance of the Sake Raku Building is a wooden deck overlooking the Kuzuryu River. The total site area of ​​the project is approximately 3 tsubo, and the buildings ``Sake Raku Building'' and ``Garyu Building'' are approximately 1 tsubo.



Sparkling sake in a space reminiscent of church architecture

 

When you step into the Garyu Building, you are greeted by a vast space covered with solid cedar boards (usually closed to the public). The steeply sloping ceiling with beautiful symmetry creates a solemn atmosphere similar to European church architecture. It was designed by Simon Conder. He is the great-great-grandson of Josiah Conder, who came to Japan in the early Meiji period and designed Rokumeikan and Nikolaido. A cellar for storing sparkling sake is set up in one part of this space, which is also used as an event space. This sparkling sake, named ``ESHIKOTO AWA'', began to be produced in earnest about four years ago.

 



Japanese sake storage cellar. Japanese sake storage cellar.

A giant 200-year-old Miyama cedar tree cut down from Mt. Hakusan is used as a counter. At the back on the right is the sparkling sake storage cellar.



Storage cellar of “Garyu Building” Storage cellar of “Garyu Building”

Approximately 8000 bottles of sparkling sake are stored in the storage cellar of the Garyu Building. There is also a warehouse in the basement that can store 5 bottles.



Tasting 3 types of sake at the bar counter

 

The ``Sake Raku Building'' will include ``Ishidaya ESHIKOTO Store,'' a space for tasting and purchasing products, and ``acoya,'' a cafe restaurant and sweets store. Here you can taste three types of sake (for a fee). Among them, one that you definitely want to try is the sparkling sake. The refreshing yet plump and mellow flavor unique to Japanese sake is a brand that can only be tasted in this space. It can also be purchased at the shop. Among the extensive ``Kokuryu'' lineup, there are also items available only here, making them perfect as souvenirs.



There are 3 types of sake you can taste (1500 yen) There are 3 types of sake you can taste (1500 yen)

There are three types of sake available for tasting (3 yen). It's really fun to compare drinks such as sparkling, junmai sake, and junmai daiginjo.



Shops Shops

``Tokoshie'' is a valuable brand that can only be obtained here. The shop also carries such limited edition items.

 



Enjoy Kuroryu Ginjo pork and sake lees soft serve ice cream

 

Next to the tasting space is the cafe restaurant and patisserie ``acoya''. At the cafe-restaurant, sake is the key word, but even people who cannot drink alcohol can enjoy the food and drinks, such as the lunch menu using Kokuryu Ginjo pork raised using Kokuryu's sake lees as feed, and the soft serve ice cream made with sake lees. You can enjoy sweets. Of course, you can also enjoy sake to your heart's content as an aperitif. Eating while looking out at the scenery through the glass is a truly blissful experience.



A soft serve ice cream made with Kijoshu added to the sake lees of Kokuryu Daiginjoshu. It is moderately sweet and leaves a refreshing aftertaste.



Golden plum wine cake and sake lees cake Golden plum wine cake and sake lees cake

Kokuryu Sake Brewery also has a wide selection of patisserie items such as golden plum wine cake and sake lees cake.



"ESHIKOTO Project" is a new base for disseminating Fukui's food culture

 

After walking around the Garyu Building and the Sake Raku Building, we went to the open deck in front of the Sake Raku Building. The Kuzuryu River flows through the lush countryside. "Eshi" in "ESHIKOTO" is an ancient word meaning "good." Also, when read upside down, it means ``tokoshie,'' meaning ``eternity,'' and is also the ``eong'' of ``Eiheiji,'' which is a symbol of the land. The ESHIKOTO Project looks forward to the future of sake brewing, which is born from water and rice and is closely tied to the climate of the land, and Fukui's food culture. I can't think of anything else, both in name and location. Looking at the Kuzuryu River flowing by, I felt a strong feeling once again.



Kuzuryu River Kuzuryu River

View of the Kuzuryu River from the entrance of the Sake Raku Building. It is a sake village nurtured by the nature of Fukui.

