On the outskirts of Kirishima on the shores of Kagoshima Bay with a view toward Sakurajima volcano sit thousands of earthenware crocks within which black vinegar is percolating. This type of vinegar has been brewed in this area for over 200 years. Today, the company Kakuida is brewing black vinegar using the best ingredients and traditional methods. Black Vinegar is so named because of its dark color, which is more like the color of an aged sherry vinegar than black. The wonderful color comes from two things: brown rice and the aging process. To make black vinegar, Kakuida mixes steamed organic brown rice, koji and water in large earthenware jars. These jars are then left standing outside in a field exposed to the elements. Over the course of time, the mash undergoes two kinds of fermentation (first yeast fermentation, then acetic fermentation). While the vinegar could be bottled and sold after about a year, Kakuida allows theirs to continue aging. This mellows the vinegar and gives it a rounder taste. We have selected Kakuida’s five year old vinegar, with its mellow yet full taste and deep caramel color.