Japanese people love soba. There are many soba shops in town, and it is eaten often at home. Also, there are customs to eat soba such as Hikkoshi soba or Toshikoshi soba on every annual occasion or at a turning point in life. Soba is a daily food that you can eat regardless of the season, but there is a good season for soba. If you get in a soba shop in the season, you can taste the most delicious soba in the year.
The most delicious soba is shin soba. Shin soba is newly-harvested soba. Buckwheat flour is very delicate and the taste and scents deteriorate over time. So, the fresher soba is, the better it tastes. A year’s worth of buckwheat is harvested in autumn and stored while soba shops or flour mills companies try not to damage the flavor. Nowadays the cooling and freezing technics have advanced and you can taste delicious soba throughout the year, but fresh soba which has been just harvested is rich in scent, taste, texture and color. So it seems that autumn will be the best season for soba, but in fact it isn’t always the case.
There are two types of shin soba: “”akishin”"(Autumn fresh) to harvest from autumn and “”natsushin”"(Summer fresh) to harvest from early summer to summer. In the past, it was said that “”Even a dog ignores summer soba”", but now that the cultivation technology has improved, and delicious “”natsushin”" has appeared. The main producing area of ”"natsushin”" is Hokkaido, and it has a refreshing taste with umami after taking plenty of light from the sun. This refreshing feeling is attractive in the hot summer. “”Akishin”" has more pronounced scents than “”natsushin”", and the taste deepens. Both have tastes suitable for the season. In addition, the harvest time differs for each production area in Japan that is long north to south. Hokkaido’s “”akishin”" harvest starts in late August, but in Kyushu you can harvest until late January. By the way, “”akishin”"from Togakushi in Shinsyu, a representative of high-quality soba, will be on the market around mid-November. Because the harvesting period for Japanese soba lasts for nearly half a year, it is the best season when you find a notice of “”Shin soba has arrived”" in a soba restaurant.
Soba is not a rare ingredient, and it is eaten in various countries of the world. There are a variety of soba dishes such as French Garrett, Italian buckwheat pasta, Russian buckwheat porridge, Kasha, Nepalese buckwheat mash curry and so on. In the neighboring country, Korea, North Korea, China, and Bhutan, soba is processed into noodles to eat like in Japan.
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