Aizu Jidori Chicken
Aizu Jidori is a local breed of chicken originally used in traditional
headdress but until recently believed to have become extinct. Several
chickens were found being kept as pets, and through DNA matching with
old feather remains are believed to likely be the same breed as the original
Aizu Jidori. Since then an effort has been made to preserve the birds,
and since then their numbers have risen greatly to over 10,000 from the
original 40-50 survivors. Somewhere along the line someone thought 'Well
it wouldn't hurt if we tried just one, just to see what it tasted like',
and their conclusion was 'Hey, these chickens taste pretty good'. Since
that day the idea was born to farm them for their meat, which is where
the current project comes in.
Aizu Jidori chickens are raised in a free-range environment and fed using
only natural foods. Whereas other chickens reach maturity in 50-60 days
due to feeding and hormone treatment, Aizu Jidori take 120 days to naturally
mature and ensure a good quality of meat.
Aizu Jidori is available at several restaurants in Mishima-machi, and
now can also be found on the menu at a couple of Japan's classy hotels.
Taste test: I tried the chicken cutlets, so the taste was a little difficult
to determine, but the chicken itself was firm and juicy.