ESHIKOTO

No. 12-17 Shimojopoji, Eiheiji-cho, Yoshida-gun, Fukui Prefecture
Opening hours vary depending on each store.
Closed every Wednesday, 1st, 3rd, and 5th Tuesday of the month



A French restaurant where a chef who won a global cooking competition works in the kitchen.
"Le jardin"

 

The French restaurant "Le Jardin" in Fukui City has reopened in the fall of 2022. As a result of this, Chef Ryo Horiuchi has been appointed as the new chef.

 

 

In May 2022, Chef Horiuchi became the third Japanese person to win the Prix Le Taittinger, one of the world's most prestigious culinary competitions. Chef Horiuchi's new French restaurant in Fukui has been attracting hot attention from all over Japan since it opened less than six months ago. On a late autumn afternoon, I visited Le Jardin and had Chef Horiuchi prepare a dish with all his heart.

 

 



Chef Ryo Horiuchi Chef Ryo Horiuchi

Chef Ryo Horiuchi was born in Kyoto in 1988. After gaining experience at ``L'Osier'' in Ginza, he returned to Japan after working for 5 years at famous French restaurants including the 2022-star ``Regis et Jacques Marcon.'' He worked as an assistant chef at Estelle at Palace Hotel Tokyo, and moved to Fukui in April 4.



Fukui's brand fish, Wakasa Guji, made into a delicious French dish
Enjoy Fukui's winter delicacies

 

 

In a world of restrained white, the soft truffles and three dark brown lines stand out. The name of the dish is ``Wakasa guji and truffle terrine.'' ``Wakasa Guji'', also known as ``Amadai'', is one of Fukui Prefecture's representative brand fish. The line that forms a layer with the white meat is also truffle. Put the knife in. The rich aroma of truffles is added to the crumbly white meat, and the delicious white sauce gently nestles against it.

 

The white meat and truffles wrapped in Wakasa guji mousse are cooked at a low temperature to create a moist and soft terrine, and the white wine sauce made from Wakasa guji bones has a faint scent of the sea. What looks like an open flower is the skin of a guji that has been fried in oil. A dish made with Fukui ingredients that has been sublimated into a splendid French style. It was full of innovative ideas and reliable techniques that had won championships in world competitions.



"Wakasa guji and truffle terrine" "Wakasa guji and truffle terrine"

"Wakasa guji and truffle terrine". The texture of Wakasa guji and the aroma of truffles spread throughout your mouth.



``Roasted Venison Noisette Croute with Black Garlic Accent'' is roasted Japanese deer loin from Ikeda Town, Fukui Prefecture, coated with homemade hazelnut paste. Fukui black garlic puree is used in the poivrad sauce. Courtesy of Le jardin



``Warm six-row barley and squid salad with sea urchin flavor ecume'' is made by chopping squid from Wakasa Bay and cooking it with six-row barley to make a risotto. A dish with a light ecume (foam) of Shio sea urchin on top. Courtesy of Le jardin

Our goal is to create a restaurant that people can visit even from far away.

 

Why did Chef Horiuchi, born in Kyoto, come to Fukui? “I think it was influenced by Regis Marcon, the chef I respect the most,” says Chef Horiuchi. Mr. Marcon, the owner and chef of a three-star restaurant and internationally acclaimed ``mushroom magician,'' visited Fukui when he came to Japan and is said to have praised the abundance of ingredients there. In a sense, it's only natural that Chef Horiuchi, who worked under him for three years and even served as sous-executive chef, was influenced by him. ``As my master praised, Fukui is a land that is extremely rich in food from the sea and from the mountains.People from all over the world flock to Mr. Marcon's store in the mountains, far from Paris.'' We aim to be a restaurant that people come from far and wide to visit."



Le Jardin Le Jardin

As the name suggests, the well-kept garden creates a beautiful space and atmosphere.


Le jardin
4-28-16 Bunkyo, Fukui City, Fukui Prefecture
ランチ11:30~15:30 (LO13:30)/ディナー18:00~23:00(LO20:30)
Tuesday, Wednesday (subject to change if it is a holiday)

 

A grand initiative by a long-established sake brewery and French cuisine created by an up-and-coming chef. These two places we visited this time are hot spots in Fukui, which is known as a treasure trove of food. At this time of year, when winter delicacies such as Echizen crab are in season, why not add these two to your Fukui travel content?

 

 

 

 

Text by Masao Sakurai
Photography by Junko Ueda

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