Tag Archives: 焼酎

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting: Takashima Brewery-TBL Eau-de-vie Rice Shochu

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Takashima Brewery, which is primarily a sake brewery in Numazu City, Eastern Shizuoka Prefecture, Is making itself another name with its superlative shochu. Using thier sake white lees, they have already put no less than four different brands on the market!
TBL stands for Takashima Brewery Limited and Eau-de-vie (“Life Water”) is French for Life Spirits!

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At 255 alcohol (not 25 degrees) it is pretty heady but normal as far as alcohol content is concerned!
My dear friend Sissi will be glad to hear about another shochu from Shizuoka Prefecture!

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Rice Shochu made with ginjo sake white lees as well as rice and rice kouji.
Yeast: Shizuoka NEW-5
matured for 1 year
Alcohol: 25%

Clarity: Extremely clear
Color: Transparent
Aroma: Comparatively mild and discreet. Dry. Fruity: notes of bananas and custard.
Body: Fluid
Taste: Strong well-rounded dry attack warming up back of the palate.
***Tasted at room temperature: Dry and fruity.
Complex. Faint bananas and dry almonds.
Strong and pleasant alcohol.
very elegant approach. Disappears quickly on a softer note with more dry almonds.
***Tasted on ice: Reveals new facets as it gradually warms inside the mouth.
Bananas, macadamia nuts, hints of dark chocolate.

Overall: Extremely elegant sake white lees (riceis a different license!), typical of Takashima Brewery!
Can be thoroughly enjoyed on its own or poured over plenty of ice.
Great with Perrier or any high quality mineral water.
No need to mix it with anything else!
A shochu for all seasons and both genders! Shochu loving ladies will find it very elegant!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, 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: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting: Senju Brewery/Distillery-Ginjo Shikomi Honkaku Shochu 37

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Once again Sissi should be interested with this shochu made in Shizuoka!

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it is a shochu made by Senju Brewery/distillery in Iwata City with sake lees.
Apparently making shochu directly from rice requires a different license! Otherwise it still can be called a rice shochu although by law it is a sake white lees shochu!

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Sake (rice) white lees
Yeast: Shizuoka yeast
alcohol: 37 degrees

Clarity: very clear
Color: transparent
Aroma: distinctly fruity and extremely complex. Pears, nuts, vanilla, custard, almonds, umidofu (tofu variety)
Body: fluid
Taste: Very well-rounded and fruity attack.
Strong alcohol but very elegant and easy to drink.
Complex and very difficult to catch.
Dry chestnuts, dry custard, pears, fresh cream.
Stays very dry on the palate but tends to disappear on a sweeter note, this being certainly due to the variety of yeast used to make the sake whose white lees have been distilled into that shochu.
Extremely sophisticated for a shochu!

Overall: Best enjoyed on its own despite the strong alcohol at room temperature.
The distillers advise to enjoy it straight on plenty of ice.
At the most could be mixed with water.
Anything else would be tantamount to infanticide!
Drink it away or before/after a meal!
The perfect nightcap? Mind you it is strong so better use a chaser before hitting the sack!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, 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: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting: Takashima Distillery-Brewery: Dai Ippoh

Takashima Brewery in Numazu City does not brew only superlative Japanese sake but also distill some incredibly extravagant rice shochu as well!
Their latest jewel is Dai Ippoh!

When you look at the simple calligraphic design you will understand it represents the nearby Mount Fuji!

Dai Ippoh/第壱峰 (old-style calligraphy) means “The First Peak”!

Alcohol: 25 degrees
Ingredients: Rice and rice malt

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Transparent
Aroma: Almost sweetish and spicy. Alcohol. Rice.
Body: Fluid
Taste: At first sweetish and complex attack.
Dry dark cherries.
Turns quickly drier.
Does not linger long in mouth or under palate.
Very clean, elegant and fruity approach.
Alcohol impact relatively soft with fruits appearing with each new sip.

Overall: A very elegant rice shochu which should be drunk on its own first at room temperature without ice or water for a true appreciation and taste discovery.
All the qualities and more of a superlative rice shochu.
Varies little with food.
At the most pour it over a lot of ice but there is no reason to mix with anything!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, 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,
Susan at Arkonlite, 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!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shizuoka Shochu tasting: Sugii Brewer-Saisuke Shizuoka Imo

Sugii Brewery/Distillery in Fujieda City has been noted for quite some time as producing not only top-class sake but alsoo shochu of a superlative level.
They also have the merit to use local ingredients whenever possible!

