Tag Archives: Japanese Sake

Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Bandai Brewery-Junmai Ginjo Genshu Homare Fuji

Bandai Brewery is located in one of the most scenic cities of Shizuoka Prefecture, Izu Peninsula formerly called Shuzenji. The city has recently been included into a larger city called Izu City, but people and tourists certainly don’t mix the two when they say they are going to Shuzenji!
One can reach this city also famous for its hotsprings and Japanese inns by taking a local train from Mishima City.
When you go down at Shuzenji Station, don’t forget to visit the souvenir shop where you will find all the products of Bandai Brewery, including real wasabi shochu!

Bandai Brewery is one of the oldest breweries in the Prefecture and its history under other names can be traced back to the 16th Century!
Like most of the other sake breweries in Shizuoka Prefecture, it has started to use locally grown sake rice to ensure a stable output.

Rice: Homare Fuji 100% (grown in Shizuoka Prefecture)
Rice milled down to 60%
Dryness: +3
Alcohol: 16~17 degrees (genshu: no water added)
Bottled in July 2010

Clarity: very clear
Colour: faint golden hue
Aroma: Strong and fruity: banana, vanilla, hints of pineapple
Body: fluid
Taste: Strongish attack with junmai petillant and a lot of fruit. Warms back of the palate. Well-rounded backed up by pleasant alcohol.
Complex: banana, gum-candy, almonds with memories of coffee beans later.
Softens with food to turn dry again on its own.
Almonds and banana tend to follow each other alternatively.

Overall: A sake you might as well drink chilled as it is quite sweet in spite of a +3 dryness level (quite dry by Shizuoka standards).
One of those sake you can pour over an ice-cream!
Very pleasant. Tends to get drier with food.
Would very well accompany blue cheese like a Port wine, or being drunk as a digestif!

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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Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Yamanaka Brewery-Aoitenka Toubinkoi Muroka Junmai Ginjo

Yamanaka Brewery i not easy to access as it is far away from Kakegawa Station near the sea and one can reach only by bus, car and bicycle (not from Shizuoka City for the latter!)!
It is a fairly small establishement, although very well known, the more for it that its neighbour is the famous soy sauce brewery, Sakae!

This particular bottle was extravagant for many reasons.
The decoration was very original in the sense that the label on the bottle is actually made of cloth!
Coming into a great box with plenty of explanations, both the bottle and box are worth a collector’s attention.

The contents were also absolutely extravagant:
The real title is Yamanaka Shuzo/Yamanak Brewery, Aointenka (sake name), Tobinkoi (sake extracted drop by drop by being left hanging into sacke inside the tank and into a large glass jar), Muroka (unfiltered), Junami Ginjo (high premium with no alcohol added), Genshu (no pure water added), the whole meaning a completely untouched sake brew!

Now for the details:
Rice: Yamada Nishiki from Hyogo Prefecture
Rice milled down to 48% (high dai ginjo level!)
Yeast: 1401
Dryness: +2
Acidity: 1.7
Alcohol: 16~17 gegrees
Bottled in July 2010

Clarity: very clear
Colour: transparent
Aroma: Slghtly dry and very fruity. Almonds, coconuts with notes of pineapple. Extremely pleasant
Body: fluid
Taste: Very complex and fruity. Extremely pleasant and sophisticated.
Dry and fruity. Junmai petillant spreading over the back of the palate. Lingers on only a little.
Dry almonds, pineapple with hints of banana and vanilla.
Finishes on a very dry almond note, but turns a little sweetish with food. Later on reveals faint notes of dark chocolate and cofee beans.

Overall: Simply extravagant, although its pricetag is ridiculously cheap (that is for that quality!). The rice millage would be of another plane elsewhere!
Sophisticated, lmost “feminine” in spite of high alcohol content.
Best appreciated lightly chilled or at room temperature.
Personally the best aperitif one can come across!

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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Japanese Gastronomic BBQ in Mariko

Suruga Beef!

BBQ’s are probably the most common way of enjoying great company with great food and great drinks in the whole world even if you are a teetoller or vegan!

And Japan is no exception!
Now, BBQ’s in Shizuoka can turn into extravagant affairs if they organised by local chefs, sake brewmasters and farmers using only local ingredients!

To make a long story shorter, we found about 30 of us last Sunday noon in Mariko, a site famed as one of the stages along the old Tokaido Road used by travellers in the Edo Era.
Being organized by Japanese, it was all very precise and delightful.
For 60 US $ (including drinks) per adult a BBQ site (20 US $ included in the total fee) was rented just beside Sanko/山幸 restaurant up in the nearby mountain.

