Tag Archives: Agricultural Products

Fruit Cocktails by Masato Matsumura at Juillet (1): Squat Persimmon

Service: Pro and very friendly, if a bit shy
Facilities: Great overall cleanliness. Beautiful washroom.
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: Great fruit cocktails. Doubles up as a coffee-bar. One of the rare establishments selling top-class cigars!

Squat Persimmons, called jirou Kaki/次郎柿 in Japanese) were actually first grown in Shizuoka Prefecture back in the 19th Century!
There are in full season now and can be appreciated as fruits, vegetables for salads and of course as cocktails!

RECIPE

Ripe squat persimmon: 1/2 (one half)
Havana Club Rum (red): 40 ml
Orange juice: 15 ml
Home-made Star Anise syrup: 2 drops
Crushed ice: 1 tablespoon

Peel and cut the persimmon in quarters and drop all ingredients inside a blender bowl. Use blender or even better a bar mix blender to attain the right consistency. Do not overblend it as it will become too liquid.
Pour in a semi-long glass.

Very deep and fruity taste with a great balance between acidity and sweetness with a tangy note, the whole enhancing greatly the exotic flavors of the persimmon!

To drink slowly!

JUILLET
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajyo, 2-10-8, Passsage Takjyo, 1F
Tel,: 054-273-5755
Opening hours: 12:00^24:00 (~21:00 on Sundays)
Closed on Wednesdays
Credit cards OK
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

Bartenders Club Shizuoka 1: Masato Muramatsu at Juillet

Service: Pro and very friendly, if a bit shy
Facilities: Great overall cleanliness. Beautiful washroom.
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: Great fruit cocktails. Doubles up as a coffee-bar. One of the rare establishments selling top-class cigars!

The Bartenders Club Shizuoka was founded last month by 7 celebrated bartenders all owning their own cocktail bar in Shizuoka City to not only promote their businesses and make fruit cocktails in particular more accessible to customers but also to make products and their farmers better known to the public.
From January they will create cocktails from a designated Shizuoka producer and his/her fruit or vegetable at regular intervals.
Moreover, the producer will be introduced in blogs and bars to prove the traceability and safety of the delicious fruit or vegetables.

But let me first introduce those seven “samurai” and their establishments starting with Masato Muramatsu at Juillet!

Juillet is located in a very quiet neighborhood on the firstt floor the “Passage Takajyo” building in Takajyo, a district replete with higher quality great restaurants, izakayas and bars.

You will be forgiven if you think it is another fashion shop at first!
But newcomers will soon discover this is a little haven away from the crowds all in sober and elegant white surroundings.

Actually Juillet is open at unusual hours (12:00~24:00) as it doubles up as a coffee-bar all day, too, where one can savor Masato’s wife’s cakes and his own scones!

Before Masato, a native from Yaizu City, opened his cocktail bar in December 2010 he had already had spent 15 years in the trade in the Kansai region and Kyoto where he met his future wife!

Shizuoka squat persimmon cocktail (recipe in next article!)

Masato is not only an expert in fruit cocktails, but he will be happy to concoct fresh fruit juice for non-drinkers apart of coffee, tea and soft drinks!

And Juillet is one of the rare establishments providing cigars of the best class!

JUILLET
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajyo, 2-10-8, Passsage Takjyo, 1F
Tel,: 054-273-5755
Opening hours: 12:00^24:00 (~21:00 on Sundays)
Closed on Wednesdays
Credit cards OK
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

Italian Cuisine with Shizuoka Ingredients at Aquavite (Fall~Winter 2011)

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to expensive.
Strong Points: Local ingredients used whenever possible. Top-class Italian wines. Private room for~8 people.

Aquavite has achieved a long-standing reputation not only for its high-level Italian cuisine and atmosphere, but also for their constant efforts to use as many local ingredients as possible be they from the land or the sea!
I paid a belated visit recently in the company of some friends as three is definitely better than one to try and savor as many dishes as possible!
So with the expert help of Chef Masaru Aoki/青木勝 we carved our way through the following dinner!

Organic vegetables from Shizen no Chikara Farm in Shizuoka City served with bania cauda sauce!

Vegetables from Shizen no Chikara are fast becoming the reference in this city!
If you are vegetarian or vegan ask for a high class olive oil!

Bread is always baked on site!

A plate of appetizers. Even the Bioran eggs and jumbo peanuts are from Shizuoka!

