Tokyo Jizake Strolling (the very hectic month of December)

By Ryuji Takahashi
I continue to push myself despite feeling exhausted during the month of December, a busy and hectic month with no chance to rest until the new year. First on the schedule is the in-store sales event for Kondo Brewery (Kondo Shuzo Co., Ltd.) in Gunma prefecture. I happened to have new freshly squeezed sake, so I held the in-store sales event to sell the new sake and Junmai Ginjo “Kurobi” brewed using a centrifugal separator, winner of the Gold prize during the New York World Wine & Spirits Convention, over two days in the bitter cold weather.       
Kondo Brewery is the producer of the sake brand “Akagiyama.” Their flagship product is the Honjozo “Akagiyama Dry,” seemingly available in convenience stores, drug stores, and many stores that sell daily necessities. Seventy to eighty percent of this sake is consumed locally in Gunma prefecture, while seasonal and special sake are often not released in other prefectures. In Tokyo, only two stores including my own store deal directly with the brewery. At our store, customers from Gunma prefecture buy this sake product in bulk. 
The first day of the sales event concluded with an evening banquet at the brewery with lively discussions about sake, audio, and vehicles. The following week, I attended “An evening of Italian cuisine with sake” at the Italian restaurant “Karibe-tei.” Surprisingly, the event was attended by a record number of guests who feasted on luxury food ingredients such as lobster, shirako (soft roe), calf, and fresh oysters with eighteen sake bottles - nine different sake brands of two bottles each - the highest number of bottles consumed to date. The concluding dish was the bubbling Champagne Risotto. Guests took photos and videos of the bubbling Champagne Risotto.        
 The last collaborative event of the year featuring Italian cuisine ended successfully. I hosted the year-end hot pot dinner event with unrestricted time and appetizers brought by guests the following week. The final week consisted of three in-store sales events at Kanemasu Brewery in Niigata prefecture on the 28th, Hakuro Sake Brewery Co., Ltd. in Niigata prefecture on the 29th, and Nihonsakari Co., Ltd. in Hyogo prefecture on the 30th, leading into the New Year’s Eve sales event, the busiest event of the year.   
I was writing this article mid-December without encountering any major issue. I felt rushed to finish all my work before the end of the year, as I have many events and business trips scheduled in 2024. I feel deeply grateful for this past year that ended without any major injury or illness affecting my business, and for all the many customers who supported my business this year. I look forward to another year of sake fans consuming a lot of sake in 2024. 

#alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #tokyo


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (2023 Beaujolais Nouveau release party)

By Ryuji Takahashi

The 2023 Beaujolais Nouveau was released on November 16. I am sure many of our readers are familiar with this wine, so to explain simply, Beaujolais Nouveau is a new wine pressed in the Burgundy region of southeastern Paris, France. Due to the time difference, Japan gets to enjoy the 2023 Beaujolais Nouveau sooner than France, which made this wine popular. The release date is set to ensure the wine quality.  
The release date of Beaujolais Nouveau is set to prevent consumers who prefer to taste the wine (flavor not yet adjusted) as soon as possible from influencing the wine rating. This year, I headed over to restaurant “Takuan Botantei” in Western Nishi-Shinjuku again to attend the Beaujolais Nouveau release party. 
This year, we sampled the “Mommessin” Beaujolais Nouveau, a renowned wine brand from central Beaujolais, pressed from grapes harvested using a sustainable agricultural method and minimal pesticides by a long-established winery with over one hundred years of history. 
The fruity flavor of Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau exudes a fresh aroma, light in body with a lively fresh palate characteristic of Nouveau. With a light snack, the flavor can be enjoyed for a long time without getting tired of the flavor. By light snack, I mean Sukiyaki served at “Takuan Botantei.” On this day, guests savored the delicious umami flavor of Sukiyaki as each guest enjoyed at least one bottle each. 
As empty wine bottles lined the table, the tipsy hostess started performing her annual “kappore” dance (traditional Japanese comic dance), followed by a live flamenco performance by professional musicians and dancers. Finally, the event concluded with the song “Kiyoshiro Imawano,” accompanied by a shamisen performance by the hostess with Flamenco guitar and guests who sang along. Drunk guests sang using a spoon to substitute for a microphone. The release party ended as guests laughed out loud.     
The Beaujolais Nouveau release party ended with many guests smiling after savoring a lot of wine with entertainment. The wine transported by air from France was well served by guests who savored and cherished this product. When I was younger, I had no interest in Beaujolais Nouveau to be frank. Now that I know how fun the release party is, I wish I had started enjoying this wine sooner. As I received monaka (wafer filled with bean jam) as a souvenir and headed home, I imagined the fields of Beaujolais and enjoyed the aftertaste of this wonderful wine on my way home.  
#BeaujolaisNouveau #alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #wine