The imo, or satsuma imo/薩摩芋/sweet potatoes used in this shochu are exclusively grown in Shizuoka Prefecture!

Sweet potatoes (Shizuoka-grown)
Yeast: Shizuoka NEW-5
Kooji/麹: Yellow kooji
Distillation: Normal pressure type
Alcohol: 25.5 %
Bottled in March 2009

Clarity: very clear
Color: Transparent
Aroma: Strong. Nutty. Complex. Hints of pineapple and dry bananas
Body: fluid
Taste: Strong but smooth attack.
Lingers for a while warming up back of the palate.
More complex than expected.
Sweet but dry on the tongue.
Pineapple, nuts, dry almonds, walnuts.
Marries well with food.
Drunk on its own or on plenty of ice mainly reveals a dry nutty, almost sweetish strong accent to rapidly grow into a very dry invasion of the palate.

Overall: A shochu more elegant than expected!
Its strong nutty taste is very pleasant and marries well with any food.
I personally appreciate it on its own poured over a lot of ice like I do for any higher quality shochu, although great with the addition of lemon or lime juice or mixed with Perrier water!

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

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting: Takashima Brewery: “En” Sherry Barrel Matured Rice Shochu

Takashima Brewery in Numazu City has been justifiably considered for the past few years as one of the most daring Sake Breweries in Japan.
Not only content with producing nationally recognized sakes, they also make use of the sakekasu/white lees of their premium sakes into some extraordinary rice shochu!

Having distilled the sakekasu into shochu spirits they store the latter in sherry barrels inported from Spain to mature for at least two years.
The result is a unique nectar the color of wood.
Actually, the first time they submitted it for registration with the Japan Bureau of Taxes and Excise, it was refused for the somewhat pernicious reason it was too dark and resembled too much to whisky!

Takashima Brewery: “En” Sherry Barrel Matured Rice Shochu

Rice
Alcohol: 25~26%

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Wooden, light brown orange
Aroma: Strong. Alcohol. Plums, oranges.
Body: Fluid
Taste: Fruity and complex.
Plums, nuts.
Disappears quickly warming up the back of the palate for a long time.
Both elegant and puissant.
Fruits keep reappearing with every sip.
Very reminiscent of whisky and anturally dry sherry.

Overall: Extremely elegant and rare shochu!
Probably a unique taste in the whole of Japan.
Drinks easily.
So complex that it requests many a sip to properly discern it.
Should be drunk poured over a lot of ice.
Mixing it with water, or anything else for that matter, would be tantamount to infanticide!

Takashima Brewery
410-0312 Shizuoka prefecture, Numazu Shi, Hara, 354-1 ( a few minutes walk from Hara JR Station)
Tel: 055-966-0018
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting: Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery: Doman

Since Yasatei Restaurant has Doman rice shochu on its list I took the opportunity the other day to conduct a tasting while enjoying the food!
“Doman” is the name of a (very expensive) crab solely found in salt water Hamana Lake in Hamamatsu City.
It is brewed by Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery which also brews (mainly) sake and beer, and also liquors!

Doman is a rice shochu made with the best sakekasu/white lees of the Brewery by their brewmaster who is a lady!

To help with the tasting I ordered some Shizuoka-grown tomatoes!

The red tomato is “Ameera” variety celebrated for its sweetness. The orange tomato is a variety grown organically by Shizen no Chikara Farm!

Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery: Doman Rice shochu

Ingredients: Rice, white lees, Shizuoka Yeast, water
Alcohol: 28 degrees

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Transparent
Aroma: Fruity. Custard
Body: Fluid
Taste: Starts with a soft attack to amplify into a warm pleasant invasion of the palate.
Complex. Fruity and dry. Custard.
Stays dry all the time although taste tends to fluctuate into sophisticated notes of coffee beans.
Marries well with food, especially vegetables salads.

Overall: A very pleasant shochu which does not need to be mixed with anything else.
Best appreciated poured above plenty of ice in a large glass!
Marries so well with vegetables!

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

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting: Fuji-Takasago Brewery: Fuji No Tsuyu

As foreigners, especially not living in this country, seem to be interested in Shochu like my new friend Sissi in Switzerland I thought it was about time to introduce (actually re-introduce) the shochu made in Shizuoka Prefecture!