Sauteed Isaki/Chicken Grunt Fish and red squid from the Suruga Bay with organic vegetables!

Cooked to perfection!

A vegan plate of organic vegetables/tubers from Shizen no Chikara Farm in Shizuoka City and Matsu Bio Farm in Fujinomiya City!

For a better view!

Home-made Tagliatelle!

Fresh porcini mushrooms from Italy!

Creamy Porcini Tagliatelle! That dish alone would guarantee a visit!

Real Mont Blanc with the chestnuts at the bottom and the cream on top!
Chef aru Aoki/青木勝’s desserts are definitely of a rare class!

how about that for Tiramisu!

But the caramel pudding is a real sin!

To be followed…

AQUAVITE
Address: 420-0034 Shizuoka Shi, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg. 3F
Tel. & fax: 054-2740777
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00 18:00~22:00
Homepage (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK
Smoking allowed. Private room can be made non-smoking

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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 Beer Tasting: Wind Valley Brewery-Izu Ale

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The Wind Valley Brewery does deserve its name in Kannami, Mishima City.
It is actually tugged between two precipitous slopes and it can be extremely windy there, especially in winter!
The brewery is still relatively young founded as it was in 1997, but is steadily making a name for itself!

The Brewery is putting out 3 regular beers all year round apart of 3 more seasonal ones and Izu Ale is one of the former.
Izu is the name of the Peninsula of the same name and the Brewery is located in the very Northern part.

Ingredients: Barley, hops, yeast and water from Mount Fuji. Barley molt from own barley and British ale malt
Contents: 330 ml
Alcohol: 5.5%
Yeast: live

Clarity: Smoky
Color: Amber orange
Foam: Fine, lingers for a while
Aroma: Bread, yeast, faint oranges
Taste: Deep and solid attack with oranges. Finishes on a dry note on the palate with bread.
Complex from first sip and even more from second sip.
Dry oranges and bread linger on.
Tends to become drier and drier with further sips.

Overall: Very solid and satisfying brew to be enjoyed on its own as well as with heavy food or pickles.
A beer for all seasons!

Wind Valley Beer (Oratche), Rakunou Oukoku Co. Ltd
Shizuoka Ken, Mishima Shi, Kannami, Tanna, 349-1
Tel.: 055-974-4211
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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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 Sake Tasting: Morimoto Brewery-Sayogoromo Koshu Roman 2003

Hidetoshi Morimoto, owner-masterbrewer at Morimoto Brewery In Kikugawa City, began making koshu/古酒, old sake back in 2002 shortly after the taxation law changed from dues being perceived upon making sake to being levied upon sales only.
But typically he used some of his best sakes to experiment in this new venture as demonstrated in this brew made in 2003 and released only this month: Junmai Ginjyo Genshu!

Rice milled down to 55%
Alcohol: 17~18 degrees
Brewed in 2003
Bottled in 2011
Limited to 300 bottles (720 ml)

Clarity: Very Clear
Color: Light amber color (normal for old sake)
Aroma: Dry, reminiscent of dry sherry
Body: Fluid
Taste: Dry attack backed by junmai petillant. Very deep, complex snd fruity.
Coffee beans, dark chocolate, oranges, dark cherries.
Turns slightly sweetish and deeper inside the palate.
Disappears a bit slowly with a comforting feeling.
Taste and texture closer to wine than sake.
Extremely pleasant and intriguing.

Overall: One might feel he/she was drinking wine if he/she hadn’t been told beforehand.
Very reminiscent of a half dry sherry or even a Sauternes wine.
Extremely complex and intriguing.
This is the second time I sampled this sake, although of a different year and I must admit I was flabbergasted!
I drank it chilled, but I’m sure it would explode with more facets and faces if sampled lukewarm/nurukan!
As it is a very limited edition I might have to order a few bottles and keep them sitting inside the fridge!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
POPCORNHOMESTEAD in Tokyo by Joan Lambert Bailey,
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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 Sake Tasting: Sugii Brewery-Junmai, Bodai Moto No Suke, Homare Fuji

Sugii Brewery in Fujieda City with Takashima Brewery in Numazu City and Morimoto Brewery in Kikugawa City is a member of what I have dubbed their group the “Maverick Band”.
These three breweries have never been afraid of experimenting away from the more conservative breweries in our Prefecture.