The flavor and fragrance of sake

Sake tasting typically starts by evaluating the color. Most sake products sold today are colorless. Sake brewed today is pressed, decanted, and then filtered further. Fine particles are completely removed before pasteurization and storage. Generally, activated carbon is used for filtration, which fades the color that remained when fermentation-mash was squeezed. By the way, activated carbon is used not to fade the color, but to adjust the fragrance and prevent coloring, bacterial contamination, and excessive aging.   
Sake generates color to some extent, although the color differs. Several factors that generate color in sake are mostly attributed to the ingredients – rice, koji mold, yeast, and water. Color is a natural phenomenon that does not influence the quality of sake, other than high iron content in water that produces a reddish brown color in sake. “Amber,” “golden,” or “bright yellow” sake were deemed valuable until filtration started in the Taisho Era (1912-1926). Even today, these three phrases are used during sake tasting.   
Also, at a time when sake was brewed and stored in wooden buckets, the sake color was praised along with the fragrance of wood. Therefore, despite the use of cedar buckets at the time, a piece of Yoshino cedar was commonly added to store sake.  
The use of activated carbon to filter sake started in the early Showa Era (1926-1989). However, one theory claims the reason is attributable to the production of Ginjo sake that flourished at the time. Active carbon was used to reduce the color of sake since sake competitions at the time tended to rate light colored sake highly. Since light-bodied sake tends to be favored recently, the general impression is that high-quality sake is nearly colorless.   
Therefore, other than sake stored long-term, degradation must be suspected in general sake sold with a yellowish tint, not due to the color of the sake itself. In such cases, many sake products are not stored correctly, thus exposed to sunlight, which impacts the flavor. However, this is not the case for cask sake or aged sake. If sake is stored in cedar containers like cask sake, fungi and bacteria in the cedar can elute into the sake and generate color. Also, the longer sake is stored, the darker the color generated. Therefore, sake aged for ten years is typically amber or bright yellow.  

きき酒ではまず色を見ることになっているが、実は現在市販されている日本酒の大半は、ほとんど色がついていないといっていい。現在の日本酒は、上槽・滓引きの後さらに濾過して、微細な固形物を完全に除去してから火入れ・貯蔵されるが、一般に、この濾過の際に活性炭を使用するため、もろみを搾った段階ではついていた色が脱色されてしまうからである。ちなみに、活性炭使用の目的は脱色だけではなく、香味の調整や着色の防止、 火落ち防止、過熟防止などの意義もある。 
活性炭を使って濾過するようになったのは昭和初期頃からとされるが、その理由は、当時盛んになっていた吟醸酒造りにあったという説がある。当時、品評会では色の薄い酒が高く評価される傾向があったため、活性炭によって色を抜くようになったというのである。最近はとくに淡麗な 酒質が好まれる傾向にあるから、ほとんど無色に近い酒が良質の日本酒というイメージが出来上がっているともいえよう。 
したがって、現在市販されている一般の日本酒で長期貯蔵酒以外に黄色く見えるものは、酒自体の色ではなく、変質による着色を疑ったほうがよい。多くは保管状態が悪く、日光に当たって着色してしまったものだからで、味にも影響があるはずだという。 ただし、樽酒と古酒に関しては別で、樽酒のように杉材の容器に貯蔵した場合は、杉材のテルペン類(菌類や細菌)が酒の中に溶出して薄く着色することがある。 また、日本酒は貯蔵を経るほど色を増すから、10年物ともなると、琥珀色や山吹色になっている。 
#alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #saketasting


