TW heads to the island of Shikoku to discover the latest yuzu-sake flavor of KITKAT along with the natural beauty of Kochi Prefecture.
Though we left Tokyo uncertain of what we would find in Kochi – and with an unfortunate weather forecast for the couple of days we’d be spending there – the promise of getting to taste the latest limited-edition flavor of KITKAT was enough to entice us. Once there, however, we fell for far more than just the chocolate; the biggest of the four Shikoku Island prefectures is full of adventure found deep in its forests, where it’s impossible not to be humbled by the natural beauty.
But first, about that chocolate. Former Japanese football superstar turned sake expert Hidetoshi Nakata has partnered up with KITKAT and a local Kochi sake brewery, Bijofu, to create a brand-new flavor. Aside from sake extracts, the chocolate also contains a dose of yuzu. Known for its many health properties – most notably, a high vitamin C content – this citrus fruit is one of Kochi’s pride and joys. Used in various ways in the kitchen, and lately also as a key ingredient in skincare products, yuzu boasts a punchy, sour taste and scent. Like plum wine, it can also be used to make nihonshu (Japanese sake).
Nakata, who happens to be a fan of this refreshing yellow citrus, decided to bring the distinctive notes of the fruit to a new audience by combining it with sake-infused chocolate. The best way to snack on this delicious KITKAT? While sipping on a glass of cold sake for the ultimate combo.
Limited-edition KITKAT Mini Yuzu-shu Bijofu hits shelves from September 5.
Other Things to Do While in Kochi…
When you visit, be sure to explore the prefecture’s superb nature and cuisine. To properly embrace the nature, rent a car and drive to Niyodo River, known for its mystical hue that’s dubbed Niyodo Blue. Surrounded by lush, green trees and boasting beautiful waterfalls, it’ll leave you in awe. In the fall, the complementary colors of the river and the changing leaves make for a magical setting. If your heart rests more with the ocean than with the mountains, drive along the coast to Katsurahama Beach where you can indulge in kakigori (shaved ice) just a couple of minutes away from the waves.
When it comes to Kochi cuisine, it’s no surprise that fish is a core component of the local diet. Whether you like sashimi or prefer your fish lightly seared over an open fire as it’s prepared at Kuroshio Kobo, you’ll find something to satisfy your tastebuds here. To try it all, we recommend heading straight for Kure Taisho Town Market. Walk down the small alley and stop by the fishmonger’s to select the day’s best catches before making your very own donburi (rice bowl). The must-try item is, without a doubt, katsuo (bonito tuna).
Photographs by Rose Vittayaset