This particular brew was made with locally grown Homare Fuji Sake rice.
As for the fermenting process it was done according to the ancient methods prevalent in the Edo Period when breweries left more responsibility to the environmental nature. The difference is that it was better controlled than in ancient times!

Rice: Homare Fuji
Rice milled down to 70%
Alcohol: 14.8 degrees
Dryness: 2.5
Acidity: 2.1
Brewed in 2010
Bottled in July 2011

Clarity: very clear
Color: Faint golden hue
Aroma: Slightly dry but fruity: banana, almonds, macadamia nuts, bitter chocolate
Body: Fluid
Taste: Strong junmai petillant attack backed up with a lot of fruit: mandarines, almonds.
Disappears with more oranges, coffee beans, bitter chocolate and dark cherries.
Junmai petillant staying strong all the way.
Ends up on an even drier note with further sips.
Takes a bit of a step back with food with an even stronger dry and acid accent.
Very complex and revealing more facets with the next sip.

Overall: Although a sake very untypical of Shizuoka Prefecture, it is a typical brew of Sugii Brewery!
A complex, surprising and very pleasant sake, best appreciated on its own at room temperature or “nurukan/lukewarm”, although a long distance away from the beaten tracks.
Difficult to categorize but so intriguing.
A true experience on a new path!

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 Sake Tasting: Morimoto Brewery-Junmai Dai-Ginjyou Yamada Nishiki

When one can combine work and pleasure… What more can you ask?
This is the third report of a three-article assignment on sake brewed by Morimoto Brewery in Kikugawa City, Shizuoka Prefecture!

Rice: Yamada Nishiki (Shizuoka-grown)
Rice milled down to:40%
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Dryness: +3.0
Acidity: 1.6
Brewed in 2010 and bottled in 2011

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Faint golden hue
Aroma: Discreet, fleeting. Fruity: custard, dark chocolate, banana.
Body: Fluid
Taste: Dry and fruity attack backed by junmai petillant.
Strong start from bananas before perception of coffee beans and dark chocolate.
Disappears quickly on a drier note.
Dark chocolate and coffee beans make a comeback with almonds with further sips.
Eleagant but very assertive.

Overall: A sake to be enjoyed for its own sake!
Even chilled shows complex facets and elegance.
Keeps surprising you with new impressions lurking behind each sip.
To be enjoyed at leisure preferably in great comapany.
There is no need to accompany it with food although it is assertive enough to happily marry with light vegetable salads in particular.

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 Sake Tasting: Morimoto Brewery-Junmai Ginjyou Yamada Nishiki

When one can combine work and pleasure… What more can you ask?
This is the second report of a three-article assignment on sake brewed by Morimoto Brewery in Kikugawa City, Shizuoka Prefecture!

Rice: Yamada Nishiki (Shizuoka-grown)
Rice milled down to: 50
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Dryness: +1
Acidity: 1.3
Brewed in 2010 and bottled in 2011

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Very faint golden hue
Aroma: Dry and fruity. Fleeting. Banana, custard
Body: Fluid
Taste: Smooth attack. Fruity: banana, custard.
Just dry enough to allow for an easy appreciation.
Disappears quickly with lots of custard and almonds on a warm note.
Coffee beans and dark chocolate appear with further sips

Overall: An elegant, complex and fruity sake whose facets tend to surprise as they strike your tongue and palate.
A sake to be savored on its own as an aperitif if chilled on a hot evening, or if at room temperature as a great digestif on a winter evening.
Naturally marries well with any food but would gain more by being enjoyed on its own in special company!

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 Sake Tasting: Morimoto Brewery-Sayogoromo Tokubetsu Junmai

When one can combine work and pleasure… What more can you ask?
This is the first report of a three-article assignment on sake brewed by Morimoto Brewery in Kikugawa City, Shizuoka Prefecture!

Rice: Homare Fuji (Shizuoka-grown)
Rice milled down to: 60%
Alcohol: 15 degrees
Dryness: +3.5
Acidity: 1.4
Brewed in 2010 and bottled in 2011

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Very faint golden hue
Aroma: Fruity. Complex. Banana, vanilla.
Body: Fluid
Taste: Dry attack. Fruity: banana, coffee beans.
Disappears quickly on an even drier note.
Very little junmai petillant.
Dark chocolate and almonds appear with second sip before vanishing on a very dry note.

