Bon appétit Ishikawa!/Ruby Roman

Patissier Hironobu Tsujiguchi meets the Ruby Roman: The miracle grapes are turned into fabulous sweets by the sweets master. 2

The patissier Hironobu Tsujiguchi’s original “Ruby Roman” verrine, using Ruby Roman grapes

He expresses his passionate feelings about Ruby Roman, as a patissier from Ishikawa.

The premium Ruby Roman grapes from Ishikawa are now grown in the cities of Kaga, Komatsu, Kanazawa, Kahoku and Hakui as well as Hodatsu-shimizu Town. Hironobu Tsujiguchi has special feelings about the Ruby Roman. After the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, he wondered what he could do as a patissier to help revitalize the area; he invited some junior high school students from Miyagi Prefecture to Kagaya, a prestigious inn in the Wakura hot spring resort of Nanao City, Ishikawa Prefecture, and served them Ruby Roman grapes. He had obtained the grapes with a winning bid of 500,000 yen for the bunch at the first auction of the year. By doing so, he wished for the early revitalization of the damaged areas and expressed his gratitude for Ishikawa.

“I wished that the children could be happy, even if only a little, by tasting the most delicious grapes in Japan. Also, I wanted to reward the farmers’ hard work by making the first auction big news, and raise the grapes’ recognition. Although bids tend to be high at the first auction of the year, to celebrate it, Ruby Roman grapes have been bid to high prices in recent years. This year’s highest bid was 1,400,000 yen a bunch, and their wholesale prices are 2.5 times as high as Kyoho grapes’ wholesale prices. I am deeply moved by this fact, since I have supported Ruby Roman grapes as a consumer who runs sweets shops. To tell the truth, it is a little too expensive to use as sweets’ ingredients, though.”

After receiving inspiration at the vineyard, Mr. Tsujiguchi made some new sweets using Ruby Roman. The grapes’ elegant taste was enhanced by his cooking skills, creating a taste different from the natural taste when eaten as is. The sweets were named Ruby Roman and can be purchased at his shop during limited periods.

Mr. Tsujiguchi carefully checks the flesh of each grape, cutting them cherishingly.

・Ruby Roman
・Ruby Roman is only available for a limited time at September.
・Mont St. Clair
 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
 Telephone: 03-3718-5200

Ruby Roman’s juicy flesh and tasty skin can be enjoyed together.

Mr. Tsujiguchi’s new “Ruby Roman” sweet is a verrine (dessert in a glass) that includes a generous portion of the grapes. The main ingredient, Ruby Roman, is used in various ways in addition to cut pieces. The juice is used in jelly, confiture and marshmallow mixed with red wine and blackcurrant. Ricotta cheese cream with lime aroma, champagne jelly and coconut meringue are also added.

Mr. Tsujiguchi says the key feature of the sweet is the umami taste of Ruby Roman skin. “Fresh grapes are cooked whole to make confiture. The skin’s natural taste, including its astringency, deepens the overall taste and emphasizes the flesh’s sweetness through heating and concentration. Fresh, juicy raw fruit and concentrated confiture are combined to strengthen the freshness and deep taste of both. The jelly, made with champagne, which is also made from grapes, produces a synergistic effect and the ricotta cheese’s richness gives the taste a third dimension. Please enjoy the elegant taste of Ruby Roman while experiencing the fruit jelly’s smooth texture, the marshmallow’s springy texture and the meringue’s crispy texture.”

The Ruby Roman are cooked with the skin on to make confiture. The skin’s astringency turns into umami taste, emphasizing the Ruby Roman’s natural taste.
The Ruby Roman jelly and ricotta cheese cream are layered and boldly topped with pieces of the fruit.
The coconut meringue is also cooked extremely delicately.

The history of the ingredient and producers’ passion, contained in a glass.

The ONESTORY food curator Hayato Miyauchi sighed in admiration after finishing the preproduction sweet, as if in a dream. “The ingredient of Ruby Roman has been integrated into Mr. Tsujiguchi’s own French-style sweet perfectly. The taste changes depending on which portion you scoop from the glass, and every portion tastes tremendously delicious and pleasant. If you use fruit with a powerful impact like Roby Roman, you can make a parfait with the main ingredient being ice cream, without taking a risk. However, Mr. Tsujiguchi presented a totally new taste in a classical style using various skills and precise calculation. I believe I have seen the true value of a top-class patissier.”

Mr. Tsujiguchi talks about the significance of having visited the cultivation site of Ruby Roman. “I felt the extraordinary passion of the producers who have developed the brand from scratch and preserved it. Their alertness against the leak of seeds and seedlings exceeded my imagination. The rate of commercialization has exceeded 50% only twice in the past; the producers are still conducting trial and error, pursuing the best cultivation method. In other words, Ruby Roman are still being developed, and will continue to be developed further. Roby Roman grapes, born through a miracle, will remain one of nature’s mysterious fruits.”

Savoring the taste of these ruby-like gems once a year is a fortunate experience unique to Japan.

Finishing the sweets carefully, pursuing the ideal arrangement and balance of ingredients.
The ONESTORY food curator Hayato Miyauchi experienced patissier training and has respect for Mr. Tsujiguchi. He said in admiration: “I feel professionalism in every scoop.”
Carefully grown Ruby Roman grapes and Mr. Tsujiguchi’s “Ruby Roman”, his finest effort. The noble radiance of a ruby.
“Mont St. Clair” in Jiyugaoka, Mr. Tsujiguchi’s first sweets shop, is still enormously popular as his flagship shop.

Photographs:SHINJO ARAI
(supported by Ishikawa Prefecture)

Here is the foods introduced.