Sanko Restaurant entrance. Very Japanese!

Beautiful flower arrangement/Ikebana/活花 at the entrance!

Side entrance to the inner garden and facilities (important with all those drinks!)

The event had been organised under the auspices of Nagashima Sake Store in Shizuoka and its owner, Takahiro Nagashima/長島隆博 (far right).

All the sake had been brewed by Brewmaster Takashima San/高島さん of Takashima Brewery in Numazu City. Incidentally that gentleman ,even with a glass in hand, would not be easily overwhelmed as he holds a 5th dan (Black Belt) in judo!

All the sake served was clearly advertized!

The Japanese, even during a BBQ, once they are seated, move only to get their food or drinks (unless a willing lady or subaltern is on hand!), but being an uncouth foreigner, I kept moving around! LOL

Kenya Yoshimura/吉村健哉, owner/chef at Uzu Restaurant, Shizuoka City, needed a baseball horn to make himself heard when announcing the festivities!

Now for the vegetarians and vegans: all these vegetables had been prepared beforehand by Kenya Yoshimura with organic vegetables coming from Matsuki Biofarm in Shibakawa Cho at the foot of Mount Fuji!

Other carefully chosen vegetables had been provided by Takeo Shimura/志村剛生, chef/owner of Narusei Tempura Restaurant in Shizuoka City!

Now for the beef!
All Suruga Beef/駿河牛, carefully chosen and provided by Shigeharu Sano/佐野茂治, chef/owner at Kamoshibito Restaurant in Shizuoka City.
This particular beef, as good as Kobe beef, comes from from animals exclusively bred in Shizuoka Prefecture!

Da the Men! Shigeharu Sano and Kenya Yoshimura!

Shigeharu Sano at work!

Don’t you want to board the next bullet train to Shizuoka City!

Or the next plane? LOL

This being Japan, all is cut beforehand for you!

Now, whatever the occasion, the Japanese will go not without their soup!
This very soup was extravagant as prepared (with other things, pork liver in particular!) by Yuusuke Toozaki/登崎雄介, chef/owner at Hana Oto Restaurant in Shizuoka City.
It was made with miso, vegetables and mangenton/万言豚 pork, exclusively raised in Shizuoka Prefecture!

Now, this gentleman, Toshiaki Horie/堀江利彰 came all the way from the Amagi Mountains/天城山 in Izu Peninsula/伊豆半島 to bring Shamo Chicken/軍鶏 he bred himself until 4-month old with the best feed and environment available in his farm.
Enormous chicken! Look at that neck!

Not only he brought them, but went through the cutting demonstration no less than 3 times!

Although revellers kept at the safe distance lots of questions were asked and most amiably answered!

That knife was flying, I can tell you!

Et voila! All cut and ready. All in less than 3 minutes!

Oh, I forgot to tell you:
All the meat, beef, pork, chicken and some vegetables were exclusively grilled over charcoal!

Now, are you convinced than a mere BBQ can be called gastronomic?

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope; Jacqueline Church; The Foodonymph (in Dubai!); Alchemy, Simple Ingredients, magical Food (in Ireland!); Curious Foodie; Mr. Foodie (London/UK)

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Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Fuji-Takasago Brewery/Takasago Yamahai Junmai Hiyaoroshi

It’s been some time since I tasted a sake from Fuji-Takasago Brewery in Fujinomiya City.
Since September is the time to taste the Hiyaoroshi sake/sake taht has been sterelized only once, it is such an embarrssment of choices, but I opted for this brewery as it is slightly unusual in Shizuoka refecture.

The real title for this particular sake is “Takasago Yamahai Shikomi Junmai Shu Hiyaoroshi Namatsume”!
Meaning: Takasago (main name) Yamahai Shikomi (old style brewing) Junmai Shu (Junmai=no alcohol added) Hitaoroshi Namatsume (bottled without a second sterilization.
On top of this it is a genshu/no water added!

