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Hokkaido food shown off to the world (July 8, 2008)

A dinner party dish made using Hokkaido products including Shiranuka-raised lamb

TOYAKO - A variety of Hokkaido food items including lamb, cheese, sea urchin and potatoes were served at a Hokkaido Toyako Summit dinner party hosted by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on the evening of July 7. The event was seen as a great chance to promote Hokkaido as a rich source of fine food to the world.

The party dishes were planned on the themes of "Hokkaido, gifts from the land and sea" and "high quality simplicity." An authority from the Foreign Ministry explained, "Because of the historic nature of these dishes, cuisine that is exclusive to Hokkaido was served."

The main course was a rack of baby lamb, made from animals raised by 36-year-old Shingo Sakai, the manager of a ranch in Kushiro Subprefecture's Shiranuka Town. Sakai commented, "I think my lamb was chosen for its softness and refined aroma as well as its flavor." Sakura cheese from Kyodogakusha Shintoku Farm in Tokachi Subprefecture's Shintoku Town was also used for the party. The cheese is flavored with the leaves of cherry trees, the symbolic tree of the town. Farm operator Nozomu Miyajima, 56, said, "I'm greatly honored to hear that Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda liked our cheese."

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