Although 10 out 28 sake breweries in Shizuoka Prefecture also distill an aggregate of over 40 shochu, they are not well known (actually rare) in Japan as quantities are comparatively small and also because they are simply extravagant!
They are all true shochu/honkakushochu/本格焼酎 but they do not always follow the pattern of the shochu made in Kyushu island for example.
All rice shochu here is either made from the polished rice leftovers or the white lees/sakekasu/酒粕 left after the sake has been pressed.

This shochu was distilled from the white lees left after the sake was pressed and with water from Mount Fuji, hence the name “Fuji no Tsuyu/富士の露 or The Dew of Mount Fuji”!
The label was re-designed last year!

Rice shochu
Base: sake white lees
Water: Mount Fuji water
Alcohol: 25 degrees
Bottled in December 2010

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Transparent
Aroma: Fruity and dry. Alcohol. Custard, vanilla.
Body: fluid

Taste: Dry strong but pleasant attack.
Fruity. Almonds, Custard.
Very pleasant even on its own.
Lingers for a while with notes of Macadamia nuts.
Complements food well.

Overall: As far as rice shochu comes it is just too extravagant. I really enjoyed it on its own or with plenty of ice.
Beautiful with chilled Perrier, too.
No real need to mix it with anything else! It shows too many facets to interfere with!
The kind of shochu ladies would relate to!

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

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting: Kogane-Danshaku by Sugii Brewery

kogane-danshaku

As a general rule I keep Shochu tasting postings to my other blog, Shizuoka Shochu, but for once I thought these tasting notes could help non-Japanese shochu lovers how to report on their favourite drink.
Please note that my style is very dry. Some will have have a more lyrical manner, and the better for it! LOL

Sugii Brewery in Fujieda City has come up with yet another creation of theirs! But once again, it is a “limited edition”. You do have to keep all your senses alert to discover these bottles.
Unlike Kagoshima Prefecture in Kyushu Island, Shizuoka-made shochu are not only exotic and extravagant, but rare and slightly more expensive. The labels certainly become collectors’ items!

Sugii Brewery: Kogane-Danshaku Shochu

Ingredients:
Kogane (Satsuma potato variety) and Danshaku (normal potato variety), both grown in Shizuoka Prefecture
Yeast: Shizuoka NEW-5 (Shizuoka Sake Yeast)
Fermented rice
Contents: 500 ml

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Transparent
Aroma: Clean, strong, nutty
Taste: Sweetish, clean attack.
Deep roasted nuts.
Shortish tail with a dry finish.
Memory of coffee beans.

Overall: Unusual, clean, elegant shochu with lots of character and facets.
Combination of Satsuma yams and potatoes out of the ordinary! The use of Shizuoka Sake Yeast gives it a very regional flavour!
Best appreciated straight with plenty of ice!

Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
Chewy
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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Shochu: the way to drink and taste it!


The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
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kampai-shochu.jpg
Kampai!

I’ve been asked a few times already about shochu and how to drink it.
Shochu is distilled spirit as opposed to Japanese sake which is a fremented drink.
Like Japanese sake, shochu, if made in proper clean environment is an alcohol that both vegans and vegetarians can enjoy!
For extensive information on Shochu made in Shizuoka Prefecture (38 found so far by 10 breweries!), check Shizuoka Shochu!

If you use shochu simply as an additive, or to quickly reach an irresponsible inebriety, just skip reading the following!

-Shochu comes in four main varieties: imo/tubers, mugi/wheat-grain, kome/rice and finally in what I call “fancy shochu” (which is not a detrimental term at all!).
The latter includes green tea (the best is from Shizuoka Prefecture), buckwheat and what else.

-So, first decide on the variety. As far as quality is concerned, shochu in Shizuoka Prefecture is only produced by Sake Brewers, which means higher quality and dependability.
-Once you have chosen your baby, first pour a tiny bit inside a normal glass, turn it around until the bouquet (smell) reaches your nostrils (smokers, get out of here!). Taste it at room temperature. It will give you a kick, but you will learn its true character.
-Next, if you are a true shochu lover, fill a large glass with ice (one very large block is best), pour a reasonable quantity of shochu on it, and drink it slowly through (or around) the ice. As the ice slowly melts, the shochu taste will subtly change, giving you an indication, whether you want to drink it straight, on the rocks, or with a certain amount of ice and water, or added with warm water.
-After all, you are in Shizuoka, so why don’t you try the “Shizuoka Hai”. Pour hot or ice-cold Shizuoka green tea, or better, mixed with powdered “macha” tea. You might get hooked!
-The other step is to find what goes best with shochu (as regards your personal taste): ginger ale, oolong tea, soda,… There is no end to it!
Enjoy!
Robert-Gilles

Douman Crab at Suehiro-Hamanako no Megumi Sushi Restaurant


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“Douman” is the name of a very rare crab of fairly large proportions exclusively caught in Summer in Lake Hamana, Shizuoka Prefecture.
Fishermen will be lucky if they manage to find 2 or 3 specimen caught in their nets in a single day for the whole lake!