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (World Sake Day)

By Ryuji Takahashi

The Japanese celebrate World Sake Day on October 1, marked with various sake events organized nationwide. October 1 is designated as World Sake Day for several reasons. Traditionally, the sake brewing season started in October and continued until September the following year. Therefore, the sake brewing year traditionally started on October 1. 

According to the Chinese zodiac cycle, the rooster is the tenth of twelve animals. Therefore, October is designated as the “Year of the Rooster,” read as “tori” in Japanese, but originally a pictograph indicating the shape of a pot, indicative of sake. October is traditionally the time to harvest new rice, now shifting due to global warming. Therefore, this explanation will no longer be valid to explain why October 1 is designated as World Sake Day.       

Anyway, various sake events are organized throughout Japan to celebrate World Sake Day. I overheard several colleagues questioning not doing anything to celebrate World Sake Day as professionals in the sake industry and decided to help revitalize my local community by arranging the sake specialty shop I manage to collaborate with Taiwanese restaurant “Seventh Son Restaurant,” in the same commercial district, to organize a sake tasting event.    

“Seventh Son Restaurant” serves authentic Taiwanese cuisine in Fudo-dori Shotengai, a commercial district in the Hatsudai district of Shibuya ward, Tokyo; celebrating thirty years in business. Mr. Lin, the owner, is a former soldier of the Taiwanese Army turned chef. His restaurant is featured in various TV segments, such as the entertainment show “Lunch ON!” on NHK World that introduces lunches enjoyed by Japanese businessmen and workers nationwide. 





#NHK #WorldSakeDay #alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #tokyo


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (an evening of Italian cuisine with sake)

By Ryuji Takahashi

The scorching summer heat just started to ease slightly in Tokyo, yet still too hot to change out of short sleeved shirts in early September, when the “Fourth evening of Italian cuisine and sake” was held at Italian restaurant Karibetei in the Shimokitazawa district of Setagaya ward. Reservations instantly fill to capacity for this very popular event organized once roughly every three months. Seasonal ingredients and sake are selected for each event. For this latest event, fall and summer sake selections were mixed with products available year-round and some fall ingredients to serve many delicious dishes to the guests’ hearts’ content. 

Since the summer heat was still scorching, the course served started with Chilled Peach Soup Topped with Prosciutto, Chilled Bagna Cauda Bagna Freida, and Horse Carpaccio shipped directly from Kumamoto prefecture – horse loin and mane are chewed thoroughly together the local way. Afterwards, Uni (sea urchin) and Fruit Tomato Salad concluded the first half of the course, followed by fall seasonal dishes such as Oven-baked Sarde a Beccafio, Mackerel Pike Sicilian Spaghetti, and Beef Tagliata. As we started to feel full, the meal concluded with Champagne Risotto.     

Champagne Risotto is prepared by pouring champagne with risotto lined around it in the center of a pot. The simmering champagne mixes with risotto, complete with cheese sprinkled at the end, a very interesting feast for the eyes as well.  Lastly, watermelon was served as dessert and the satisfying meal concluded with every stomach full. 

