“Hoba-miso” is just one of the many local foods from the Hida region in Gifu prefecture
“Hoba-miso” is made with green onions, Japanese mushrooms, and then mixed with ginger and homemade miso. The mixture is placed on a magnolia leaf and cooked on a Shichirin pottery grill. In the Hida area, people customarily make their own Miso, and each family has its own unique taste. This food is enjoyed as a local specialty with lot of variations, depending on which house or restaurant you go to. These tastes have roots that date back centuries.
The origins of Hoba miso?
Hoba is a magnolia leaf that has a bactericidal effect. The tree has endured because it is resistant to fire.
Magnolia trees were historically planted all over the Japanese mountains and looked after.
Toward the end of October, it begins to get very foggy in the Hida area and the Magnolia trees begin to shed their leaves. Community members collect and soak them in salty water for 3 days. The leaves are then dried naturally.
In the Hida region, the winter is harsh and snowy. People have to preserve foods to have when it is frozen. People are in danger of not having enough food. The people that developed Hoba Miso put their frozen tsukemono (Japanese pickles) with their homemade miso on a top of a dried Magnolia leaf and cooked it on the Shichirin grill.
Once people understood this delicious combination, they then added other ingredients such as Japanese mushrooms and the Hida local special green onions as well.
This is the way our ancestors ate this dish. Their wisdom and utilization of the ingredients are tasted in this cooking.
Unknown legends about “Hoba Miso” and purchase locations in Japan
When the “Hoba-miso” heats up, just the smell of the magnolia leaf and Miso cooking together will entice you. You will get addicted after that.
Our ancestors said that “If you continue to have “Hoba-miso” for 3 years, you will go broke”, and it will become your preferred food.
You can have this, and more, at Shirakawa, in Gifu prefecture, which is a world heritage site. It costs around 500 yen and sold at all the souvenir shops.