Overall: Very dry but smooth sake typical of Morimoto Brewery, which has always entertained the image of a “maverick” brewer in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Eminently drinkable on its own although it would make for the perfect accompaniment to heavy izakaya-style food.
Would also marry well to desserts, especially chocolate.
A brew for the dry sake lovers!

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

Akihiro Matsushita: Organic Sake Rice Grower in Fujieda City!

Akihiro Matsushita/松下明弘, Yuuji Miyata/宮田祐二 and Densaburou Aoshima/青島傳三郎!

Akihiro Matsushita is a true pioneer!
No less than 17 years ago he decided to grow all his rice organically, a revolution at the time that did not please many people in the very closed world of Japanese farming!
Fortunately things have changed since then…

15 years ago Akihiro contacted Densaburou (Sake Brewmaster’s name) Aoshima of Aoshima Sake Brewery in Fujieda City to aks him if he would be interested in creating sake with truly organic rice. Densaburou is also a true pioneer in his own closed Japanese sake world who gladly accepted the challenge.
And it certainly was a challenge!

Aoshima Brewery in Fujieda City! Kikuyoi/喜久酔 is their main brand name!

I’ve known Densaburou for quite some time now, and the fact he speaks fluent English does help when I introduce him to foreign fans of his nectars!

Yuuji Miyata/宮田祐二, Ryohei Miyake/三宅良平 and Densaburou Aoshima/青島傳三郎
Whatever the occasion, this is Japan, and nothing will start before business cards have been exchanged!

The fact I know quite a lot of people in the Japanese sake world in Shizuoka Prefecture even helps with my Japanese friends and colleagues.
Before meeting Akihiro Matsushita in his farm, Yuuji Miyamata, the man in charge of the development of Homare Fuji Sake Rice in Yaizu City and Ryohei Miyake, an official from the Shida Haibara Agriculture and Forestry Bureau joined me to visit Densaburou at his brewery as we were all going together to Akihiro’s place. Densaburou does not use the Homare Fuji Sake Rice in his brews but he entertains warm relations with all people concerned with the sake business in his region.

Akihiro is a shy gentleman who will nonetheless quickly open and talk passionately about his trade.
And you certainly need to be passionate and extremely knowledgeable to convince people in one of the most conservative regions of Japan!

Keeping his own fields separated from non-organic growers is no longer a problem, but it was open conflict when he started his venture. He does not remember how many times he had to clean his own fields of mountains of rubbish thrown into them during the night…
But since then Akihiro has been recognized and accepted as a true grower as amply proved by his JAS Organic Grower Recognition and his Shida EM Organic Agriculture Association Chairmanship!

Not only his fields, but surrounding areas have to be kept clean of any chemicals and unwanted materials.
Even so, rice growing within a few meters of the perimeter of his fields will not be sold or used!

Yamada Nishiki, the most famous sake rice variety in Japan! The grains will appear end of August!
The soil being part of the Ooigawa River bed is sandy. The same sand is river sand formed by the constant rubbing of stones.

A single look at the water and soil will tell you this is organic environment with all these bugs and snails!
Akihiro and Densaburou had once thought of ducks to keep their fields clean of bugs. Unfortunately the local stray cats put an end to the trials!

Although Mr. Miyata’s field is not concerned with Yamada Nishiki Sake Rice, his expertise is always welcome!

Akihiro’s fields of organic sake rice and those or normal edible organic rice occupy a lot of land here and there. I asked him if he would be interested in exporting some. He replied that he wouldn’t have enough land to do so! An unequivocal proof of his peers’ and customers’ recognition!

Everyone soon forgot me so passionate their discussions had become!

For all his extremely busy life, Akihiro still finds enough time for constant research: organic black rice!

This passion and thirst for new solutions just proves that Japan and its people, for all the cataclysms that regularly visit them, might bend now and again but will never break like the stalks of their rice!

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

Homare Fuji Sake Rice Fields Visit with Mr. Yuuji Miyata

Mr. Yuuji Miyata!

13 years ago, some enlightened individuals realized that Shizuoka Prefecture would have to produce its own sake rice, at least a part of it, for many reasons even if some of them are pointedly ignored by many…
First, the culture of sake rice (as opposite to that of edible rice) is a risky venture financially and a steady supply is fraught with unseen complications. Moreover, most of brewers outside the main sake rice producing areas have to “import” their rice from Hyogo, Hiroshima, Iwate, Niigata and other faraway Prefectures.
Moreover, whatever some brewers might tell you when questioned in front of witnesses, the quality of such imported rice cannot be fully insured.

