Desserts that can be found anywhere are obvious. However, I’m visiting shops for desserts that can only be tasted on Ganghwado Island.
It is a great pleasure to travel to make a pilgrimage to unique local dessert shops and go to travel destinations with hands full of snacks.
From a shop that bakes tarts, crackers, and vegan desserts with ingredients obtained from the nature of Ganghwa to a brewery that brews makgeolli (unrefined rice wine), a local specialty made from Ganghwa rice, let me introduce four shops that perfectly represent Ganghwado Island.
#GinsengTarts #MugwortTarts #GanghwaGinseng #GanghwaArtemisiaHerba
It all started with one question: “Why is there no souvenir food like Japan’s ‘Tokyo Banana’ on Ganghwado Island?”
A young man from Ganghwado Island, discharged as a military officer, decided to make a dessert representing his hometown.
In Ganghwado Island, where many high-quality local products, such as ginseng, mugwort, rice, and turnips, are produced, it was Ganghwa ginseng and Ganghwa Artemisia herba that caught the young man’s attention.
He developed recipes through trial and error, made field trips to mugwort farms, and accumulated experiences while training at the Ganghwa Agricultural Technology Service Center.
The fruit of his labors is Ganghwa Ggagga, a handmade tart shop at the entrance of Soljeong Village in Sinhyeon-ri.
The store, which has a vivid yellow appearance like forsythia in spring, produces ginseng, mugwort, and cream cheese tarts.
The Western-style dessert tart was mixed with ginseng and mugwort, local ingredients that symbolize Ganghwado Island, but the bitter taste of ginseng is removed while preserving its aroma.
In addition, ginseng tarts supplemented with lemon peel for freshness, mugwort tarts with the scent of mugwort, and cream cheese tarts filled with French cream cheese and gourmet butter offer a variety of flavors.
#Makgeolli #GanghwaRice #Ganghwado'sFirstLocalSpecialtyLiquor #IncheonRegisteredCulturalHeritage
“Real” makgeolli (unrefined rice wine) must compete with the taste of rice and water because if rice and water, the main ingredients, are good, the liquor will inevitably be delicious.
Geumpung Brewery, a 100-year-old brewery that makes makgeolli for the third generation in Onsu-ri in Ganghwado Island, is a good example.
Makgeolli here is brewed with Ganghwa rice grown in soil rich in various microorganisms by reclaiming tidal flats and the clean groundwater from Onsu-ri.
The dark beige liquor is noncarbonated and goes down the throat smoothly.
Geumpung Brewery’s makgeolli, which adheres to the three principles of “no pesticides, no sweetness, and zero waste,” is the first local specialty liquor of Ganghwado Island.
Local specialty liquor refers to alcohol made from ingredients produced in the region.
The pesticide-free rice grown in the land of Ganghwa is turned into steamed rice for making liquor and gives off a natural sweetness as it ripens, and the Onsu-ri area has had water good enough to be called “yaksucheon (meaning mineral water hot springs)” since ancient times, so people from outside the island come to taste it.
The program of touring the Geumpung Brewery, which became a registered cultural heritage of Incheon in 2022, and making your own alcohol are also interesting.
Gumbang, a Local Confectionery Shop
#HomemadeCrackers #Nutty-crispy #GanghwaGinseng #SeohaeSpinyLobster #GanghwaArtemisiaHerba
Gumbang, a local confectionery shop, makes handmade crackers with Ganghwa specialties—Ganghwa ginseng, Seohae spiny lobster, and artemisia herba.
In 2021, when it was introduced on a TV program, it became more viral. The crackers here differ greatly from other crackers commonly seen in traditional markets.
Unlike ordinary crackers with green laver powder, peanuts, or ginger, this one fully uses Ganghwa’s seasonal specialties to bring out the regional characteristics.
This round and flat snack melds regional flavors, such as ginseng planted in Ganghwa since the Goryeo period, spiny lobsters caught in clean tidal flats, and artemisia herba leaves that are said to resemble a lion’s paws. Ingredients other than local specialties are also honest.
It is made with Korean wheat and unrefined raw sugar and does not contain additives, so it is comfortable to eat even if you eat a lot.
How about the sincerity of the maker? The shopkeeper, seated in front of a cast iron griddle, bakes the dough and controls the flames in the traditional method to make slow-food crackers.
Hee Wa Rae Coffee Roasters
#VeganDessert #GanghwaMugwortCappuccino #GanghwaMugwortLevainCookie #GanghwaArtemisiaHerba
Hee Wa Rae Coffee Roasters is a vegan dessert roastery café with views of wide rice fields flowing through the windows.
The shop does not use milk, butter, and eggs in its products and roasts the beans directly. About 10 kinds of desserts sold every day are introduced on the store’s Instagram page.
Products that use local crops, like Ganghwa Mugwort Levain Cookies, Ganghwa Inner Yellow Sweet Potato Crumbles, and Ganghwa Sweet Pumpkin Crumbles, stand out.
All menu items containing mugwort, such as Ganghwa Mugwort Cappuccino, are made with pesticide-free Ganghwa Artemisia herba powder to keep you healthy.
The smoothie bowl, topped with various nuts, dried fruits, and granola, is also very popular.
Another attraction of Hee Wa Rae is that it is a respectable cultural and artistic space on Ganghwado Island.
The café, run by an artist couple, is also a reception room where creators living in Ganghwa interact with the locals.
From time to time, this place transforms into a vegan dessert baking classroom and a performance stage for musicians, drawing out Ganghwa’s artistic future.