Sampuru

Berlin, Martina Della Valle | 20 June 2012

Photographs by Martina Della Valle per Essen A Taste Magazine

In Japan SAMPURU is a veritable art of craftsmanship.

Born as a way to stimulate the appetite through a visual suggestion, SAMPURU (which in Japanese means: example, model) is the tradition of exposing in the shop windows a depiction of the menu offered inside.

The aesthetic of food imitation can almost overcome the reality.
Because even if the appearence is not everything, in Japanese cuisine it certainly matters a lot.

Everything seem to start in 1932 when Takizo Iwasaki, after creating a perfect “Rice Omelette” of wax, founded today’s leading company in gastronomic reproductions: Iwasaki Be-I. Afterwards a restaurant in Tokyo had a great increase of customers after showcasing the items of its menu.

Kappabashi-dori in Tokyp, also known as Kitchen Town, is the place where these plastic “delikatessen” are produced; a long street with about 170 shops dedicated to cuisine and food.

Here skilled craftsmen reproduce grains one after another, carefully decorate with a brush a strip of bacon or fry for real some plastic shrimps.

Everything starts strictly from real food, which is placed in wooden boxes where liquid silicone will be poured in, in order to create a mold. To obtain a more realistic effect, the tools used for shaping and refinement are normal kitchen utensils.

An almost maniacal eye for detail in the search of the perfect reproduction of reality makes the SAMPURU creation a fascinating story. The feeling that of a real kitchen, where every element keeps the aspects of its original, except for the taste.

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