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8月20日、利き酒会 をしました!

Sasuga Japanese Academy has held KIKIZAKE-KAI日本酒マリアージュ: Nihonshu Mariage,which is the paring of sake and food. on August 20, 2019 at Restaurant HANABI in Arlington, VA.

We had a wonderful night over all. We had great sake and food. After the event, in the traditional Japanese fashion, most of the participants had a yummy bowl of HANABI’s iconic Tonkotsu ramen. Sharing with such lovely company made this event very fun and successful. Thank you all!

We would like to especially thank Mr. Hisatsune who is the owner and the chef of the restaurant HANABI for letting us have this wonderful opportunity.

We met at the restaurant at 5:30pm, greeted each other and asked how have they been. Then after having brief introduction about Japanese rice wine; the process of brewing and type of Japanese rice wines, we started the tasting. Here is the detail of the event and sake + food choices.

Nihonshu Mariage

  • Sawa Sawa with ごま豆腐:Goma-Dofu: black sesame flavored Tofu

Prefecture : Nara

Type : Sparkling Nigori , sweet

Temperature: chill

A bubbly beverage is a perfect starter for a fun party. Unlike regular sparkling, this unique sparkling Nigori has a slight milky color; Nigori means opaque or not clear. It is known that Nigori goes well with Tofu. Tonight we paired homemade Black Sesame Tofu with this unique sparkling sake. The depth and richness of black sesame and Sawa Sawa’s mild sweetness was absolutely a new sensation and a successful mariage.

  • Hakushika Chokara with 豚角煮:Buta Kakuni: braised pork belly

Prefecture: Hyogo

Type: Junmai, dry (Chokara means extreme dry )

Temperature: chill

Hakushika is one of the 5 main 酒蔵Sakagura ( brewers) that use for their sake the special local spring water called “灘の宮水:Nada no Miyamizu “. Most water in Japan is soft; Nada no Miyamizu is hard water that contains salt from magnesium in addition to calcium. Accordingly, sakes from this area have been known as男酒 Otoko-sake for their richness and crispness. Sake lovers think that 辛口Kara-kuchi ( dry ) type sakes are a good match with strong-flavored food. This time we paired Chokara with a delicious sweet and salty homemade pork dish. The pork, which melted in the mouth, drew out the rich Junmai’s pure rice flavor even more.

  • Atsukan with タコぬた:Tako-Nuta : Boiled octopus with miso and sweet vinegar sauce

Prefecture : Hyogo

Type: Junmai

Temperature: hot

We had a couple of strong supporters, including myself, of 熱燗Atsukan- hot sake.

Midsummer is a strange time to drink hot sake. But we broke with tradition because Hanabi’s genius chef prepared Tako-Nuta, the Japanese authentic 酒の肴Sake no Sakana* which pairs perfectly with hot sake. Just as expected, Tako-nuta’s sweetness of vinegar miso with the hint of yellow mustard was an exquisite match with the throat to stomach soothing hot sake.

Sake no* sakana is a snack eaten as a side dish when drinking alcohol.

  • Dassai 50 with 鶏の南蛮漬:Tori no Nanban-zuke : fried chicken marinated in vinegar sauce

Prefecture: Yamaguchi

Type: Junmai Daiginjo

Temperature: chill

This most celebrated sake must have been at the forefront of today’s Japanese sake boom. In the past few years, Dassai was Introduced through the stylish tasting events or by restaurants with stars in the world beyond Japan. Unlike other Daiginjo kinds which have distinctive aromas and fragrances, Dassai 50’s flowery honey- like aroma goes amazingly well with various type of foods. We paired this chilled Daiginjo with marinated deep fried chicken. Dassai 50 is firm and powerful sake. It is enjoyable both with and without food.

We look forward to having next KIKIZAKE-KAI in winter time!


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