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Food

Ultimate summer food and sake pairing: Part 1

What do the brewers pick for food to match with their sake?
The other day, I was at an event at Takara, Yurakucho, where ten breweries from all around Japan brought their sake and their local food that’s in season. They plan to have similar events every throughout the year in Tokyo.

The ten breweries were:
1. Koshi-no-kanchubai from Niigata
2. Tsukasa Botan from Kochi
3. Masumi from Nagano
4. Sawanoi from Tokyo
5. Kaika from Tochigi
6. Wakaebi from Mie
7. Urakasumi from Miyagi
8. Gokyo from Yamaguchi
9. Tenju from Akita
10. Umenishiki from Ehime

Map of Japan to see where these 10 prefectures are.

I thought the food list gives you some ideas where they are located just by looking at what they brought, such as by the ocean or in the mountains, as well as some paring ideas when you enjoy these bottles next time. My favorite match? I am so biased, but I will quietly add my favorite at the end.

So, hope you enjoy! Also, since it’s a bit too long to add everything in one post, I will make the post into two. Please check back for the part two!

1. Koshi-no-kanchubai, Niigata with edamame, Yuagari bijin

Edamame is such a versatile dish that goes with anything. Yuagari bijin, which means “a pretty woman fresh from the bath”, accurately depicts this steamy tasty dish. The rather tame sake was such nice match with the full flavored edamame.

2. Tsukasa Botan, Kochi with Katsuo-no-tataki

Katsuo was caught the day before and smoked with straw. Subtle smoky flavor, sliced garlic, and salt sprinkled over the thickly sliced meaty seared fish is very nice. Dry Senchu Hassaku turns so sweet following a morsel of katsuo.

3. Masumi, Nagano with vegetables from the kurabito fields

Kuramoto or the brewer was saying since they have any coastline in Nagano, they settled for these summer vegetables from their kurabito‘s farm. Grilled asparagus, corn, lightly sauteed celery were so earthy and added very nice touch to the otherwise fish-centric night.

4. Sawanoi, Tokyo with Tokyo X Pork kakuni

I was curious what their food – sake match was going to be. As the name indicates, the Tokyo X breed of pig was developed here in Tokyo. Three lines of pig were combined to create the fatty, tasty, piggy belly they then cooked in sweet soy sauce until it was just so soft and went perfectly with their very dry sake.

5. Kaika, Tochigi with Nasu-no-shirobijin-negi

People must love pretty women for vegetable naming! This “fair beauty” negi from the Nasu area of Tochigi. Just a stick of negi dipped in salty miso was the attractive companion for their floral bottle.

To be continued….

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