The courses were served with four sake selections from Niigata prefecture -  the well carbonated “SHUKUFUKU Yellow Label” by Sasaiwai Brewery (Niigata prefecture), summer sake “Hakuro Junmai Daiginjo” by Hakuro Brewery (Niigata prefecture), an autumn sake with a lasting aftertaste, “Hiyaoroshi Junmai Daiginjo Takarazukushi” by Kanemasu Brewery (Niigata prefecture), and “Cowboy Yamahai” by Shiokawa Sake Brewery Co. (Niigata prefecture). The four sake selections from Niigata prefecture were followed by two satisfying bottles of sake, the full-bodied and crisp “Honshu-ichi Muroka-Junmai-Ginjo” by Umeda Sake Brewery (Hiroshima prefecture), and the deeply flavorful “Akagisan Junmai Hiyaoroshi” by Kondo Shuzo Co. (Gunma prefecture), concluded with slightly sweet and fruity sake selections such as “Nagatoro Junmai Daiginjo” by Fujisaki Sobe Shoten (Saitama prefecture) and “Ichinomiya TANE Draft” by Ichinomiya Sake Brewing (Shimane prefecture), totaling eight sake selections served two bottles each, totaling sixteen sake bottles consumed in two and a half hours.  

A lot of preparation is needed for this event, but seeing satisfied participants heading home is the motivation to keep going, said Chef Karibe. Participants of various ages in their twenties to sixties attended. The speed at which the food and sake disappeared was incredible. The next event is planned around November. We look forward to seeing the smiles of many participants as they get comfortably tipsy. 


 真夏の厳しい暑さが少しだけやわらぎ始めたが、まだまだ半袖から衣替えは出来ない9月の頭に、「第四回イタリアンと日本酒の夕べ」が世田谷区下北沢のイタリア料理店かりべ亭で開催された。この企画は毎回好評で予約もあっという間に埋まる会で、だいたい3か月に1回のペースで開催されている。毎回季節の食材や酒に特化して行われるのだが、今回は秋の酒・夏の酒・通年商品を混在させ、食材も少しだけ秋を意識して、後はとにかく美味い料理を沢山食べて欲しいというコンセプトだった。まだまだ暑い日が続いていたので、料理は冷たい桃のスープ生ハム乗せから始まり、冷たいバーニャカウダのバーニャフレッダ、熊本直送の馬肉のカルパッチョはロースとたてがみを同時に口に入れてよく噛んで食べるといった熊本スタイル。その後、雲丹とフルーツトマトの冷菜と冷たい前半が終わり、オーブンで焼いた鰯のベッカフィーゴ、秋刀魚のシチリア風スパゲッティと秋の雰囲気の料理が進み、牛肉のタリアータでお腹も膨らんできたところで、締めのシャンパンリゾット。このシャンパンリゾットは鍋の中心にシャンパンを置き周りにリゾットを敷き詰め、吹き出したシャンパンがリゾットと混ざり、最後にチーズをかけて完成という見た目にも面白いリゾットである。そしてデザートにスイカを食べてお腹いっぱいで終了。そんな料理に合わせる日本酒は新潟笹祝酒造のガス感の強いスパークリング「祝吹イエローラベル多酸」、新潟の柏露酒造の夏酒、「柏露純米大吟醸生囲い」、新潟金升酒造の落ち着いた秋酒、「ひやおろし 純米大吟醸 宝づくし」、新潟塩川酒造の「願人山廃純米」と新潟が4種、広島梅田酒造場のボディ感の中にキレのある「本洲一無濾過純米吟醸」、群馬近藤酒造の味わい深い「赤城山純米ひやおろし」と飲みごたえがある2本に続き、埼玉藤崎宗兵衛商店の「長瀞蔵純米吟醸瓶火入れ」、島根県一宮酒造の「壱呑屋TANE生酒」とやや甘めでフルーティな酒の全8種類×2本の16本が2時間半でほぼ無くなってしまった。とにかく準備が大変な会なのだが、参加者が皆大満足で帰ってくれるのが、続けていける原動力になっていると苅部シェフは語る。参加者も20代から60代と幅が広い中で、あっという間に料理と酒が消えていく光景は圧巻である。次回は多分11月頃の予定だが、また沢山の参加者と笑顔と酔っ払いに期待したい。
#alljapannews #italian #italianrestaurant #japanese #japanesesake #jizake #sake #tokyo


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (Small and Medium-Size Enterprises Summit) 

By Ryuji Takahashi

Tokyo officially welcomed summer in July. I exhibited a booth to showcase sake at a social gathering during the Small and Medium-Size Enterprises Summit 2023 (The 28th Tokyo Management Research Conference), as requested by the All Japan Committee of the Associations of Small-and Medium-Size Enterprises that aids small and medium-sized business owners to interact with owners of companies in other industries to encourage members to consult with each other, study together, and create competitive companies and business environments.