It has become one of the symbols of the area as demonstrated by the rice/kome shochu of the same name brewed by Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery/Distillery in Hamamatsu City.
Consequently only a few privileged establishments may serve it from time to time.
One such place is Suehiro-Hamanako No Megumi Sushi Restaurant, a little secret place of mine.
As introduced in other articles, it is tucked away from the city bustle south of Hamamatsu JR Station.

I make a point to reserve a seat or two before I visit them as hey will make sure to keep a bottle of Shizuoka Sake just for me.
Last Friday, they just happened to have an excellent bottle from a favourite Brewery of mine, namely Hatsukame in Okabe Cho.
That particular brand, called “Fujisan”, is a honjozo made with rice from Toyama Prefecture and yeast from Shizuoka Prefecture, perfect in summer with sushi and seafood!
Light food was on order as it had been an excessively hot day now that the rainy season is finally off our heads.

Pickled myoga, and ham and avocado salad were perfect with the first couple of glasses of chilled sake.

With a kitchen conveniently closed away, Suehiro has the knack to serve the right mixture of sashimi, sushi and cooked fare which ensures you will not leave the place worrying about a still empty stomach.
Mind you, this is an expat notion which does not count for the Japanese habit to visit at least two or three different places in the same night.
We opted for some akami/lean tuna and suzuki/seabass sashimi and a plate of Hamana Lake prawns deep-fried inside Spring rolls.

Finally we were ready for the Douman Crab!
My friend took the opportunity to order a glass of shochu of the same name while I gamely took care of the sake.
In Hamamatsu City they just serve it steamed as it is without any dressing or seasoning.
And our half (can you imagine the price of a whole one?) did not need any whatsoever. It came very full of so soft, tasty, even sweet meat that you naturally take your time savouring a little at a time with chopsticks. Forbid a fork or spoon!
I’m afraid this will be my first and last time I experience such a delicacy. That is unless Suehiriro calls me (and other customers?) next time they chance upon one (two would be impossible, so do not plan a party!)

We still hjad one more morsel before we left for the Liquid Kitchen, a bar held by a cricket friend of mine: Hamana Lake anago/conger eel and ikura/salmon roe sushi.
As this restaurant always comes up with local delicacies on a purely seasonal basis, I wonder what will compel me to visit it again!

SUEHIRO-HAMANAKO NO MEGUMII AJI
Hamamatsu City, Naka Ku, suyama Cho, 360-6
Tel.: 053-452-6288
Business Hours: 11:30-13:30&17:00-22:00
Closed on every Wednesday and second Tuesday
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

Biwashu Season!


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Last year, on June the 12th to be precise, I concocted “Umeshu” (Japanese plums preserved in sake and shochu) which happened to be so popular that the four litres I had lovingly matured for a whole year disappeared in a couple of weeks!

A Japanese friend of mine, having been impressed with the results of my slightly unusual recipe asked me to put my talents to work with “biwa/loquats”!

He brought me small loquats unfit for normal consumption but perfect for preserves.

I used premium sake and shochu from the same brewery, Hana no Mai in Hamamatsu City, to ensure some regularity:
From left to right: Yaramaika kome/rice shochu (25%), Acha no Tsubone rice/kome shochu, Hana No Mai Junmai Ginjo (15.5%) and Hana No Mai Junmai (15.5%)

I added 1 kg of “koorizato/peserve sugar” to almost 2 kg of loquats (for umeshu, I used only 1 kg, as they had more “flesh”).

Now, we shall have to wait until June next year!

If you try your own hand, make sure your concoction stays in a dark place at a reasonable and constant temperature!

