Kyoho Grapes (巨峰ブドウ)
Kyoho grapes are a popular variety of grapes that were developed in Japan in 1918. They were made from a crossing of the European Vitis vinifera and the American Vitis labrusca. Their most striking particularity is their sheer size. A single grape usually weighs between 10g to 12g. In fact, the name in Japanese comes from a combination of the character for "gigantic" and "peak".
Another clear characteristic of the Kyoho grape is its deep purple colour that can be almost black. The inner flesh is sweet and has a low acidity.
The production of the kyoho grapes in Japan is strictly controlled. They are generally made into clusters of 30 to 35 grapes that weigh at full maturity between 400g and 450g. If the number of grapes on the cluster is too high, the fruit will lose some of its sweetness and will not have a colour that is as dark.
How The Kyoho Is Consumed In Japan
In Japan, the kyoho grapes may be eaten as is, with peel or not based on personal preferences, but since they are kind of expensive and can even be used as luxury gifts if the grapes are of the best quality, people often consume them as a decorative topping.
You may find this kind of parfaits at high-end fruit parlours and cafes. They are likely to be part of a seasonal fall menu.
They are often used for tart or cake toppings as well.
This is something you are likely to see only in Japan: a cream-filled fruit sandwich made with crustless white bread. Kyoho grapes are used as filling when they're in season.
Kakigori, or shaved ice, is a Japanese summer staple. They can be made simply by pouring fruit syrup on shaved ice but the more luxurious ones are topped with real fruit, including kyoho grapes.
Jelly desserts have quite a retro image in many countries. In Japan, however, jelly desserts are still very popular and there is a market for fine quality ones made with real fruits. You can find so really nice ones made from kyoho grapes.
You may come across ice candies at convenience stores that are made from at least a certain amount of real kyoho juice. This one is a brand by 7-eleven Japan.
Special Flavors Of Major Brands
The kyoho grape is one of the most popular fruits in Japan so naturally, you will find various kyoho-flavoured products. Kit Kat Japan even made some limited time chocolate bars that are made from kyoho grapes. You may see them popping up every now and then as part of a special seasonal series. The Japanese love to consume foods that remind them of the passing seasons.
Want to learn more about fruits in Japan? Here is an article on the major types of fruits you will find in the land of the rising sun.