Approximately thirty branch offices by region are normally active, mostly within their branch offices. Once a year, however, a branch office in Tokyo gathers to rent out the thirtieth floor of the Shinjuku NS building and invite approximately 300 members to participate, deepen friendships, and learn together during the Small and Medium-Size Enterprises Summit.  

Various study sessions and seminars are held throughout the day that concludes with a social gathering. I was requested to exhibit and serve sake to share my expertise on sake during this social gathering. I was grateful for this opportunity as I had no lecture or exhibit at large-scale events to attend due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Shinjuku NS Building was close by, only fifteen minutes from my sake shop. 

I prepared ten 1,800 ml bottles of summer sake products and arranged for a sales representative to bring Nagatoro Gura by Fujisaki Sobei Shoten as the special sake of the day and entered the venue. In the largest conference room on the thirtieth floor was a large booth prepared as the main feature of the social gathering. I was surprised by the large scale of this social gathering, but also felt excitement I hadn’t felt in a while.   

Guests gradually started to fill the venue and the social gathering kicked off at 6:00 PM. Bottled beer was placed at each buffet-style table where guests were seated, with catered snacks placed at the center of the venue. Wary to approach the catered snacks at first, a crowd quickly formed where I introduced ten brands of sake products as I poured glasses.  

I glanced over my shoulder to see a crowd gather before the sake brewery and sake booths packed with guests, who asked questions about sake and my sake shop with some questions directed at me, which helped to advertise our business effectively. This opportunity helped me to observe and gather data on which sake guests select at first glance based on introductions, which sake captivated the guests’ attention, and sample repeatedly, valuable information for future product development with sake breweries. The executive director who organized this event seemed pleased, and the exhibit ended with success. I returned to the shop, cleaned up, and happily headed out for a drink to celebrate.  




#alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #tokyo


Containers to enjoy Japanese sake 

Sake brewing techniques developed rapidly in temples during the Muromachi period (1336-1573). Afterwards, sake brewing techniques spread to Nara city and Kyoto city, the main sake brewing centers at the time, then nationwide. One sake brewery after another sprung up in rice production regions and locations where rice is easy to obtain, along with quality water and soil, and in commercial districts where sake is consumed in high volumes. 

As sake consumption increased, so did beautiful containers created to pour and savor sake. 

The term sakazuki, or sake cup, is derived from the phrase “cup to serve sake,” with up to fifty-one characters to describe this object. An essential container to enjoy sake, various containers have been created since ancient times. 

Sake cups like the modern cups today were said to have been created around the Asuka period (592~710). Unglazed earthenware created by turning a pottery wheel from mainland China was placed before the altar as offerings. Earthenware sake cups gradually became obsolete from the mid-Heian period (794~1185) to the Kamakura period (1185-1333). At the same time, the lacquerware technique evolved during this period, and lacquerware sake cups started to become widespread.           

During the Muromachi period (1336-1573), samurai warriors practiced formalities during banquets serving sake. As the rules of socialization became widely practiced, lacquerware sake cups became widely used. Large lacquerware sake cups were essential for the feudal lord and vassal to pass around a single sake cup. These lacquerware sake cups are named according to the volume as follows: The “Itsukushima” is a 900 ml cup, “Kamakura” is a 1,260 ml cup, “Ejima” is an 1,800 ml cup, “Manjunuryou” is a 2,700 ml cup, “Mounokame” is a 4,500 ml cup, and the “Tanchozuru” is a 5,400 ml cup.    

