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Turning Japanese

By Natalaigh Taylor

Naoko Vallebona is from Gifu, Japan and visits every year with Stefano and their 2 boys, who are half Italian half Japanese. Japan and Italy have a shared passion for food, culture and lifestyle. Although very different, there is a lot of common ground between the cooking styles of the 2 countries and a basic love of simple food made with high quality, seasonal ingredients.

Stefano has been sourcing incredible quality unique products from Italy for over 20 years, he has quite an eye for supplying the UK’s foodie scene with the latest trends, and may soon be introducing Japanese products to his range. There is a great deal of artisan, high end producers and ingredients yet to be discovered in Japan!

This Spring, whilst eating their way around Japan, Stefano and Naoko visited artisan producers, making the likes of Yuzu honey, seaweed and sake. They attended private culinary tasting dinners and pairings, and visited an event site in the center of a green tea plantation.

They were introduced to Paul, from an incredible company called Walk Japan and discovered the soon to be opening 'Japan House', coming to Knightsbridge, London. Ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympic Games, Japan House aims to create a diverse appeal for Japanese food and popular culture.

It is a very exciting time for us at Vallebona, so watch this space. We are at the starting point of a creative, culinary experience. 

Get in touch if you are interested in our Japan project or have any feedback.