Restaurant Maccarina｜Scenery Where Rich Japan is Created
Japan, the island country which is slender and long, extending north to south. Small, but beautiful land with full of rich nature and blessed with pure water here and there. Delicious things have been developed from beautiful sceneries. In this series, we will introduce delectables originated from landscapes in Japan, which cannot be found in big cities.
The Small Village Catapulted into Fame whose Local Specialty is Lily Bulb
Restaurant Maccarina is based in the small village of Makkari in Hokkaido. Despite the village’s small population of around two thousand, Maccarina has become a destination for gourmets from all over the world. Thanks to nearby Mt. Yotei, the area is rich in fertile farmland and pure water. The name of the village is derived from “Makkaripe”, a word from the Ainu, a language spoken by the aboriginal people of Hokkaido.
About two hours’ drive from New Chitose Airport, through the flowering potato fields, Mt. Yotei comes into view. Its peak is 1,898 meters above sea level. The mountain also bears a striking resemblance to Mt. Fuji, earning it the nickname Ezo (Hokkaido) Fuji. Ezo’s surroundings are famous for being one of the best natural spring areas in Hokkaido, and there are some spots where the snowmelt water, which has been filtered naturally over a few decades, stream out from the mountain. Many people visit here just for the refreshing and mild natural springs.
Among all the crops which are cultivated in the area, such as potatoes, carrots and asparagus, Makkari boasts the largest lily bulb production in Japan. Each crop is vigorous and produces a hint of earthy taste. Hiroshi Nakamichi, chef and owner of a French restaurant in Sapporo, used to visit Makkari with the restaurant’s other chef Shinichi Sugaya for the underflow water from Mt. Yotei and the local crops. “I was attracted by the village. The sky is high and wide with clean air like the countryside in France. The locally produced vegetables are delicious. I started dreaming of opening a restaurant here,” said Sugaya. Later then, he opened the ‘Restaurant Maccarina’ in Makkari.
The antipasto is an assortment of various fresh vegetables which are representative of Makkari’s beautiful seasons. “This is the dish which maximizes the deliciousness of the original ingredients,” says Sugaya. All the vegetables are kept untouched as much as possible, however, it does not mean they are served inelegantly on a plate as they are. The chef has researched and mastered the best way of cooking for each vegetable to maximize its taste, such as by salting and timing the perfect boiling time. He also grows some vegetables himself such as radish, snap pea and broccoli. Taking time out from his work as a chef, farming is also part of his daily routine.
The natural light shines through the dining room. The diner’s five senses are stimulated by the magnificent nature of Makkari which can be observed from the windows. Along with the freshly baked bread from ‘boulangerie JIN’, which is run by a young couple, and the selected wines which are stored in the restaurant’s basement wine cellar, the dishes concentrate sustenance from the earth to satisfy diners.
- 172-3 Aza-Midorioka Makkari-mura Abuta-gun Hokkaido