Lacquerware sake cups were used early into the Edo period (1603-1867). As Seto porcelain became widespread nationwide since the Bunka period (1804~1814), porcelain “sake cups” started to be used exclusively at the same time.   

Also, “large sake cups” slightly smaller than the small sake cup came a little later. Sake cups and large sake cups were vessels used to serve food, repurposed as sake cups.     

Novelty sake cups emerged later during the Edo period (1603-1867). Some sake cups are pointed at the bottom or have small holes open to ensure the sake is finished before the sake cup is placed back on the table. On the other hand, the “horse-loading sake cup” is a large porcelain cup with very long legs, held to drink sake from the cup on top of the horse. However, this sake cup appears to have been a decorative cup. Also, glass sake cups and bottles emerged during this period, but mostly did not become widespread. In fact, glass sake cups and bottles became widespread only recently.  





サカズキは「酒杯」(酒を盛る器)に由来する言葉で、それを表す文字は 51字にも及ぶという。酒を飲むのに欠かせない容器であり、古代からさまざまなものが作られてきた。 


江戸時代に入っても、『寛政見聞記』に「酒の器は鉄銚子塗盃に限りたる」 とあるように、漆器の盃が用いられていたが、文化年間(1804~14)頃から瀬戸磁器が全国に広まると同時に、磁器の「猪ロ」がもっぱら盃として用いられるようになった。また、やや遅れて猪ロよりも小ぶりの「ぐい呑み」が現れた。猪ロやぐい呑みは、和え物などの料理を盛る器として用いられていた器で、それが盃に転用されたのである。 


#flavor #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sakazuki #sake #sakekit


Sake Consumption during the Showa Period (1926-1989)

However, the quality of Japanese sake was reviewed in the late 1960s, and consumers crusaded to demand the content of sake be labeled, as sake brewers started to actively brew “Honjozo” and “Junmai” sake.  

Also, the assignment of quota on sake rice was abolished, and various sake similar to wine and carbonated sake were released. Since enjoying peak sales in the late 1960s, sake sales slumped due to the increasing popularity of whiskey, beer, wine, and shochu. Although sake consumption is declining in Japan, each sake producer is engaging in various efforts to improve quality and diversify containers, while releasing a line-up of various sake products such as draft sake and Ginjo sake to increase sales. 

Adding preservatives to sake was banned in 1983, and The Sake Grading System of Japan was ended in April 1992. Since then, premium sake such as Daiginjo sake and Ginjo sake became mainstream and local sake increased in popularity. As more Japanese restaurants opened overseas, the sake boom was ignited in the U.S. Sake sales in the U.S. market, where many consumers enjoy wine, transition around ten percent in growth rate each year.   




#alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake


Tokyo Jizake Strolling: (Sake Nagatoro Gura Paired with Teppanyaki)

By Ryuji Takahashi

The rainy season started in Tokyo. Just when the rain was expected to continue, the weather suddenly turned scorching hot. Whether it’s rainy or sunny, an umbrella ultimately comes in handy in early summer, when teppanyaki and izakaya restaurant “Teppan” in the Nakano ward of Tokyo held a pairing event serving teppanyaki cuisine paired with sake from the Fujisaki Sobei Shoten Sake Brewery based in Nagatoro town, Saitama prefecture.  

As reported previously, Fujisaki Sobei Shoten Sake Brewery brewed sake in collaboration with merchants from Omni (modern-day Hino town, Gamo district of Shiga prefecture) and master sake brewers? from the Echigo province (modern-day Niigata prefecture). The brewery eventually relocated to Nagatoro town, Saitama prefecture to access pure water used to mainly brew small volumes of “Nagatoro Gura” - a fragrant, non-filtered, and unprocessed sake.  

