Shizuoka sake Tasting: The Last Bottle? Yoshiya Brewery-Chuumasa Daiginjo

Almost two years ago the owner of Yoshiya Brewery in Shizuoka City invoked the retirement of his Brewmaster, Mr. Haruki Nakajima from the Nanbu School in Iwate Prefecture, as a reason to stop production and sell his license to the new Brewery in town called Suruga Brewery. The truth is that his wife had wanted him to leave the trade for a long time and develop their big property into a large apartment building.. (How do I know that? She told me in person during an interview!)
The whole 250 years old brewery has disappeared from the surface of the earth to leave way to ugly development, but fortunately Suruga Brewery not only bought all the sake created by Masterbrewer Haruki Nakajima with the license but also continued using the brand names of Chuumasa, Abekaidou and Onigoroshi!

Suruga Brewery bottled this Chuumasa sake created by Brewmaster Haruki Nakajima in 2007 in November 2011!
Unfortunately I already know that it has been practically sold out…

Rice: Yamada Nishiki from Hyogo Prefecture
Rice milled down to 40%
Brewmaster: Haruki Nakajima (Nanbu School)
Dryness: + 5
Acidity: 1.3
Alcohol: 16~17 degrees
Brewed in 2007
Bottled in November 2011

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Very faint golden hue
Aroma: Fruity and elegant. Pears, oranges.
Body: Fluid
Taste: Fruity and liquorish.
Complex with pleasant alcohol attack (practically a genshu).
Oranges, almonds, pears, dark chocolate and coffee beans
Elegant and softer than expected in spite of its high alcohol content.
Quickly disappears.
Gets drier with food with a big kick from the alcohol.
Tends to make a sweet comeback with more oranges away from food.
Surprisingly marries well with any food.

Overall: Very elegant sake.
Complex and ever pleasant.
A rarity in the sense that it is a daiginjo that ladies should find to their liking for its soft approach in spite of the high alcohol content.
Unfortunately a sake masterpiece that will live in the past…

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

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Today’s Bento/Lunch Box (12/04): Hambaagu Bento!

The Japanese make the difference between “hamburger” and “hamburger steak” by calling the normal hamburger with buns “hambaagaa” and hamburger steaks served without the buns “hambaagu”. The difference in pronunciation is minimal, while the difference in presentation is significant!

The Missus kept the rice box both simple and colorful.
Having steamed she rice she just mixed it with salad beans bought in packs at the local supermarket.

Talking of colors there were plenty more in side box!

The hambaagu/patties are another Missus’ secret although I know she includes crunchy red onion in them which makes for a very tasty bite.
Having seasoned them with her own tomato and vegetables sauce she placed them on lettuce with French pickles.

The salads consisted of one made with white and violet potatoes from her family’s garden topped with black olive and the other of fried green pepper and cabbage seasoned with gomadare/sesame dressing.

For dessert she added local mini tomatoes and green kiwi fruit!

Very colorful, tasty and satisfying!
I could have called this Bento “Mini American Bento”?

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass, Einfach Bento,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Bread: Shizuoka Agricultural High School Mari Ishiguro wins Consecutive First Prize at 6th National High School Bread Contest!

Mari Ishiguro/石黒茉莉さん established a record by winning her second consecutive First Prize at the 6th National High School Bread Contest fielding 176 participants from all over Japan!
On the 21st and 22nd of January 2012 the 6th National High School Bread Contest took place in the City of Izu No Kuni in the Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka Prefecture!
Mari who had won last year’s contest with a “Toma Kara Feuille”/”Tomato Mille-Feuilles” did it again with a ‘Toma Kan Pan” creation!

The concept of the bread was indeed an interesting combination of European and Asian cuisines:
“Toma” stands for “tomato” as dried ones were extensively used.
Note that tomatoes were a prerequisite ingredient in submitted recipes as the Government is actively promoting the culture of this vegetable!
“Kan” stands for “kanten/寒天/agar agar” in Japanese with which the bread was coated!
“Pan” stands for bread in Japanese.

Mari Ishiguro is a third year student at the Shizuoka Prefectural Agricultural High School and will graduate next month before attending Cooking College in Tokyo.
The bread might be small but it took no less than 5 hours to prepare and bake!

Cross section of a frozen sample

Creating the bread with a dough surrounding another dough containing dried tomatoes and walnuts took 3 and a half hours, while the coating with agar agar took an hour. Add to this 35 minutes for baking, the whole work took no less than 5 hours!
According to Mari, this year’s concept was totally different from last year’s approach as she wanted to create a bread/cake that could be appreciated chilled.
Moreover, instead of using water in the dough she utilized the natural juice of real tomatoes.
She also compensated the astringency with cocoa powder.
Finally she topped the bread with dried tomatoes before baking it!
She agreed that her “bread” was more a dessert than anything else!

All this creative work was made possible under the teaching of her Bakery Teacher, Tetsuya Ishida/石田哲也!
Mari and her teacher (and all the students and their students) have the chance to belong to a very progressive high school by Japanese standards which emphazises vocational studies above all!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

French Desserts with Shizuoka Products at Pissenlit in Shizuoka City!

Service: Excellent and very friendly.
Facilities: Great cleanliness overall. Superb washroom (mouthwash and toothpicks provided!)!
Prices: Reasonable to slightly expensive, very good value.
Strong points: Interesting wine list. Great use of local products, especially organic vegetables and Shizuoka-bred meat.

