About one year ago, The Cultured Club presented its first ever specialised workshop honouring the joy that is Kimchi @ BelFeast.

Kimchi is the Korean name for preserved vegetables seasoned with spices and traditionally fermented seafood. We like to use a bit of seaweed instead.

It forms an essential part of Korean meals, meaning they eat it with everything, transcending class and regional differences.

We enjoyed apple kimchi, pear kimchi, cucumber kimchi, onion kimchi, raddichio kimchi, some of which i still think i have and of course some kimchi kimchi.  Since then we have made pumpkin & aubergine kimchi,  turnip kimchi….. is there anything you cannot kimchi?

In korea, there are regional differences, hundred of them, and the specific methods and ingredients used are considered an important family heritage, typically transmitted from a mother-in-law to her newly married daughter-in-law.

But there is one custom we particularly love and it is the collective practice of Kimjang!!

Korean families will set aside a weekend for Kimjang (김장), the annual kimchi-making.

Kimjang is special. It’s the time of year when families make the beloved and versatile pogi kimchi (포기김치) to be eaten year-round. This reaffirms Korean identity and is an excellent opportunity for strengthening family cooperation. Kimjang is also an important reminder for many Koreans that human communities need to live in harmony with nature.

Preparation follows a yearly cycle. In spring, households procure shrimp, anchovy and other seafood for salting and fermenting. In summer, they buy sea salt for the brine. In late summer, red chilli peppers are dried and ground into powder. Late autumn is Kimjang season, when communities collectively make and share large quantities of kimchi to ensure that every household has enough to sustain it through the long, harsh winter.  Innovative skills and creative ideas are shared and accumulated during the custom of exchanging kimchi among households.

We can take this as inspiration and create our own, right?  It is time, the year has passed and I feel the need to get some kimchi on!

Kimjang 김장