Mr. Muramatsu’s Homare Fuji paddies (30 acres) in Naka Shinden, Yaizu City.

The only solution is to try and grow your own sake rice locally!
In 1998, under the auspices of the JA research was initiated on the culture of the Yamada Nishiki Sake Rice strain, considered as the best by many, in the Iwata Agricultural Research Center.
7 years later, 1n 2005, the cultivation was started in earnest in privately-owned fields under the guidance of such specialists such Mr. Miyata.

The rice stalks grow a lot thicker and nearer to each other than normal rice.

The Yaizu Sake Rice Research Association grouping 15 farmers grows more than 60% of this Yamada Nishiki Sake Rice under the name of Homare Fuji Sake Rice. Actually the same Association grows Homare Fuji Rice on 10.3 ha, Yamada Nishiki Rice on 5.6ha and Gohyakumangoku Rice on on 4.7 ha.
Homare Fuji Rice is presently grown by 31 farmers in 7 distinct areas across the whole Prefecture.
Moreover, 20 out 28 breweries presently produce some of their sake with Homare Fuji Sake Rice up to Junmai Ginjyou level.

Mr. Yuuji Miyata with Mr. Hiromi Ikegaya of the JA Ooigawa

It has become serious business as from this year the Yaizu JA Agricultural Association (governmental) will assume the responsibility for the sales of Homare Fuji Sake Rice grown in the Yaizu City area!

The personal help of Mr. Ryohei Miyake of the Shizuoka Prefecture Shida Haibara Agriculture & Forestry Bureau was certainly welcome to deal with all these farmers and JA representatives!
Messrs. Miyake and Miyata were kind enough to pick me up at Fujieda Station and take care of me for the whole day!
They took me to 3 different paddies including that of Mr. Muramatsu mentioned above and introduced me to the JA Ooigawa Representative and other personalities of the business!

In every paddy Mr. Miyata took out a rice stalk to painstakingly open it with his nails to show me the grains already developed inside and to tell me thus exactly when the rice would appear and would be harvested by the day!

The second paddy was that of Mr. Matsumura (20 acres), Higashi Mashizu, Yaizu City, where planting and harvesting events are regularly held!

Homare Fuji Sake Rice has two big qualities:
its stalks are shorter and harder and will not break under heavy winds, even those of typhoons. Moreover, their rice contains a lot less proteins than others, which allows for an exceptional maturing of sake!

Yaizu soil is of two types whether the fields are on the former bed of Ooigawa River with a high concentration of sand like the above-mentioned two paddies or of a clay type if closer to the mountains. Naturally the soil quality has to be taken in account for each paddy!

The Homare Fuji Rice stalks are comparatively short (25 cm shorter that those of Yamada Nishiki) , but the proportion of the leaves and bottom stalks (“saya”) are longer and the very foot (“fushi”) shorter and thicker.

The third paddy I was taken to is the “heart of the Homare Fuji Sake Rice” as Mr. Toshirhiro Umehara has taken charge of growing the rice for the grains only to be re-planted elsewhere for the last 3 years!

This 30-acre paddy is located in Hirajima in Fujieda City!

The grains will appear in about 10 days and the rice will be harvested in October!

This is rural Japan!

The men behind our regional sake, Mr. Yuuji Miyata and Mr. Toshihiro Umehara!

This is what is going to grow into full-fledged rice thanks to these farmers and later become the nectar of Japan (and Shizuoka Prefecture) thanks to our brewers!

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 Umeshu Tasting: Fuji-Takasago Brewery-Limited Edition Umeshu with Shizuoka Tea

Many Shizuoka Breweries have been creating umeshu of their own as a way to expand their range of already extravagant nectars!

Fuji-Takasago Brewery in Fujinomiya City not only made umeshu with their own sake and local Japanese plums, but they also added it local macha tea to it!
It is furthermore a very limited edition!

Fuji-Takasago Brewery’s “Diamond” mark!

Sake
Ume/Japanese plums
Shizuoka Macha Tea
Alcohol: 11 degrees

Clarity: Green cloudy
Color: Deep tea green
Aroma: fruity and sweet. Ume/Japanese plums and tea
Body: Liquorish
Taste: Very pleasant sweetish attack with typical umeshu taste.
Drier than expected. Turns even drier with second sip.
The macha tea is very distinctive but beautifully blends with the umeshu.
The macha tea will linger with a sweeter back note with further sips.

