Maruya Hatcho Miso has been specialised in the production of miso since the XIVth century ( 1337) ! In the heart of the Japanese wars of 1467 to 1615, this miso was served to the Shogun (Lord) Ieyasu TOKUGAWA's soldiers.
Where does the term "Hacho Miso" come from?
"Cho" is an old unit of measurement corresponding to 109,09 metres. Hat (short for hatchi) means "8 " and Hatcho therefore means 8-cho or 870 meters. Maruya Hatcho Miso, located in the district of Hatcho, Aichi Prefecture, is at one Hatcho (870m) from Okazaki castle. This was a strategic point for maritime transport because it was the crossroads of the old Tôkaido road, where boats took the Yahagigawa river. During the Edo period (1603-1868), it was a port which had a monopoly in the salt trade. As a result it was easy to procure the ingredients, such as soya and salt, needed to make the miso which was then delivered by boat.
Maruya Hatcho miso follows ancestral processes of natural fermentation in large cedar barrels for its products (2 meters in diameter).
The ingredients are very simple and natural: soya, salt and water. Provided with real know-how, the Maruya master crafstmen mix the different ingredients in these barrels and cover them with stones to press them down. These stones weigh 5 tonnes in total ! The preparation begins in winter, and after 2 summers and 2 winters, in other words two to three and a half years of fermentation, we finally obtain Hatcho Miso: a very firm, brownish paste.
During the fermentation period, the miso ferments naturally without any human interference. The Master Craftsmen rely totally on nature: such is the tradition !
The Hatcho Miso process is very precise:
1. The best soya beans are carefully selected
2. They are washed, rinsed and soaked in clear water.
3. Then drained and steam-cooked.
4. Then cooled naturally.
5. The paste obtained is shaped into tennis ball sized balls and a natural yeast is added
6. The Kôji is made (a primer must be obtained after the saccharification of the soya bean starch) and left to rise
7. The ball shaped Kôji is then squashed and mixed with salt and water to obtain "moromi" or must.
8. The mixture is gradually placed in the cedar barrels. The master craftsmen go into the barrels to tread the mixture so that it is flattened and well mixed. This is done for each consecutive layer.
9. The top layer is covered with linen and the stones are positioned in such a way that the mixture is squashed and pressed down to ensure it ferments naturally.