May 14, 2013 by rkpcs
Today has been all about natural food production and maintaining the traditions and most positive aspects whilst growing and preparing delicious food staples.
In the shade of one of the most prominent mountains in South Korea there has been a long history of tea production. This now continues for the Wolchulsan Tea Plantation who have modernised the traditional green-tea making practices on their 330,000m2 site. This was the site we visited but the brand itself (Sulloccha) is planted across 1.65million square meters in Jeju Island and Ganglin. It has become the byword for ‘green tea’ in Korea and supports a research centre into the best methods of producing tea whilst retaining its traditional values. Tea is thought to have refreshed all of the great Korean scholars while they have been writing their fabulous plays and making important discoveries, and therefore believed to be good for scholarly pursuits.
We also had the opportunity to observe soy sauce and soy bean paste being made. In the hot sun soy beans are mixed with salt water and left for fifteen days in ceramic pots. After this time the mixture is separated out and put into separate pots and left for two to three years. The process is so simple yet the outcome is amazing. The result is a deliciously rich soy sauce ready for use and a soy bean paste that would make any Materchef judges mouth water.
The team had a whistle stop tour of a turtle farm and saw how the turtles laid their eggs and how with a little time, care and attention what is considered very much a traditional delicacy is ready for consumption. Turtles are not eaten until they are three years old and are a very expensive treat costing £80 kilo. Not many people eat them but for those traditionalists there is a market retained to meet their needs.
In amongst the above we managed to squeeze in a visit to a local Kindergarten to exchange educational practices for early year children and a visit to a Temple. We saw a further two historical sites and visited a public garden paid for by the Gangjin Rotary Club.
We attended and spoke at a rotary meeting in the evening and this was followed by a celebratory dinner in our honour. One of the biggest traditions here is ‘gunbae’ which is toasting with ‘soju’ the Korean rice wine. Our favourite toast of the evening was from next year’s Rotary President which was ‘when I get drunk on soju I am happy today, when I get drunk on soju with you I am happy for life!’