By Nao Yako
As the boom for Kakigori shaved ice continues, an increasing number of shops are using natural ice, in addition to offering a wider variety of flavors and presentations. Frozen slowly in cold weather, natural ice brings a distinctive flavor to this summer treat.
The representative director of the Japan Kakigoori Association, which comprises cooperations of Kakigori shops and enthusiasts, took me to Mikazuki Hyokaten in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture.
Shop manager showed me a block of natural ice, which contained almost no air bubbles and was remarlably clear. His shops buys natural ice cream a maker in Nikko. Tochigi prefecture.
To produce natural ice, water from an underground source is poured into a pond in a mountainous area where it freezes in the severe cold of winter. Employees continuously remove dead leaves that fall on the ice and dirt on. its surface. It takes about 10 to 20 days to complete the production of natural ice.
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