“Gourmet town, Sapporo” is the gathering place of Hokkaido’s seasonal ingredients
poroco editor-in-chief, Satomi Fukusaki
Using fresh, safe local ingredients, artisans use their skills to bring out the taste, producing “gourmet food” that will impress any foodie. In Sapporo, the delivery of food information with the theme of “gourmet town” is starting. Once again, what is the appeal of Sapporo food? We asked Ms. Satomi Fukusaki, editor-in-chief of Sapporo local information magazine “poroco”, which is indispensable to Sapporo women when they search for restaurants.
Sapporo, where Hokkaido’s seasonal ingredients and master chefs come together
“When poroco’s editorial department delivers information on ‘gourmet restaurants’, we look at them from the standpoints of the food, the space and the service. Good taste is the basic premise, but as a local publishing company, we would like to be a magazine where you can discern whether or not the restaurant is a pleasant place based on our ratings. What we feel as we do our research is that the number of restaurants which place value on “cuisine unique to Sapporo”, where Hokkaido ingredients play the lead role, is on the rise. In the last few years, in addition to classic gourmet, restaurants are being born where you can “taste all the earth has to offer—from the seasonal ingredients to the feel of the season when you visit”, such as “Hokkaido French” and “Hokkaido Italian” cooked using Hokkaido’s seasonal ingredients with the skills of chefs who have trained domestically and overseas. Sapporo is located in Hokkaido, which has thriving agriculture and fisheries, and it is a city where restaurants and cooks gather, so I feel that the level of food is rising due to the friendly competition between restaurants”.
Sapporo is close to where the ingredients are produced, and is a city where interaction between producers and cooks is born
Surrounded by sea on all sides, with rural areas spreading inland, Hokkaido is a treasure trove of ingredients. The largest city in Hokkaido, Sapporo is in a rich environment which has food coming in from various areas. “With its temperature differences, Hokkaido’s four seasons are clearly defined. Because of this, ingredients are in season only for short periods, but the depth of flavor is impressive! The fresh asparagus that comes into season in May–June can be considered a classic example. Sapporo citizens know the delicious tastes that will be missed if they miss the season, so they follow Hokkaido’s seasonal food passionately. Since the production areas are close by, good quality ingredients are used, and the fact that the menu prices are cheaper than Tokyo is another attractive aspect of Hokkaido food. Many chefs also interact with local producers, and there are also cases of collaboration right from the stage of ingredient production, for the sake of creating the perfect dish. The fact that there are many restaurants which serve cuisine inspired by seasonal ingredients, rather than selecting ingredients for set dishes, is perhaps one of the appeals of Sapporo food “.
Food events are a great opportunity to taste seasonal ingredients of Hokkaido
“In the last few years, the quality of Hokkaido-produced wines, Japanese sake, and cheeses has improved dramatically, and it has become possible to enjoy the ‘marriage of Hokkaido-produced ingredients’ in a natural form. Food events like the ‘Sapporo Lilac Festival Wine Garden’, ‘Sapporo Autumn Fest‘ and ‘Sapporo Tapas’ have become established as city traditions. Beyond the barriers of their restaurants, chefs are increasingly exchanging information with one another and holding events. They do not just cook good ingredients to create delicious cuisine, there are also events where they introduce producers who produce quality ingredients or where they open food markets, and this is another great aspect unique to a city that is close to where the ingredients are produced.”
Delivering information on how ‘Sapporo is a gourmet town’ through magazines, is an opportunity for local residents to rediscover the charm of their city. “First of all, it is important for each and every citizen to take charge of food PR, and be able to convey the appeal of Sapporo’ food. Anyway, it is my hope that people from other parts of Japan and from overseas will start visiting Sapporo for its food.” Say Ms. Fukusaki. We hope you will consider your next Sapporo trip after looking at the calendar of seasonal ingredients.
Illustration of Hokkaido’s seasonal calendar
* Seasonal calendar may vary by place of production.
Monthly magazine “poroco” editor-in-chief
She was born in Asahikawa City. She studied accounting at Otaru University of Commerce, and after working at financial institutions and some information magazine publishers, joined Cosmo Media Corporation. After working as media sales director for “poroco”—the “information magazine for actively enjoying Sapporo life”, she was appointed editor-in-chief in April 2014. She is also involved in poroco’s special issue “Gourmet Restaurants of Sapporo”. She is a member of the “Sapporo gourmet tourism promotion preparatory committee”. In addition to monthly magazine “poroco”, they also publish the “Gourmet Restaurants of Sapporo” special issue. Get a copy from bookshops or convenience stores to use as reference for finding restaurants while on holiday.