Sake “Nagotoro Gura” was noticed by the owner of teppanyaki and izakaya restaurant “Teppan” in Tokyo, the venue of the pairing event. On this day, a sales representative of Fujisaki Sobei Shoten Sake Brewery elaborated on the sake product, followed by a special full-course dinner prepared by a renowned chef at a Japanese restaurant, where first-time customers (not referred to the restaurant by regular patrons) are turned away. 

The special full-course dinner started with two appetizers, “Tofu Paste with Fruits” and “Seasonal Vegetables Marinated in a Spicy Sauce,” followed by “Oyama Fried Chicken with Apricot Chutney,” “Cod Meuniere and New Potato Potage,” “Gyoza Dumpling filled with Minced Duck and Crown Daisy, served with Coconut Vinegar Soy Sauce,” “Kure’s Navy Style Braised Beef and Potatoes with Tomato Farcies,” “Okonomiyaki (prepared specially for this event) with Musashi Barley Pork,” all delicious menu selections that compliment the flavor of sake. Lastly, the meal concluded with dessert, “Monaka Catalana with Sake Lees Sauce.” I later learned the owner personally headed to Nagatoro town to purchase produce and other ingredients other than meat that further enhances the paired flavors.     

This thoughtfully prepared menu was paired with four sake selections: “Nagatoro Gura Non-filtered Unprocessed Cloudy Sake” with sufficient carbonation, “Nagatoro Gura Junmai Ginjo Non-filtered Unprocessed Sake” with fragrances of apple and pear, “Nagatoro Junmai Non-filtered Unprocessed Sake” with refreshing fragrances of banana and pineapple, and “Nagatoro Pasteurized Junmai” with a gentle fragrance capitalizing on the characteristics of sake rice Sake Musashi, harvested in Saitama prefecture. 

The sake selections that pair well with fruits and vegetables left a refreshing aftertaste, even after the meat dishes were finished. Guests seemed quite content from enjoying sake products by Nagatoro Gura Fujisaki Sobei Shoten Sake Brewery, not readily available outside of Saitama prefecture; paired with delicious cuisine prepared by a renowned chef at a Japanese restaurant, where first-time customers (not referred to the restaurant by regular patrons) are turned away. 



#alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #tokyo


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (Evening of Italian Cuisine Paired with Japanese sake)

By Ryuji Takahashi

Just when humidity was first detected in the air in Tokyo, Italian restaurant “Karibe-tei” in Shimokitazawa district (introduced in a previous issue) hosted the event, “Third Evening of Italian Cuisine Paired with Japanese Sake.”    

The theme of the cuisine for this event was “early summer,” consisting of: ① Mozzarella Burrata and Prosciutto, ② Sicilian-style Eggplant Caponata, ③ Kirishima Chicken and Celery Wrapped and Deep-fried in Pate Brick, ④ Yellowtail Grilled Tapenade Sauce from Kagoshima Prefecture, ⑤ Dried Mullet Roe and Pistachio Pasta from Sardegna, ⑥ Beef Skirt and Bavette Steak, ⑦ Duck and Foie Gras Risotto, and ⑧ Vanilla Ice Cream with Strawberry Grappa Flambé. 

Japanese sake served during this event were selected for their refreshing flavors suitable for the rainy season from late spring through summer as follows: ① “Shukufuku Yellow-label,” a new series of sparkling sake released by Sasaiwai Brewery that took two years of trial-and-error to produce, including the sample sake product. Opening the seal released fine foams that raised the sediments sunken to the bottom of the bottle of this beautiful, milky-white, cloudy sparkling sake. Guests toasted with Shukufuku sparkling sake to kick-off the event, followed by ② “Takizawa Junmai-Ginjo Draft” and ③ “Hiya-live Storage Sake” by Shinsyu Meijyo Brewery, ④ “Sanzui Junmai Daiginjo Unfiltered Unprocessed Sake” and ⑤ “Hakuro Junmai Daiginjo” by Hakuro Shuzo, ⑥ “Nagatoro Junmai Unfiltered Unprocessed Sake” by Fujisaki Sobei Shoten, and ⑦ “Kamakiri-shouzu Junmai” by Kanemasu Brewery, a total of seven different categories of sake in fifteen 720 ml bottles, all from Fujisake Sobei Shoten Sake Brewery 

