The company Okui Kaiseido has been established in 1871 and is now run by the fourth generation of the Okui family. The company is located in Tsuruga, which at the time of the establishment was one of the main ports used to trade Kombu kelp from Hokkaido to Osaka and Kyoto.
Aging and improving Kombu does not only take several years, but even more so, highly controlled conditions and a lot of expertise. Similar to wine production, careful observation and balance is needed to produce the highest quality.
Nowadays, there are very few makers that understand and master this traditional art. Mr. Okui is one of these makers and therefore the Kombu from Okui Kaiseido is well-known and often chosen by famous Japanese chefs.
To make good Kombu it has to be laid out to sun-dry
the same day it was harvested, while it is still fresh. The dried Kombu is then
cut into smaller pieces and folded in order to transport to the Okui warehouse.
There, it is wrapped in cloth to protect the Kombu from mold and dust, while it allows the slow fermentation process. The Kombu ages between one and three years to develop the umami that provides the classical intense aroma to soup bases and dashi.
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