Chef Toru Arima/有馬亨さん at Pissenlit in Shizuoka City is not only famous for its great use of local vegetables and fruit but also for his exquisitely balanced desserts created with local products!

Once again the other day saw an embarrassment of choices!
What did we order?

The Missus wanted something light and refreshing so she opted for the chilled strawberry soup!
Shizuoka Prefecture is known all over Japan for its superlative strawberries!
Having access to such fresh and high quality fruit is truly extravagant in this country!

Strawberries were served over a transparent luscious jelly with strawberry coulis generously poured over them to be completed with a spoonful of sophisticated strawberry sorbet and organic mint leaves!
It was difficult to understand whether you were drinking or eating it!
Strawberries are winter fruit in Japan, but you don’t need a warm weather to appreciate such a dessert!

As for me I chose to challenge a dessert that allies influences from France, China and Japan: Egg tart plate!

The eggs used in this creation are produced organically by Mr. Horita in Okabe, Fujieda City!
The tart literally melts inside your mouth.
Combined with the fruit sauces it becomes a beautiful battle between conflicting savors!
I know a lot of Chinese friends who will be converted!

PISSENLIT
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 2-3-4
Tel.: 054-270-8768
Fax: 054-627-3868
Business hours: 11:30~14:30; 17:00~22:00
Closed on Tuesdays and Sunday evening
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK
Entirely non-smoking!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Ekiben/Railway lunch Box: Oku Suruga No Iso Chirashi in Mishima JR Station!

Yesterday I suddenly had to go all the way to Mishima City, about half an hour and two stations away by Shinkasen from Shizuoka City and just had the time on my way back to sample a new ekiben/駅弁/Railway Lunch Box (or boxed lunch)!

Nice packaging!
Oku Suruga No Iso Chirashi/奥駿河の磯ちらし basically means a chirashi/decoration-style sushi made with ingredients from the far corners of Suruga Bay!

Can you see the little sign in the left top corner?
It is the registration as a “True Japanese Ekiben”!

Tounakaken Co in Numazu City advertises precisely all the contents. And there certainly were a lot of ingredients!

A rigid transparent plastic cover protects the contents.

Now, what do we have?
Actually a lot!
As the ingredients are all a bit “mixed up” I’ll give them right away. Let’s see if we can distinguish them later:
Sushi rice, Nishiki ko Tamago/shredded omelette, octopus, simmered shiitake, Sakura Ebi/Cherry shrimps, crab, gari/pickled ginger, tobiuo tamago/flying fish roe, cucumber, ooba shiso/perilla, white sesame seeds and seaweed!

Cucumber, omelette, Flying fish roe, octopus,…

Pickled ginger, shiitake, omelette, flying fish roe,…

Omelette, crab, cucumber, sakura ebi, flying fish roe,…

Here you can see that the sushi rice was first topped with konbu seaweed and simmered shiitake!

Eating local sushi on a train! What more can you ask? LOL

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Today’s Bento/Lunch Box (12/03): Sushi Roll Feast Bento!

When you are short of ideas just keep rolling away!
The Missus was short of inspiration for today’s bento as she said, so I told her, “Why not making sushi rolls with whatever you can find in the fridge?”

Simple ideas are usually the best!

And here is the result!
The Missus and I wrap our rolls in lettuce instead of dry seaweed whenever possible for better colors, balance and taste.
Making the sushi rice was simple enough. The first roll includes carrot thinly cut lengthwise, the second tinned white tuna from Yui in Shizuoka City and thinly cut cucumber, and the third one soft ham from Sanoman Co. in Fujinomiya City and sliced black olives!

This side dish must have been one of the most colorful ever with no less than three different mini tomatoes from Fuji City, yellow, red and blackish red, boiled Brussels sprouts and a Missus’ boiled egg atop a tartare sauce bed and topped with a sliced olive!

A very solid bento, I guarantee you! And yummy!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass, Einfach Bento,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Tonkatsu Sauce: The Basic recipe

Tonkatsu is another Japanese gastronomy fast becoming a global favorite!
The tonkatsu is not that difficult to achieve, but too often disappointment comes with the wrong choice of sauce or simply not realizing that the sauce is half of the recipe!

The sauce is not difficult to create and it is open to a lot of variations, so next time instead of using a dubious (cheap) product make your own!

The following recipe is only a basic one which will allow to work on quantities according to your taste and priorities!

INGREDIENTS:

Sesame seeds
Soy sauce (plenty of possibilities there!)
Worcestershire sauce (my favorite is Lea & Perrins, but it’s up to you!)
Tomato ketchup (if you can make your own, so much the better. Try and void too sweet specimens!)
Sugar
Water (easy on that!)

RECIPE:

Sesame seeds are the most important point in a tonkatsu sauce!
The more, the better!
Use golden sesame seeds.
First dry-fry them.

Grind the sesame seeds thoroughly with a mortar (Japanese-style is best!) and pestle.
Bear in mind that the mortar must be big enough to contain all the sauce!

This is where improvisation and personal tastes come into consideration!
First add Soy sauce, Tomato ktechup and Worcestershire sauce.
Mix well and check taste, then add sugar.
Check taste and rectify if necessary.
Add water to liquefy the sauce. Careful there. Too much water and you will end up with soup! Proceed slowly!

Taste again to make sure it is perfect!
Now, there are many things you could further add:
I personally add some very strong Japanese mustard for more zip.
Ground pices of all spices can be considered, but proceed carefully!
There is no need to add salt!

Try to present the sauce in the mortar for better impression and invite your family, friends or guests to serve themselves!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery