|Refreshing flavors that go well with a cup of tea|
Niyodogawa Town, located near the source of the beautiful Niyodo River, is well-known for its production of tea. Recently, the desserts made from the tea here has been attracting attention from near and far, so we traveled from Kochi City on train and bus to where these desserts are manufactured to discover the secret of their popularity.
When we arrived at Ikegawa Chaen, we were greeted by President Yuki Yamanaka. Apparently, all staff members, including the president, are women. Most of the staff members married into tea farming families and were exploring the use of tea leaves in desserts before the foundation of this company. With encouragement from the Kochi Agricultural Development and Extension Center and subsidies from their town, they were able to start up their company two years ago and launch full-scale production and sales.
|These tea leaves transform into desserts|
Niyodogawa Town is no exception with its aging population and degeneration, but these women, together with the community, are working hard to revive the area. According to Mrs. Yamanaka, the company made it so far with the cooperation of numerous people and organizations, and the support of not only the local government, but of the local residents and their own spouses.
Ikegawa Chaen’s signature dessert is their Chabatake Purin, literally, “tea plantation pudding.” All of the ingredients are natural and local . This pudding surprisingly does not use eggs; great news for those with egg allergies. We sampled the pudding and were pleased with the robust aroma of tea blending with the rich taste of custard.
Because all the products are handmade, they are unable to mass-produce and thus are quite limited in expanding. However, Mrs. Yamanaka’s dreams are expanding as they plan to take their products to Taiwan this autumn for their first overseas endeavor.
Mrs. Yamanaka says that founding the company has brought about many new encounters, and we believe this to mean that Ikegawa Chaen is playing a part in increasing activity within the town.
|You can eat outside overlooking the river!|