Shizuoka Izakaya: Katayurimo


The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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Katayurimo is the third member of a triumvirate I have a special liking for in Shizuoka City. I have already introduced the other two, Odakkui and Hana Oto whose “masters” shared dinner with me in the company Mr. Mori at Kodarumatei.
Yukata Mori opened his izakaya (can you guess the connection between names?) in May 2005 and already seems to have acquired quite a following as the place will be full by 21:00.
As he is working on his own with a waiter or waitress to serve a maximum of 9 at the counter and 12 at the tatami tables, do not expect shogun service in spite of his ever-smiling welcome.
It’s all slow food there!

There is plenty to drink, including a fine kome/rice shochu (Acha no Tsubone) by Hana no Mai Brewery in Hamamatsu City who printed a private label for Takayurimo. You will find more shochu, sake and so on to please veryone.

As for local Shizuoka Jizake, it tends to vary almost everyday. I was lucky enough to drink from a bottle of junmai called “Susono Katsurayama Shiro” by Fujinishiki Brewery (Fujinomiya City). I felt the more pleased for it as it was a first!

As Mori-San takes his time carefully preparing your orders, you can usually expect two different kinds of ‘”otooshi/snacks” to come with the first drink order.
I certainly relished the home-made “kuro hanpen/black sardine fish paste” served slightly boiled and cold with a dah of wasabizuke (wasabi pickled in sake white lees), all from Shizuoka Prefecture!

The next snack was “noresore/conger eel whitebait”, usually a specialty from the West of Shizuoka Prefecture, which had to be imported from Fukuoka this time as it is already out of season down here.

Just enough to help me wait for the sashimi of the day!
From top to bottom, left to right:
“Katsuo/bonito” from Shizuoka Prefecture. Soft, tender and juicy!
“Saba/mackerel”. Great freshness, no “fishy” taste whatsoever and plenty of “fat”!
“Houbo/Blue Fin Robin” from Shizuoka Prefecture. A comparatively rare variety in Japan, served in top notch French and Italian restaurants. But sashimi is still best!
“Seguro Iwashi/Seguro sardine”. So fresh and almost sweet. Th e latter morsel was served with orange vinegar from Hamamatsu City instead of the usual shoyu/soy sauce.

I was about to “call it a day” as the night was still very young (I had another “appointment”) when I could not help notice the day’s menu board boasting bamboo shoots cooked in four different ways! I can hear Foodhoe salivating!
I was not the only one to be intrigued as three of my neighbours joined me in querying Mr. Mori about it. The poor (still smiling) gentleman found himself ordered to prepare the bamboo shoots (from Asabata in Shizuoka City) in the four different ways advertised! No way he could escape as we all had de facto agreed to share our orders! Talk about natural unconcerted ganging up!
Incidentally the one I asked for (see above) was the “steak style”: it had been boiled to the right softness beforehand and kept in a cool place. It was first cut to size then cooked and served hot.
You can’t beat a good izakaya when it comes to instant friendship (and hard work for the master!)!

KATAYURIMO
420-0034 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwacho, 1-4-2, Harada Bldg. 2F
Tel. & Fax: 054-221-4175
Business hours: 17:~24:00
Closed on Mondays and every second Sunday

Shizuoka Izakaya: Oikawa


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Shizuoka is certainly witnessing a remarkable revival of its traditional izakaya thanks to many young(ish) enterprising restaurateurs, but some “old hands” are still leaving their mark on the local gastronomic scene for the benefit of all.

Mr. and Mrs. Yamamoto, who are well into their seventies, opened Oikawa no more than 11 years ago, proving there is no set age to start new ventures!

The popularity of their izakaya has never abated since it opening, and I can tell from personal experience that you had better make reservations on weekends!
One reason for their popularity lies in their proximity to Shin Shizuoka Center, but conveniently located in a fairly quiet side street and less than 15 minutes walk away from Shizuoa JR Station.
The owners and their staff are very warm, if busy, individuals who will take the time to introduce the food and drinks they serve and answer any questions. And if you happen to come from outside our Prefecture you will definitely feel the need to ask a few!

Sashimi are seasonal only, and if I were you I would not bother much with the menu and just ask for the chef’s recommendation of the day. You just cannot make a mistake!
Look at the set we were served last week:
“maguro/tuna”, “Hirame/sole”, “Shime saba/pickled mackerel”, “Shirasu/Sardine whiting” (freshly caught in Suruga Bay) and “Yude tako/boiled octopus”, with plenty of locally grown vegetables.
Now, hungry people will have a field day although they might need a Japanese-speaking friend to help them read all the morsels described above your head, but I would recommend:

“Kara-age kuro hanpen/deep-fried sardine fish paste, a Shizuoka specialty.

