Business

Bonito flake firm opens factory in France

Kyodo

Gourmets in Europe may soon taste a difference in dishes at local Japanese restaurants as the production of authentic katsuobushi — or dried bonito flakes, a crucial ingredient in Japanese cuisine — will shortly begin in France.

Makurazaki France Katsuobushi Co., a company headquartered in Makurazaki, Kagoshima Prefecture, has built a factory of 920 sq. meters in Concarneau in Brittany to provide dried bonito shavings to restaurants and stores throughout Europe.

“I hope this factory becomes a place from which katsuobushi will spread its wings around the world,” said President Katsuhiko Oishi, during a ceremony Wednesday in Concarneau to commemorate the completion of the factory.

Andre Fidelin, mayor of the French port town with a population of 19,000, said at the ceremony that Concarneau will share its journey into the future with katsuobushi.

Some 200 people were in attendance to mark the occasion in which a barrel of sake was cracked open, a tradition in Japan.

Japanese makers are limited in the amount of dried bonito they can export to Europe due to strict regulations imposed by both the European Union and individual countries.

The Concarneau factory will procure its bonito from a French fisheries company in the Indian Ocean. The plan is to produce some 200 kilograms of dried bonito daily — the initial output target.

The dried bonito flakes will be shipped in 40-gram packets beginning in October.

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