This multi-day feast for the senses is an exploration of Japanese food in its cultural context, including the origin of the ingredients and their preparation in the kitchen. It is also an introduction to the long-revered tradition of the region’s potter. Taken together you have a harmonious union of cuisine and artisan-made vessels at the table.
You will create elegant and delicious home-cooked meals influenced by cha-kaiseki, the tea ceremony meal. These cooking experiences will revolve around a seasonal menu made with produce procured from local fish mongers, markets, and foraging, all when seasonally available. Through the process of cooking together, Prairie will introduce the basics of making dashi and introduce you to the symphony of seasonings used in traditional Japanese cuisine. You will prepare several dishes together, set the table, plate the meal on local wares, and dine together.
Another part of your time in Karatsu will be spent learning and meeting Karatsu’s producers. These will include the makers of food with visits to breweries, farms and specialty food shops, as well as meals in restaurants that feature local produce. But you will also visit the makers of pottery traditions famous in the region, with visits to artists’ studios and galleries.
The best time of year to visit is mid-March to early April for a plethora of foraging options, lovely weather and cherry blossoms.
November is beautiful for foliage and fall produce.
You have two options for accommodations, one Western on Karatsu Bay and one traditional, with futon beds on tatami floors.
Prairie Stuart-Wolff is a cook, writer and photographer. Along with her partner, acclaimed potter, Hanako Nakazato, she splits her year between Maine, where she was raised, and Karatsu, Hanako’s natal home. Her connection to the land, her keen eye and her ear for the rhythm of the days and seasons, is at the essence of all that she produces.
We can create wonderful journeys for you in Japan centered on art, craft, innovation, architecture, fashion, gardens and religion.
Travel on to Yame, Japan’s finest growing region of gyokuro, a highly specialized variety of green tea.
Or visit Nagasaki, the great port city through which Chinese and European cultural influence has entered Japan over the millennia.
You will see how others live by learning about their food. As Prairie reminds us, “How to eat means how to live.”