Category Archives: Tasting

Umeshu by Shidaizumi Brewery

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I already the occasion to taste this new umeshu (“Japanese plum liqueur”) when I visited Shidaizumi Brewery in Fujieda City last August before it was put on sale. But due to a hectic schedule before leaving fro France, I did not have the time to make any report.
To amend for the hiatus, I bought and tasted a bottlelast night!

This umeshu is made with sake and ume/Japanese local plum extract, making it quite extravagant in comparison to what is usually marketed as “umeshu”)
The alcohol contenet is not so high at only 11 degrees.

Clarity: very clear

Colour: light orang-pink

Aroma: dry plums, drier than expected.

Body: light and smooth.

Taste: Complex and elegant. Drier than expected. Easy to drink and calling for a second and a third sip. Welcome acidity lingering over the palate

Overall: a great aperitif or refreshing drink on a hot summer day/night. Elegant. Adult. Deserves to stand beside European first-class fruit alcohols. Best drunk chilled or on the rocks.

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Shizuoka Beer 2-1: Bayern Meister Beer-Prinz

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Bayern Maeister Beer Co. Ltd. is based in Fujinomiya City and has employed for some while a Master Brewer from Southern Germany called Stefan Rage who is deservedly making his own name in the Shizuoka microbrewery world.

“Prinz” is the first brew I had the pleasure to taste.

Product name: Prinz Draught beer
Contents volume: 330 ml
Alcohol: 5.5%
Ingredients: malt, hops and live yeast all imported from Southern Germany.

Clarity: clear and clean
Colour: Golden
Foam: solid and regular
Aroma: both light and sharpish/grapefruit-Oranges
Taste: Light, easy to drink. Welcome acidity/light oranges and grapefruit. Lingers on the palate.

Comments: Refreshing and reassuringly solid.Goes very well with food. A good summer drink.

Bayern Meister Beer Co. Ltd.
Shizuoka Prefecture, Fujinomiya City, Kami-Ideji, Kawaharatan, 1254-1
Tel.: 0544-443311

Shizuoka Beer 1-1: Tenjingura Weizen

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Since we are in the middle of an extraordinarily hot summer, it is about time we delve in the local beers! And there are more than you might think! Considering the abundance of great water in Shizuoka Prefecture, we should wonder why we are not afloat lakes of beers put out by local breweries!

The first of a (hopefuly) long series shall start with a brew by Tenjingura Brewery in Hamamtsu City:

Name: Tenjingura Beer-Weizen
Yeast: German Weizen yeast
Ingredients: More than 50% Wheat malt
Volume: 330 ml
Alcohol: 5%

Colour: Nice darkish amber
Clarity: Clear
Foam: fine and disappearing quickly
Aroma: Bread, yeast
Body: Velvety on the palate
Taste: Fruity, Yeasty, bread

Comments: Both refreshing and nourishing. Almsot sweet with very little acidity. A beer for all seasons.

Tenjingura/Hamamatsu Brewery-Distillery
420-0808 Shizuoka Ken, Hamamatsu City, Tenjin Machi, 3-57
Tel.: 053-4616145
Fax: 053-4633851
Homepage

Izakaya: Nanase

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It was the turn of Mr. Kawashima, a member of our “Monthly Monday Eatout Group” to choose our meting place in August, and he elected for our ever-growing group (we accounted for 7 participants this time!) an original izakaya called Nanasei.
The restaurant was created 6 years ago by Mrs. Junko Sunada on the first floor of the large house she lives in with her family.
Actually the first floor consists of a counter (see picture above, sitting 6) and a Japanese tatami room (sitting 6~7).
The place is very comfortable and easy-going but sophisticated at the same time, all that for comparatively reasonable price. You have more the impression to eat at home than in izakaya/restaurant. It makes the place all the more attractive for small groups searching relative peace and quiet in an intimate environment.
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Mrs. Sunada makes a great use of local products, especially vegetables, with an accent on lightness and familiar (as of family) tastes, all the while creating original cuisine for all to enjoy, whatever the age or gender. A vegetarian (that I am not) could very well order or reserve a full meal there!
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The more you eat, the more you feel like drinking, and I have a suspicion that Mrs. Sunada has mastered the art to induce a customer into sampling her drinking menu!
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Now, the last is the real reason behind our friend’s choice!
As he is a fervent lover of sake, the menu gives him ample cause for rejoicing apart of the beer and wine:
I will cite only the truly local sake among the long list:
Kaiun (Doi Brewery, Kakegawa City)
Shosetsu (Kanzawagawa Brewery, Yui City)
Hatsukame (Okabe-cho, Sida Gun)
Karakkaze (Hana No Mai Brewery, Hamamatsu City)

I would recommend Nanasei both to couples and groups who wish to share a gastronomic adventure away from the tussle of the town.
Set menus and a la carte are available. I would suggest both for value and interest to choose the set menu of the day and eventually add one or two more dishes if you are still hungry!

