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How about Giving K-food to Your Loved Ones?

February, the month of Valentine's Day, is a time when many people around the world express their love and gratitude to their significant others, family members, and friends. In the West, people tend to give each other sweet treats like chocolate and candy along with heartfelt cards. In Korea, in addition to chocolate and candy, many people express their love or extend their thanks by presenting to others sweet fruit-based wine, spray roses, strawberries, and processed red ginseng products. Below, Korea AgraFood recommends some Korean agriproducts that can make a great gift in the month of love.

# Sweet and Soft Wine

Various Types of Wines Such as Apple Wine and Honey Wine Are Perfect Gifts for Family Members and Couples
Korean companies offer a large variety of wines made not only with grapes but also apple, omija (berries of schisandra chinensis), honey, and other ingredients. Many of them have earned a reputation of “healthy booze” at home and abroad.

Apple wine tastes sweet yet refreshing. A substance called polyphenol contained in apples is known to be effective in removing bad breath lingering in the mouth after a meal. Omija wine features delicate bubbling of the fragrant red fruit that stimulates the sense of smell. It is a perfect mixture of a sweet fruit scent and a slightly bitter taste of omija. Since the sour-bitter spiciness of the berry is similar to that of many spices popular in the West, the unique wine is expected to have a competitive edge in Europe. Honey wine, whose main ingredient is wine, is first fermented for about ten days and then left to ripen for half a year. It smoothly goes down through the throat and is every bit as sweet as its Western equivalents.

* Tip!
We would like to suggest that apple wine, which refreshes the mouth, may be a better gift to your parents, whereas the fancy-looking omija wine or sweet honey wine is a better fit as a present to your sweetheart.

# Sweet-and-Sour Strawberries

High Sugar Content and Sweet Scent of Korean Strawberries Make Them Popular as Gifts among Couples in Thailand

In Korea, the main season for sweet-and-sour strawberries is from November to May of the following year. Korean strawberries boast of a high sugar content of 12 to 14 Brix, a sweet scent, and a beautiful shape. Their high quality and thorough safety controls are the foundation for vigorous sales to foreign countries.

The largest importers of Korean strawberries are Singapore and Hong Kong where the fruit is sold in large stores and high-end supermarkets. The Korean strawberry is also strengthening its position as a premium fruit in Vietnam and Thailand. Among younger consumers in Thailand, it is a popular gift to their lovers on Valentine's Day. Just in time for the special day, many Korean beverage franchisers that operate in Southeast Asia introduce new entries on their menus, including juices, shakes, and cakes made with Korean strawberries as the main ingredient. They are receiving favorable responses from local consumers.

* Tip!

Rinse strawberries with salt water before eating; this will help to remove more bacteria and double the sweetness of the fruit.

# Spray Roses and Succulent Plants

Beautiful Colors and Great as Interior Decoration
Korean spray roses have long been loved by overseas consumers for their freshness and various colors. The most popular colors overseas are pink, red, yellow, and white. Every year, Korea develops and exports new cultivars of the roses matching the preferences of foreign consumers. The main importers are Japan, China, and Russia. Recently, sales of Korean spray roses started in high-end flower shops in major cities in China, such as Beijing and Shanghai, and they are attracting much attention from local consumers in the middle and high-income brackets.

Cute little succulent plants, which even a gardening novice can easily grow, can be a good gift for friends and loved ones. The plants function as a natural air cleaner and are very popular among young consumers because they can be effectively used for interior decoration.

* Tip!
Korean spray roses come in various colors. Getting pink ones may be a better idea when you plan to confess your love, whereas yellow roses are a good choice when you want to convey your apologies. Korean succulent plants are available on famous Chinese online markets such as Yihaodian and JD.com.

# Wholesome and Easy-to-Eat Processed Red Ginseng

Stick-Type Red Ginseng Extract Selling in Duty Free Shops Attracts an Increasing Number of Foreign Tourists

Many foreign consumers take interest in Korean portable stick-type red ginseng extract products when they see them in Korean TV series and variety programs, such as Descendants of the Sun, Running Man, and Infinite Challenge, which they watch through the internet and a social networks. Such products are easy to carry and have anywhere at anytime, so they are particularly popular among busy workers and students. One can frequently see foreign tourists purchasing sticks of red ginseng extract as gifts at duty free shops in airports and downtown in Korea.

In addition, red ginseng tea and red ginseng candy, which offer consumers a chance to experience efficacies of red ginseng, also receive continued love from overseas consumers. Red ginseng drinks are drawing attention from young consumers looking for energy drinks.

* Tip!
A good gift for parents is red ginseng slices or pouch-type red ginseng extract. We recommend capsule-type red ginseng extract to married couples who can have it together. There are also red ginseng extract products for children, with a sweet taste enhanced by natural fruit.

# Delicious and Nutritious Tteok and Hangwa

Healthy Snacks = Perfect Gifts
Tteok (rice cake), a traditional Korean snack, is made with rice, so it is nutritious and wholesome. Koreans generally give tteok as a gift when celebrating family events, such as weddings and moving to a new house. Some also exchange tteok with each other on special days, such as Valentine's Day, instead of chocolate or candy.

Around Valentine's Day, Korean companies release various charming types of rice cake, such as heart-shaped tteok, baekseolgi (steamed white rice cake) with strawberries or other fresh fruit, and chocolate tteok cake. Mujigae tteok (rainbow-colored tteok), made by coloring rice with other natural ingredients such as sweet pumpkin and purple sweet potato, is also perfect as gift. Honey-filled tteok and chapssal-tteok (glutinous rice cake) make a good present for friends and family members.

Various types of colorful hangwa (traditional Korean sweets and cookies) are popular as a gift on national holidays and anniversaries. Due to their luxurious packaging, soft mouthfeel, and convenient bite size, they are loved by the elderly.

* Tip!
Korean tteok franchise brands, such as Bizeun and Yedason, have advanced overseas and are actively promoting their products and Korean tteok culture. Hangwa is exported to the US, Japan, and other countries. It is also available on Alibaba, the largest online market in China.

Park Sung Eun  parkse@agrinet.co.kr

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