Omiyage are always everywhere when you go travelling in Japan, and the Setouchi Triennale is no exception. I was lucky enough to get a couple of souvenirs for myself and one of the treats I got was gelato. I had seen these little jars full of fruit gelato in Takamatsu at the main Setouchi Triennale shop and a few other select locations on various islands, most notably on Naoshima which also had its own Setouchi Triennale shop. I was intrigued by this little jar that had various fruit concoctions inside. I had a choice of up to 5 different flavours from kiwi to mango but settled on the tried and true, strawberry. I grabbed myself a small jar of strawberry gelato and returned to my hotel with my spoils. I opened it up and started to dig into it when I realized it was more of a sherbet than a gelato. It was delicious nonetheless. It was fresh and full of strawberry flavour. There wasn’t a lot of milkiness to it which made it a refreshing treat to have. If you go to the Setouchi Triennale, do try the gelato as it is good. It is a bit pricey but as the saying goes, you only live once.
In my own research, I discovered that the gelato was part of a greater project that is associated with the Setouchi Triennale. Roooots is a collaborative project that is run by loftwork. They start by researching the area which, at the moment, includes only the Setouchi region and the Echigo-Tsumari region. The Echigo-Tsumari region is located in Niigata and can be considered the older brother of the Setouchi Triennale. The Echigo-Tsumari Art Field is the same as the Setouchi except it started before the Setouchi Triennale and is held 1 year before the Setouchi version. Once the products of the region have been selected, they have an open tender to everyone to design new packaging before they choose a winner and start production of the products. It is a great idea and a lot of great artists and designers are part of it. While I didn’t notice a lot of these products, the Setouchi Gelato is part of the group that was selected in the 2010 edition of the Setouchi Triennale. This year they have 10 new products for sale but unfortunately I didn’t know about this until after I returned to Tokyo and couldn’t support the local industries. Next time I go I will definitely support them but for now I will just have to live with my own regrets. If you do choose to go to the Setouchi Triennale, do consider picking up some of these items as you are not only supporting the local community, you are getting some great products with a long history as well.