Nanase
Address: 420-0833 Shizuoka City, Higashi Takajo 2-40 (Go up Kitakaido from Shin Shizuoka Center, turn right at Casino Pachinko, second corner)
Tel.: 054-2495551
Fax: 054-2486644
Business hours: 17:30~22:30
Closed on Sundays and 2nd and 3rd Mondays
Reservations advised

Shizuoka Agricultural Products: Nashi Pear

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The Nashi pear, Pyrus pyrifolia, is sometimes called the Asian pear . It has also been called Japanese pear or Taiwan Pear, as well as sand pear, apple pear, bapple, papple, and bae, from the Korean 배. In India is it called nashipati. Nashi pears are widely grown for their sweet fruit, a popular food in East Asia. They are sweet on the tree and are eaten crisp or else bletted.
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Nashi pears generally are not baked in pies or made into jams because they have a high water content and a crisp, grainy texture, very different from the buttery European varieties. Also, Nashi pears are not as intensely sweet, having a more refreshing, light taste.

They are grown in various areas in Japan under different cultivar and brand names.
I have the luck to be offered every summer a full box of them coming from Yaizu City where their brand name is “Shinsui”/新水. They are the perfect fruit for a hot summer and have far more value than a whole bottle of soda!

Shizuoka Izakaya: Taisaku

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It certainly took me a long time, but I finally paid a visit to Taisaku, the third oldest Izakaya in Shizuoka City! It has entered it sixty-ninth year of existence and is still going solid thanks to a strong sense of tradition nurtured by the family down to the present 3rd and 4th generations.
It has alway enjoyed a great reputation and certainly deserves it!
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Taisaku prides itself in serving, whenever possible, products from the local seas and lands. The sashimi are true delicacies, especially raw sakura shrimp (large pic above), not easy to serve so fresh unless you have a direct contact in Yui City, or katsuo/bonito thanks to Yaizu City fishermen. The aji/horsemackerel was a beauty, too. I had to limit myself to those three raw servings this time and will have to come regularly to sample the whole menu changing every day (impossible!). I had time and stomach space left to sample their “kisu to anago no satsumaage”, a fish paste made from two fish caught in Suruga Bay and cooked to perfection.

Now, if you know me well, there need be another reason for my introducing an Izakaya: the local sake!
I gave up on posting the labels for the simple reason that the list is too long! Here you are:
Garyubai Dai Ginjo (Sanwa Brewery, Shimizu Ku)
Isojiman Junmai Ginjo + Hionjozo (Yaizu City)
Hatsukame (Shida Gun)
Kaiun (Doi Brewery, Kakegawa City)
Matsu Ichi, including Taruzake/sake from the cask and “kan”/warm (Shizuoka City)
Shosetsu Junmai (Yui City)
Kokkou (Fukuroi City)
Karakkaze (Hana no Mai Brewery, Hamamatsu City)
8 Breweries for 11 types of sake, all from Shizuoka Prefecture!

As Taisaku is located in Central Shizuoka just behind Shin Shizuoka Center, expect it to be full with patrons of all ages, genders and status!
If you wish to talk about local history, you will find the master of the house quite amenable indeed. Not only did he took out old books for me, but he also gave me the name of another Brewery that existed before WWII!

Taisaku
420-0858 Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Tenmacho, 1-10 (entry on 1F, restaurant on 2F)
Tel.: 054-2531639
Business hours: 17:30~?
Closed on Sundays
Parties up to 20 possible on 3F

Soba/Buckwheat Restaurant: Yoshino

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I love soba, and many Japanese and expats do too!
It is not only great for health (vegetarians, listen carefully), it is tasty and satisfying!
Unfortunately there is soba and soba. Meaning: a lot of places do have to be avoided…
What makes Yoshino special is that they are very exactting about their quality and serve only soba on the day. If they run out, they simply close the place!
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For the connoisseurs hey serve both ni-hachi (80%) and ju-wari (100% which tend to run out quickly!)
Although Mr. Hiromichi Yoshino opened his restaurant only in 1999 after serving his time in another famous soba restaurant, Kuromugi in Shizuoka, the place has become so popular you do have to choose your time of the day to enjoy the food. Actually, you ought to take your time as this is a real “slow-food” soba restaurant. As it sits only 22 plus a few at the counter, you will understand it could become a scramble sometimes.
The more for its side dishes (“tsumami”):
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The “tamagoyaki” (fine, some vegetarians might not agree!) and the:
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“yakimiso” (soba/buckwheat powder mixed with miso and cooked under the grill), a must in any good soba restaurant.
But people who really know me would not be convinced if I fail to mention that also serve Shizuoka sake!
They serve no less than 8 kinds!:
Fujinishiki/Arabashiri (Shibakawa Cho)
Hatsukame/junmai + Kame dai ginjo 3 year-old koshu (Okabe cho)
Isojiman/ dai ginjo + junmai ginjo (Yaizu City)
Kikuyoi/daiginjo (Fujieda City)
Onnanakase/Oomuraya-Wakatake daiginjo (Shimada City)
Kokkou/junmai ginjo (Fukuroi City)
Now, a little secret for the sake lovers, these high-quality sake certainly come cheaper than anywhere else!

Apart of the whole gamut of cold and hot soba, they serve exquisite tempura, satsumaage, oniage, yakimiso,and so on.

Last but not least it becomes a no-moking place at lunch!

Yoshino
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo Machi, 1-7-10 (just behind Shin Shizuoka Center)
Tel.: 054-2553277
Business hours: 11:00~22:00 (or until run out soba)
“Kaiseki course” on reservations