<Wein's special interview>
Nov. 25th, 2011
Ms. Martina from Wein's had visited Japan. We conducted interview with her with traditional costume of Black Forest region about its culture, products and mind about Japan. Here we introduce a part of it.
Picture on left : Ms. Martina, Wein's export manager Dressed with traditional clothes of Black Forest. The red ball on the hat means unmarried. Black means married.
Q: What is your purpose of this visit?
A: There are many purposes: first of all, as an active exporter, we want to stay in direct contact with our business partner here in Japan. This is easier in a face to face conversation than by e-mail. The traders and the sales persons opinion is very important for us: they are in direct contact with the customers and they know best how to fulfill the customers demands. We are very open to listen to their advice. Another purpose is to go out to the stores and the restaurants in order to get a feeling for the consumers' needs and desires. Japanese customers are very open minded regarding new products - this is wonderful for all food - producers and it makes us very happy to offer a new taste and mouth-feeling to them.
This year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Japanese-German friendship. Many events take place because of this. It is a good year to introduce a typical German food product like Black Forest Ham.
Q: Have you known that basic method of Japanese hams and sausages are based on Germen one?
A: Yes, I guessed so. It is an old tradition of preserving meat in Germany. I know that some German butchers living in Japan started to make sausage and ham, and also that Japanese butchers came to Germany to study the ham- and sausage - making quite successful.
Q: Please explain about the special characteristic of German Ham (comparing to Italian or Spanish ham).
A: Preserving meat with salt has a long tradition in Europe. The taste of a ham depends already of the race of the pigs as well as of the fodder they eat. And the fodder depends on the soil it grows .... Italy and Spain have another climate, longer warm periods than Germany. They are using sea-salt and the wind from the seaside is different from our mountain wind. Germany is colder, the warm period is shorter and the wind -especially in the mountains - rougher. We are using stone salt, harvested in salt storages deep under the ground and thousand of years old. The Italian or Spanish ham can be cured and dried in the air for many months - this period is shorter in Germany, what makes our ham more juicy.
Q: What is the big difference between Wein's ham and the other German Ham?
A: The taste of Wein's Original Black Forest Ham is based on a traditional family recipe, a mixture of salt and spices (like natural pepper, coriander, mountain herbs ...) and the perfect position in the Black Forest which is a huge biospheric park plenty of fir trees. Butcher Meisters work there with all their experience and with their own hands force. After the salting, the drying and the smoking process our hams have enough time to rest and to cure. We do not just follow the time -schedule but also trust our experienced Meister who decide the perfect time when the ham is ready. Therefore we are market - leader.
There are strict rules for our perfect Black Forest Ham:
fresh red color of the meat, dark/black rind by smoke, clear white fat part, soft texture and a mild spicy smoke-taste/smell.
Main differences are:
- family-owned secret family spice recipe
- fresh and spicy air of the high mountains of the Black Forest, full of oxygen and aroma
- Traditional smoking process with natural fir tree wood and juniper branches
- Traditional Style brick stone smoke chambers
- Premium selected pork meat
- geographically protected IGP
Q: How "Black Forest" is like?
A: It is a very large forest and biospheric area in the south-west of Germany, about 800 m high. The Black Forest is famous for its good, clean and rich air and for its pure water. You can find waterfalls in the forest! Europeans love to spend their holidays their either for recreation, rehab, sports like water-rafting, horseback-riding and hiking. Black Forest Ham became famous all over and a good specialty- o-miyage.
Q: How do German people enjoy "Black Forest Ham" (situation, recipe, etc)?
A: Germans love Black Forest Ham because of its specific taste of smoke and texture. We eat it on dark bread with butter and pickled cucumbers as the easiest way. We also love it on salad, with boiled or scrambled eggs, on sandwiches or just with fresh tomatoes. And lettuce...It suits to almost everything. It develops its best taste when sliced very thin, in slices or stripes.
Q: How's your impression on Japanese market?
A: We were very impressed by the reaction at the Foodex this year. Visitors tried and liked the ham very much. This was a wonderful experience for us and confirmed our wish to bring this specialty to Japan. Customers estimated the natural smell, the taste and also the feeling in the mouth. Japanese people are open minded and like to try new things. They also travel and most of them knew already of this German specialty. Japanese friends have always asked for this ham since many years. We are glad that we found a perfect business partner in order to fulfill the customers' high expectations.