What’s in Season? Food Festivals this October

Do you find yourself getting an extra serving of this and that during autumn? You just can’t help yourself from getting a second serving of that delicious matsutake mushroom soup and a third slice of that rich and creamy pumpkin pie! You don’t have to beat yourself up over it because a research published by cardiologist Ira Ockene in the journal, Nature, in 2005 explains that most people actually consume more food during autumn – 86 calories more per day as compared to their food intake in spring and summer. No worries, though, because this behavior can be explained by our body’s primitive instinct to store as much fat as we need for the coming winter months.What a perfect excuse to grab a few more pieces of those roasted chestnuts on the table. Needless to say, autumn has a lot of good seasonal food to offer, plus, a number of food festivals happening around Tokyo will surely satisfy your gastronomic cravings!

During this season, a lot of healthy crops grow in Japan like persimmon, chestnuts and of course, pumpkin! If you want to try something beyond the ordinary roasted chestnuts, why not grab a slice of chestnut pie from your favorite bakeshop or make your dinner more exciting by topping your rice with steamed chestnuts. You also shouldn’t miss trying sanma shioyaki–grilled sanma seasoned with salt and soy sauce and served hot with grated radish. For snacks or a quick dessert, grab some hoshigaki or dried persimmon dusted with sugar.

But apart from all these good food, there are also several food festivals happening this month that are not to be missed.

Check out some specialty bread at the Setagaya Bread Festival. Bread shops from different parts of Tokyo, mostly from the Setagaya area, are going to showcase their treats for this season. You can buy different kinds of “autumn-themed” bread with flavors (and colors) that are fit for this season. For sure, pumpkin is going to be a popular choice! After shopping, you can attend talks hosted by the Bread University to get tips on how to make the best bread for you and your family.

Satisfy your thirst with your favorite beer at the Yokohama Oktoberfest at the Redbrick Warehouse. With all the “Oktoberfest” festivals sprouting in different areas in Japan, this event is probably the one that gives the closest feel to the original one from Munich, Germany. In this festival, you can sample different beers from craft to draft and 130 other types from both overseas and local producers. Make sure to try the “authentic” ones from Germany!

Enjoy zen and tea at the Grand Tea Ceremony at Hamarikyu Gardens. This is an annual event awaited by locals and tourists alike. They are traditional indoor and outdoor ceremonies that you can choose from. You can just sample tea with perfectly matched Japanese sweets or you can try your hand during the workshops and prepare your own. There are workshops for both beginners and experienced enthusiasts. If you are not into crazy drunken nights like the Oktoberfest, then this might be more interesting for you.

Now that you have all the excuses to give in to your autumn food cravings, all you have to do is give in, grab a bite and savor every flavor!

This article was originally published in Filipino-Japanese Journal October 2016 issue. It has been updated with new information.

(Words by Herlyn Alegre, Photograph courtesy of © JNTO)