Fuji-Takasago Brewery/Takasago Yamahai Junmai Hiyaoroshi

Rice: Yamada Nishiki 100% (Hyogo Prefecture)
Riced milled down to 55% (extravagant!)
Alcohol: 16~17 degrees (genshu)
Dryness: -3 (sweet for Shizuoka)
Bottled in September 2010

Clarity: very clear
Colour: Faint golden hue
Aroma: Strong, very fruity: bananas, vanilla, sweet ornages
Body: Fluid
Taste: Strong attack with a lot of junmai “petillant”, sweetish.
Complex: Macadamia nuts, bananas, oranges, vanilla.
Warms back of the palate for some time. Lingers for a while with very dry almonds backed up by oranges and vanilla.
Sweet by Shizuoka standards at first approach but dries up quickly.

Overall: A sake that can be greatly enjoyed chilled or at room temperature.
Great as a sweetish aperitif or in lieu of a port wine.
Strikes a great marriage with choclate or blue cheese.
Chilled, can be drunk as a dessert drink! Would do excellently poured over ice-cream!

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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Sashimi Plate at Sushi-Ko (’09/12/12)

When I go for sushi with the Missus, we invariably visit Sushi Ko in Sushi Ko.
I just can’t enumerate all the good reasons for visiting this sushi restaurant.
It is the best deal in town when it comes to quality, freshness, prices and service. Full stop.

To cut a long story short (no pun intended) here what we ordered as sashimi to start our meal:

-Bottom left: honmaguro/blue fin tuna from Oma (Aomori Prefecture), chu-toro/semi-fat part.
-Top left: O-toro/belly fat part of same fish
-Bottom rcentre: Aori Ika/Great FinReef Squid from Suruga Bay in Shizuoka Prefecture.
-Bottom right: Akami/lean part rom same tuna.

Notice the shiso/perilla flowers, grated wasabi from Shizuoka and wakame seaweed at the back!

Kinmeidai/gold eye seabream from Izu penisula in Shizuoka Prefecture.

For what we had for the rest of the meal (a large one!) check Shizuoka Sushi Blog!

Sushi Ko
shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae-cho. 2-3-1 (Aoba Koen)
Tel.: 054-2512898
Business Hours: 17:00~25:00. 17:00~23:00 (Sundays)
Closed on Wednesdays
Reservations recommended
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Bread + Butter, Comestilblog, Greedy Girl, Bouchon For 2, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Mangantayon, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles, Lexi, Culinary Musings, Eats and Everything, Bite Me New England, Heather Sweet, Warren Bobrow, 5 Star Foodie, Frank Fariello, Oyster Culture, Ramendo, Alchemist Chef, Ochikeron, Mrs. Lavendula, The Gipsy Chef, Spirited Miu Flavor,
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

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Sashimi Plate at Tomii (’09/12/04)

I suppose I do not need to introduce Tomii again as it is my favourite Japanese restaurant in the whole of Shizuoka Prefecture!
To make a long story short, I paid them a visit last night on my way back from university before going home.

I was not that hungry, so I just ordered “o-tsukuri/sashimi plate”.

From left to right:
Yellow carrot, Suzuki/black bass, various sprouts, Kyoto ninjin/Kyoto re carrot, Aka Ika/red squid, shiso/perilla flowers and beni shigure daikon/red daikon variety.

For a clsoer view of thefresh vegetables!

From left to right:
Kan buri/Winter yelowtail on shiso/perilla leaf, Uni/seaurchin under a slice beni daikon/red daikon and bachmaguro/tuna variety.

I had sake with all that of course.

I particularly enjoyed a new brew by Doi Brewery in Kakegawa City:

Doi Brewery: Kaiun Junmai
Rice: Oyamanishiki
Rice milled down to 60%
Alcohol: 15 degrees
Dryness: +4
Acidity: 1.5
Amino acids: 1.2
Bottled in March 2009

Clarity: very clear
Colour: faint golden hue
Aroma: Fresh, discreet, feminine, fruity. Memories of vanilla, banana and pineapple.
Body: velvety
Taste: Soft attack. Well-rounded. Short tail.
Pleasant, fleeting, feminine, sophisticated.
Fruity and dry, but very smooth.
Pineapple, soft citruses
Junmai tingle appears with food with a late appearance by almonds.
Very soft and fleeting finish with more dry almonds.

Overall: Extravagant, sophisiticated, fleetingly feminine are not exaggerated descriptions for this sake, the last created by Master Brewer hase who passed away in 2009.
Now, how would you drink it?
With your love? as an extravagant aperitif? Or on your own away from the bustle of everyday life….