Tenpura: the one featured above is “Ashitaba plant”.
Any tenpura of the day should please you as vegetables are supremely fresh and plentiful in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Talking of tenpura, Oikawa is famous for its “Kimchee Tenpura”, a very crispy and tasty invention of theirs!

The “Musubi/rice ball” being enormous, I would suggest you to order them one at a time!

Great traditional atmosphere and food, but the one reason I would take anyone there is their incredible range of Shizuoka Jizake!
Just go through the list below (written down last week, and more to come apparently!):
Shosetsu (1-Yui Cho), Masu Ichi (1-Shizuoka City), Hatsukame (4-Shida Gun), Isojiman (2-Yaizu City), Suginishiki (1-Fujieda City), Shidaizumi (1-Fujieda City), Kikuyoi (3-Fujieda City), Wakatake (1-Shimada City), Morimoto (2-Kikugawa City), Kaiun (1-Kakegawa City), Kokkou (2-Fukuroi City), Eikun (1-Yui Cho), Fujinishiki (1-Fujinomiya City), Takasago (1-Fujinomiya City), and Sanwa (1-Shimizu Ku)!

OIKAWA
Shizuoka City, Aoki-Ku, Takajo, 1-11, Sano Bldg
Tel.: 054-272-6551
Business hours: 17:00~23:00
Closed on Sundays and Mondays

Shizuoka Izakaya: Hana Oto


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In recent years Shizuoka has witnessed the welcome resurgence of traditional izakaya thanks to a merry band of young(ish) restaurateurs such as the owners of Oddakui, Yasatei and Hana Oto (and others that I will visit soon!). They all prove time and again to be true exponents of traditional Japanese gastronomy by going back to the basics and caring about their patrons’ pleasure. These gentlemen and ladies (yes, you heard me right!) are not afraid to serve and promote local products, be they fish, meat, vegetables, sake or other delicacies.

Unearthing Han Oto can become a small adventure in itself as it is tucked in one of those “dark corners” on the ground floor of one the most ancient buildings in the Ryogae-Cho district, the oldest haunt of Shizuoka night owls.
It used to be a “yakitori” until Yuusuke Tozaki and his younger brother, Keisuke, took it over in February 2004.

Great fans of the famous sake manga artist Akira Ose (“Kurabito Claude”), they changed nothing, preserving the ancient and warm atmosphere, only adding their own little touches.

Not only great sake including some jewels from Shizuoka Prefecture (Sugii, Takashima, Oomuraya and Kaiun Breweries for the moment) but also great shochu, including an extravagant real tea and rice shochu by Fujinishiki Brewery (Fujinomiya City) called “Chyakkiri Shi”!
Of course all kinds of spirits, awamori, soft drinks and even wine are available.

Now, Yusuke Tozaki has a special predilection for vegetables, especially from Shizuoka, and the enormous Shimizu Ku green asparaguses I was served sauteed with Chinese XO sauce were absolutely scrumptious! Foodhoe will want to fly there, I can tell you!
Even a vegetarian would have enough reasons to patronize the establishement!
But I am not, I ordered a plate of sashimi:

But before that, I had to taste a great Yamahai by Takashima Brewery in Numazu City with a little home-made pickled wasabi plant.
I could have checked the menu, which is renewed everyday but I let the owner choose for me.

Sashimi were absolutely fresh and delicious.Mind you, when you know the level of fish in this Prefecture it almost becomes a matter of course!
I was served “Mejimaguro tuna”, “Katsuo/Bonito”, raw “Tako/Octopus” and “Kurodai Seabream”.
I’ll let you judge!

The first sake having disappeared without notice I savoured another great Yamahai by Sugii Brewery in Fujieda City.

As I had another commitment I unfortunately had to depart, but the owner would let me go before I tried another beauty called “Tatsuhisa” by Eiku Brewery in Yui that was not on the menu for the simple reason that the owner’s private sake!
Blimey, Gaijin Tonic would never leave such a place! I will have to convince Lojol to accompany me for a lengthier visit next time!

HANA OTO
420-0033 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae-cho, 3-9, Hoshi Bldg. 1F
Tel.: 054-273-8591
Business hours: 18:00~03:00 (until 05:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)
Closed on Mondays