The charm of sake is that it shows various faces according to what delicacies it’s combined with, its temperature, and the differences in the vessel in which it’s served. The harmonizing elegance it displays while bringing out the strengths of its partner foods is its distinctive characteristic.
While enjoying the “gentle tipsiness” unique to sake, how about searching for your preferred flavor? Time spent with sake brings a smile to one’s face without fail!
“Marriage, Drinks with the Family” is a section where Yoko Suganami, a sake specialist who has visited over 10 thousand restaurants both in Japan and abroad, introduces various local Seto Inland Sea region sakes, and what are in her view the best foods to go with them.
This time I selected an Okayama sake that you should definitely try!
Sakura Muromachi Bizen Maboroshi Omachi junmai by Muromachi Shuzo brewery:
In addition to the 4 main elements included in sake, 1) fragrance rate 2) umami rate 3) acidity rate 4) sweetness rate, the graph expresses the “rate of locality” (Setouchi rate) which I added to express how locally the rice and yeast utilized is sourced.
With a total of over 50, Okayama is in Japan’s top 10 prefectures in terms of number of breweries.
As well as being blessed with the ideal climate for brewing sake, Okayama prefecture also has the high quality water and fertile soil perfect for the raw materials. The area is a chief production area for Omachi rice, which is highly popular as brewer’s rice.
Apparently, sake brewed with Omachi rice is even more mellow and full-bodied than that made with Yamada Nishiki.
This time I will introduce Sakuramachi Bizen Maboroshi Omachi junmai, a sake awarded the MAX Setouchi rate as it’s made at Muromachi Shuzo’s brewery in Seto-cho, Okayama city, using 100% Omachi rice.
Marriage with food:
Along with a soft flavor, faint fragrance and gentle sweetness, today’s sake has the well-rounded flavor characteristic of Omachi rice.
As a combination for this sake, I recommend the marlin meunière.
Although the sake is full-bodied, it’s also soft and easy to drink even by itself, but as it is not too sweet, it makes a perfect accompaniment for this meal.
As you sip the sake, the flavor of the rice together with the gentle sweetness and deep flavor spread harmoniously within the mouth.
With creamy yet full-bodied dishes, the flavor is sure to be enhanced even further! And that’s why this time I chose to prepare a western-style dish. For the main ingredient I chose a soft-flavored white fish. In order to add deep flavor to the dish, I coated the fish lightly with wheat flour and fried it in butter.
Recommended Serving Temperature:
As I’d like you to enjoy this western-style dish made using butter as if you were having it with wine, I recommend serving the sake either chilled or at room temperature!
Choice of drinking vessel:
I poured the sake into a lipped cup and enjoyed the changes in its fragrance and temperature.
The vessel I chose is a piece of Okayama prefecture’s traditional Hagi ware.
The charms of Hagi ware include its simple color, how good it feels to the touch, as well as how the flavor becomes deeper with each use.
If you choose a lipped cup, you can experience breathing in the sake‘s fragrance as you would from a wine glass before pouring it in the actual sake cup. This allows you to appreciate the fragrance differently compared to just using a sake cup.
I chose a cup as I wanted to enjoy the fragrance of Omachi rice at this stage, too! In the case of chilled sake that has just been taken out of the refrigerator, its flavor will again change as it comes into contact with the air and the temperature becomes closer to normal.
This allows you also to relish the different faces of the sake as its mellow flavor increases.
Well then, let’s try it!
Stimulating the appetite, the sake‘s soft sweetness and deep flavor mix together with the full flavor of the fish and butter making it even richer. Supporting each other well, both the sake and the dish are gently flavored without too much assertion from either.
Complementing each other perfectly, the best sides of both parties are brought out more than they would be alone!
How about a trip to the Seto Inland Sea area to enjoy sake?
By searching for your preferred sake and delicious snacks, and choosing a wonderful vessel to drink it from, you will certainly find new sake flavors while increasing your appreciation of this wonderful beverage.
Setouchi Finder Photo-writers: Yoko Suganami & Makoto Esaki (Rainbow Sake Co., Ltd.)
Yoko Suganami Rainbow Sake, Inc. After an extended stay in Hawaii, in 2011, I returned to my hometown of Kure, Hiroshima. Having worked at advertising companies in both Japan and Hawaii, I founded Rainbow Sake - a PR company with the goal of spreading Sake abroad. I hope that sake will ""bring the people of the world together"" and that I can be a part of that. I often travel abroad, and mostly to Hawaii and Singapore. Every time I come back home, I rediscover the beauty of my hometown and the happiness the easygoing, calm, fresh and simple sea and mountains of Setouchi bring.
> A guided tour, including teatime, where you can see the former “Koshien Hotel” – “Frank Lloyd Wright type” architecture by Arata Endo. / Koshien Hall at Mukogawa Women’s University (Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo)
> Experience the ancient way of salt making on Kamikamagari-jima Island on the Tobishima Kaido in Aki-nada! / Kamagari Ancient Salt Making Remains Restoration Pavilion & “Amabito-no-Moshio” (Kure-shi, Hiroshima)
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