This event was attended by fifteen guests, with each guest calculated to enjoy one 720 ml bottle of sake. The real thrill of this event was to ensure each guest was stuffed with delicious cuisine and enjoyed a nice buzz on their way home. The guests varied in age from their twenties into their sixties, all fans of Italian cuisine and sake, who hyped up the event. It’s surprising every time this event is held how each tipsy guest never gets into any trouble on their way home. We’re truly blessed. This event, organized without any regard to profit or loss, is so popular among guests that the guests beg organizers to raise their participation fee to ensure the event will continue well into the future.  

From the operation side, removing any concern for profit rate and financial state, etc., allows chefs and service providers to prioritize seeing the smiles of satisfied customers as their top priority. Hearing genuine feedback from customers who love to eat and drink sake helps professionals capitalize on the motivational benefit of getting back to the basics. Not to sound too altruistic, but there aren’t sufficient resources to hold this event multiple times a year. Although it’s not yet known when the next event will be organized, we hope fans of Italian cuisine and Japanese sake will look forward to it.   


 東京が湿気を空気に感じ始めた頃、以前も紹介した下北沢に有るイタリア料理店「かりべ亭」にて第三回イタリアンと日本酒の夕べというイベントが行われた。今回は「初夏」をキーワードに料理は、①モツァレラブラータと生ハム、②シチリア風茄子のカポナータ、③霧島地鶏とセロリのパートブリック包み揚げ、④鹿児島県産活みやび勘八のグリルタプナードソース、⑤サルディーニャ産からすみとピスタチオのスパゲティ、⑥牛ハラミのバベットステーキ、⑦鴨とフォアグラのリゾット、⑧苺のグラッパフランベをかけたバニラアイスクリームの全八品。日本酒は、①笹祝酒造が試作品も含めて2年間、数多のトライ&エラーを繰り返しながらようやくたどり着いたスパークリング日本酒の新シリーズ「祝吹・イエローラベル多酸」。抜栓をすることで瓶底に沈んだオリがきめ細かな泡によって持ちあがり、見た目的にも乳白色が美しい泡酒である。この祝吹を乾杯酒として、②③長野信州銘醸「瀧澤 純米吟醸生酒」「ひや 生貯蔵原酒」、④⑤新潟柏露酒造「さんずい 純米大吟醸無濾過生原酒」「柏露 純米大吟醸生囲い」、⑥埼玉藤崎宗兵衛商店「長瀞 純米直汲み無濾過生原酒」、⑦新潟金升酒造「カマキリショウズ 呑み切り純米」、の全七種類720ml瓶で15本、全て梅雨から夏にさっぱり飲める酒を用意した。参加人数は15名なので一人4合瓶1本が飲める計算で、お腹いっぱいになってもらい、しっかり酔っぱらって帰ってもらうのがこのイベントの醍醐味である。参加者の年齢層も幅広く20代から60代までのイタリアン好きで酒好きな人達が集まり大いに盛り上がった。毎回、泥酔者でトラブルが起こらないのが不思議なくらい参加者に恵まれている会だと思う。利益度外視のこの会は参加者から心配になるから参加費を上げてくれと頼まれるくらい高評価を得ている。運営側としては日々頭の中でモヤモヤしている利益率や経営状態などを頭の中から外すことにより、お客様の満足した笑顔で料理人やサービスマンとしての初心に戻り、食べるのが好きで酒飲むのが好きな人達の本音を聞くことにより、自分たちをもう一度原点に戻し見直すという大きい心の利益を獲得しているのである。などとカッコ良い事を言っているが、当然年に何度も出来る程余裕があるわけではない。次回はいつになるか解らないが、イタリアンと日本酒好きには是非期待していて欲しい。
#alljapannews #italianfood #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #tokyo


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