Hiiii! I back with the 2nd instalment of our Kagawa summer trip on Shōdoshima. As I’ve mentioned in my previous post that I’ll be sharing more on olive oil in this second largest island in the Seto Inland Sea and also the wholesome lunch we get to enjoy in the olive farm.
Our first stop upon arriving at this sunny island…
Inoue Seikoen is an olive farm that produces various types of products made with the olives grown on the farm. You might already have come across this brand in Singapore where they have a shop located at Tangs Plaza selling olive products like Japanese olive oil skincare that are produced on this farm in Shodoshima. Over at the farm here, we were given an educational short lecture on how to enjoy olive oil.
Upon entering the compound, we were greeted by these two cuties…
The lecturer started by sharing a bit of history on olive oil. Beginning from some 5,000 years ago, where olive first cultivation began in Mesopotamia region (now around Syria) that spread to the Mediterranean. He went on to explain the various types of olive oil and the production method used in Inoue Seikoen.
We were each given two types of olive oil to taste.
A: Inoue extra virgin olive oil
B: Unknown brand of olive oil from supermarket
As you can tell from the picture below, A looks slightly greener than B. We were told to place the cup on the hands and swirl the oil to release the aroma. Inhale the oil, slurp and swallow it down the throat. We tried it on both types of olive oil and noticed a major difference in both scent and taste. A has a fruity aroma, tasted fresh and a little grassy and actually drinkable while B smell kinda flat and lacks the olive flavour I was after, it also feels too oily to swallow. The lecturer explains that the fresh flavour from A is achieved from using the cold pressed method for extraction which is believed to retain the flavour and maintains most of the antioxidants. And since olive is actually a fruit, so the oil that extracted through the cold-pressed method technically is olive juice. So well, that means it should be drinkable.
This is the premium olive oil we tasted for A, carefully produced in small batches with limited quantities by Inoue Seikoen.
After the tasting, we headed upstairs to Farm’s Table Chuzaemon for lunch. Over here, the dishes are prepared with a focus on olives. The restaurant also has a wonderful view overlooking the Seto Inland Sea.
There are 4 types of olive oil placed on the table where we can use it for dipping breads and drizzle on dishes. We tried them all and love this lemon one the most. The fresh lemony flavour goes particularly well with bread. I like it so much that I bought a bottle back from their store downstairs.
Lunch began with a simple salad with bread on the side for dipping with the olive oils.
I ordered Olive Hamburg Beef as my main course. It comes with a generous serving of juicy olive beef topped with grated daikon, a side of ratatouille and roasted pumpkin & potatoes. The pumpkin & potatoes may look like nothing but it was of superb quality and so very delicious!
If you have not heard of olive beef, you’re not alone. Me neither until this trip. The possible reason could be that the herd size for olive beef is really small, with only less than 2,000 cattle as compared to nearly 16,000 cattle in Miyazaki. Olive beef originate from Shōdoshima, the cattle for this particular type of beef are fed on the remains of pressed olives, following the Japanese belief Mottainai that nothing goes to waste. The result is supreme quality beef that are rich and buttery with incredible marbling and high oleic acid content. This led to a win for the Best Fat Quality Award at the 2017 Wagyu Olympics. To understand more about olive beef, you can check out this website.
Feeling blessed to be able to enjoy good food with great company.
After lunch, we hopped on the car to tour around the island. We stopped by Nakayama Senmaida, the famous layered rice terrace with 800 rice paddies that form a curve along the surface of Mt. Yubune. A very scenic and peaceful place that somehow reminds me of Bali.
Somewhere in the western part of Shōdoshima by the coast of Seto Inland Sea, sits a graceful looking One Thousand Year Old Olive Tree. The tree travelled more than 10,000 kilometres on ocean from Andalucia, Spain to Shōdoshima in March 2011 on Olive Day. Standing under the shade of this ancient huge olive tree that still actively bears flowers and fruits somehow made me feel like there’s some kind of positive strong energy circling around the area.
A different angle…
The thousand year old support…
Bearing abundance of olives…
Apart from olives, another highlight on this island is Angel Road. A 500m long sandbar that connects three small islands to Shōdoshima island. Interestingly, the sandbar only reveals itself twice a day when the tide is low so visitors can walk to the small islands. This place is especially popular among couples as it is said that walking on Angel Road hand in hand with your significant other will find happiness together and that dreams will come true.
Along the path to Angel Road…
This is low tide so we can walk on the sandbar
From here, we headed back to Tonosho port returning to Takamatsu. Up next will be my favourite part of the trip… Mitoyo!