TOMII
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg, 1F
Tel.: 054-274-0666
Business hours: 17:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Bread + Butter, Comestilblog, Greedy Girl, Bouchon For 2, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Mangantayon, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles, Lexi, Culinary Musings, Eats and Everything, Bite Me New England, Heather Sweet, Warren Bobrow, 5 Star Foodie, Frank Fariello, Oyster Culture, Ramendo, Alchemist Chef, Ochikeron, Mrs. Lavendula, The Gipsy Chef, Spirited Miu Flavor,
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

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

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Vegan and Vegetarian Ultimate Drink: Japanese Sake!


The Japan Blog List

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I’m persuaded many vegans and vegetarians all over the World like their drinks!
The fact is that they may some reservations as whether their drink qualify as far as their culinary priorities prevail.
For example, do you know that many wines (don’t misunderstand me, I love me my wine!) are still filtered in the traditional way with egg whites?

On the other hand, (good/unfortunately there is not so good, too…) Japanese sake is exclusively made with rice, pure water and vegetal yeast. That is all! Sometimes, brewers will use lactic acid to help with preservation, but it is also of vegetal origin.
Some brewers (not many, only 13 of them in the whole of Japan) like Aoshima Brewery in Fujieda City, Shizuoka Prefecture will go as far as making organic sake with rice grown organically!

The (simplified) process of making sake is as follows:

-Rice millage/polishing: the rice will be milled down carefully as the starches are concentrated in the middle of the grain contrarily to edible rice. The more the rice is polished, the higher quality of the sake.
-Washing and soaking: the rice is washed and then soaked in pure water.
-Steaming: the rice is then steamed and left to cool on large pieces of absolutely clean cloth.
-Production of koji/malted rice: some rice is malted with Aspergillus oryzae mold
-Yeast starter: malted rice, regular steamed rice and pure water are mixed in a vat to which is added a culture of pure yeast cells. The latter is one the main ingredients which will differentiate all sake in taste, aroma and other characteristics. The wole is called “moto” or “origin/root” of the sake.
-Moromi and sandan shikomi: moromi is is the “moto” transferred to a larger vat where rice, malted rice and pure water are added. This is done in three steps, “sandan shikomi”, for a gradual and even process.
This is left to ferment for eighteen to thirty-two days.This step will also define the characteristics of the sake.
-Pressing: it is done in many ways, depending on the quality of the sake
-Filtering: The brewer will choose to filter it or not through various processes.
-Pasteurization: Most sake is pasteurized as “nama”/unpasteurized sake has to be kept at low temperature, making it very difficult to export. A pity, as this is “true sake”!
-At this time, pure water may be added to the “genshu” (unaltered sake) to lower the alcohol content, and also pure rice acohol for a different type of sake.

(Simplified) List of Sake types:

-Futsushu/”normal sake”: made with rice milled/polished down to 80% (that is, 20% will be polished off). Can be rotgut or incredibly good sake depending on millage, equipment and ingredients.
-Junmai/”pure rice”: made with rice milled to 70% or lower. No alcohol was added.
-Junmai Ginjo: made with rice milled down to 60% or lower. No alcohol wa added.
-Junmai Daiginjo: made from rice milled down to 50% or lower. No alcohol was added.
-Honjozo: made with rice milled to 70% or lower. Alcohol was added.
-Ginjo: made with rice milled to 60% or lower. Alcohol was added.
-Daiginjo: made with rice milled to 50% or lower. Alcohol was added.

In the case of Shizuoka Prefecture, futsushu is usually made from rice milled down to 70~65%, junmai and honjozo, 60 t0 50%, junami Ginjo and ginjo, 50~40%, junmai daiginjo and daiginjo, 40~…%.

Tere are other intermediary “appelations” such as Tokubetsu (special) Junmai and Tokubetsu Honjozo, Yamahai, etc…

“Nama” means “unpasteurized, “genshu”, unaltered sake, “muroka”, unfiltered, as for most commonly used added indications.

Incidentally, sake powder resulting from polishing will be used for Japanese-style cakes or animal feed depending on quality. “Sake kasu”/white lees which are left after pressing and filtering are used to make “amazake”, “Sake kasu nabe”, pickles and so on!

For a thorough study of Japanese sake, read John Gautner’s website or buy his books. John is the universally recognized non-japanese authority on Sake!

Must-see sake blogs:
-If you live in the Us, and particularly New York, visit Timothy Sullivan’s blog!
-If you live in Tokyo or Japan visit Melinda Joe and Etsuko Nakamura‘s blogs!
-If you want to know ALL about one region’s sake and sake breweries, visit Shizuoka Sake!

Cheers, Kampai!