Overall: Soft liqueur impression.
Very feminine but unusual dryness will appeal to gentlemen too.
Best appreciated chilled as it will warm up quickly inside the palate revealing many facets.
In Europe would make for a beautiful aperitif!
Best drunk on its own as it would be a waste to mix with anything but ice!

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 Sake Tasting: Takashima Brewery-Hakuin Masamume Tokubetsu Honjozo Homare Fuji

Takashima Brewery in Numazu City has been extending its range of brews made with the Shizuoka-grown Homare Fuji Sake Rice into the Honjozo variety, that is sake which has been blended with pure rice alcohol.

Takashima Brewery-Hakuin Masamume Tokubetsu Honjozo Homare Fuji

Rice: Homare Fuji
Rice milled down to 60%
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled in April 2011

Clarity: Very clear.
Color: Transparent.
Aroma: Light, discreet, fleeting.
Dry. Custard, banana.
Body: Fluid.
Taste: Dry attack. Complex. Fruity: custard, pears, almonds.
Disappears quickly with a dry pear note.
More dry pears tend to linger with further sips.
Turns even fleeting with food.
Faint notes of coffee beans and plums appear later.

Overall: A dry sake evidently conceived to balance heavy food such as of an izakaya.
Easy to drink but very dry.
Probably best appreciated with food although quite pleasurable on its own.

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 Sake Tasting: Takashima Brewery: Hakuin ZEN Limited Yamahai Junmai Suntoh Yamada Nishiki

This is the second limited brew under the same generic name, “Hakuin Zen” that Takashima Brewery has produced this year to encourage local sake rice production.
Once again it was a limited edition, to no more than 300 bottles (720 ml)

Yamada Nishiki Sake Rice is probably the most famous of them all, and although it didn’t originate in Shizuoka Prefecture it can be grown here with very good results as proven by this Yamada Nishiki Sake Rice grown in Suntoh Gun near Numazu City.
The full name of this brew makes for another long staory!
Takashima Brewery-Hakuin “ZEN”, Special limmited Yamahai Junmai. Yamada Nishiki Sake Rice 100% grown in Suntoh!

Rice: Yamada Nishiki (100% Shizuoka Prefecture grown)
Rice milled down to 65%
Dryness: + 1.0
Acidity: 1.7
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Yeast: Shizuoka NEW-5
Production: 300 bottles (720 ml)
Bottled in May 2011

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Very faint golden hue
Aroma: Discreet, fleeting. Dry. Fruity: banana, dark cherries
Body: Fluid
Taste: Very dry attack but soft on tongue and palate.
Fruity and complex. Dry oranges, apricots with faint hints of coffee beans, dark chocolate, macadamia nuts and banana.
Disappears fairly quickly with more dry almonds and nuts.
Turns even drier with food.

Overall: An unusual sake but typical of Takashima Brewery.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed it on its own, does exceptionally marry well with food.
Very complex and fleeting.
Turns drier with food but doesn’t interfere with the latter.
The fact it is limited will make a few cry with envy!

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 Sake Tasting: Sanwa Brewery: Garyubai Ginjyou Hamare Fuji

Although Sanwa Brewery in Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City, has never used and probably never will use the Shizuoka-made yeasts, they nonetheless use many home-grown varieties of rice, especially Homare Fuji with which they come up with brews as high as junmai ginjyo!

The “Homare Fuji” banner.

This brew being a junmai (no alcohol blended in) genshu (no water added), it gives a fair indication of what to expect!

Rice: Homare Fuji
Rice milled down to 55%
Alcohol: 16~17 degrees
Dryness:+3
Acidity: 1.4
Bottled in July 2011

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Transparent
Aroma: Fruity, very dry: pineapple, banana. Alcohol and junmai characteristics
Body: Fluid
Taste: Strong junmai attack backed with strong and pleasant alcohol.
Complex and fruity. Custard, Macadamia nuts, almonds, oranges, dry plums.
Lingers for a while with very dry lychees and plums.
Apricots appear with the second and third sips.
Junmai petillant coming back strongly with food.
Marries welll with any food.

Overall: Brewers in Shizuoka Prefecture seem to have mastered the still new brand of Homare Fuji sake rice. They easily porduce as high as a level as Junmai Ginjyou with happy results.
This very brew, in spite of its strength, is particularly suited to food.
A sake for lovers of strong sake with a character!

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