月別アーカイブ: 2018年10月

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Pairing Sake with Food Based on Science

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In Western cuisine, cheese and butter are commonly used ingredients and dishes made with butter and cheese are known to pair well with fruity aroma wine. But did you know that sake also pairs well with Western food? There is a scientific explanation for that!

There are two main types of butter, the cultured butter created by adding live bacteria which has a refreshing and rich flavor with noticeable acidity, and regular churned butter which has a neutral taste which is one of the reasons why cooks and bakers prefer using it. There is also margarine which is made from vegetable oil.  To make it solid, food scientists chemically change their structure using a process known as hydrogenation. Then flavorings, salt and emulsifiers are added into the margarine.

The aroma of butter is made up of lactic acid, acetic acid, diacetyl, alcohols and the like produced by lactic acid bacteria during the fermentation process. In addition, propionic acid, caproic acid, butyric acid, capric acid form a deep and rich flavor. Advances in analytical methods have revealed that vanillin, dimethyl sulfide, methylbutanal and the like are also involved in fragrance.

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Natural cheese is made by adding rennet to milk and solidifying it. Lactic acid fermentation of this coagulation ingredient, and processed cheese made by dissolving several kinds of natural cheese and heating and dissolving it. Natural cheese is divided into soft cheese (soft cheese with aged surface, soft cheese aged to medium), semi-hard cheese, hard cheese, blue cheese, etc. The aromatic ingredients of natural cheese has components transferred from raw milk and components produced by various microorganisms such as enzymes and lactic acid bacteria in protein and lactose, milk fat during maturation. However, components that have undesirable odor are also produced (ketones, amines, volatile fatty acids, volatile sulfur-containing compounds, aldehydes, etc.)

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Organic acids contained in sake (mainly acetic acid) make the sharp taste of lactic acid contained in cheese feel as a mellow taste. While sake paired with butter gives you a smooth taste and alcohol in sake has a function to alleviate the greasiness. Furthermore, the esters contained in the sake mask the odor of fatty acids such as undesirable butyric acid contained in butter. Sake, which contains alcohols such isobutyl alcohol, isoamyl alcohol and phenethyl alcohol, has fruity scent and esters such furfural with fruity scent that help alleviate the unwanted smell of diacetyl and sulfur compounds in cheese.

Therefore, we recommend pairing cheese with sake for a new taste experience. Please try this recipe below!

Method:

1. Cut a well-chilled mozzarella cheese into bite size pieces.

2. Pour a little bit of Konbu Ponzu on mozzarella cheese.

3. Enjoy while drinking Eikun Junmai Ginjo Koto Sennen chilled!

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How to Pair Beer with Food – Echigo Koshihikari and Age Gobo

Pairing Beer and Food

When it comes to pairing food and beer, there aren’t many strict rules that you must follow. Trying new and unique pairings can be interesting, and there aren’t many pairings that will clash and taste bad. However, if you want to get the most out of your pairing and enhance the flavor of the food, try to keep these four points in mind:

Contrast – Pairing food with beer that has a contrasting flavor might be risky, but it can lead to a good outcome if done correctly. To do so, you want to pick a beer or dish that has one strong, dominant flavor, such as sweet, rich, or oily. For example, the strong, briny flavor of oysters can stand up to the rich and chocolate-like flavor of the stout.

Complement – It is a simple way to pair beer and food. Match rich foods with beers that have a heavy and rich flavor (stouts or porters). Go for light-tasting salads or fish with light beers. Fruit beers, sweet beers with added fruit can make for great dessert pairings.

Cleanse – You can also use your beer to cleanse your palate. This type of pairing is ideal for dishes that have strong or overpowering flavors, spicy or fatty fried foods. For example, a nice pairing would be a light beer with spicy chicken, as the refreshing beer provides needed relief from the spiciness. This pairing also works in the opposite way, and you can use fatty foods (such as chips or nuts) to subdue the bitterness of an IPA.

Avoid Overpowering – Be aware the levels of flavor in your food and beer. Many medium and dark beers have a rich and powerful flavor that can overpower certain types of food. If you have delicate food and intense beer, you are going to lose the flavor of the food.

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Recommended Pairing

Light beers are best known for their pale yellow color and refreshing taste. This style of beer is also one of the most versatile, pairing well with a variety of dishes. Light lagers are among the palest type of beer, and they are well known for their crisp and refreshing taste. Most light lagers do not have a strong flavor, and they rarely have bitterness. Because light lagers have such a refreshing flavor, they are ideal for pairing with spicy dishes. The crisp and clean taste of such beer can subdue the spiciness of the food and provide much needed relief from the heat.

Our recommendation for Japanese lager is Echigo Koshihikari Beer which is the flagship brand of Echigo Brewery. It is a rice lager with 5% alcohol. While the malt ingredient is imported from Europe, the rice is harvested literally from the backyard of Echigo Brewery. Though this beer is categorized as being dry, the brewery uses the time-consuming German decoction method to bring out the natural sweet flavor from the Niigata grown Koshihikari rice, which can appeal even to those who do not like dry beer.

It’s a pale golden color that comes out of the bottle, with a strong head that quickly fades. It has a slightly acidic tang to the regular lager flavor, but it is not too overpowering. The beer has a crisp and refreshing flavor, and exceptionally soothing and smooth quality. The sweet aroma of rice, and eloquent fragrance of hops, make it the perfect complement to any dish.

Since spicy dish would be a perfect match this beer, please try pairing with this Sweet Chili Sauce Fried Gobo Wrapped in Lettuce. The rice lager will complement the light tasting lettuce, and it will cleanse your palate from the spicy taste of chili sauce. Please follow this simple recipe for a perfect match!

Ingredients

1 pack of Sozai Age Gobo
8 leaves of lettuce
1・1/2 Tbsp sweet chili sauce
A pinch of chili flakes

Method

1. Cook Sozai Age Gobo lightly in a pan, then add sweet chili sauce and chili flakes.
2. Remove from the heat.
3. Wrap gobo pieces into lettuce and enjoy while sipping on Echigo Koshihikari Beer!

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The Science of Pairing Sake with Food. Asabiraki Namacho and Izumidai Sashimi

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The combability of sake and food is very much related to the components of umami and acids, sweetness, saltness, fat content both in food and sake. Fragrance components contained in food and sake also play and important role in pairing them well. The aroma of fermented liquors and distilled liquors is especially related to the aroma of foods and it is the factor when it comes to pairing sake with foods.

The fishy smell in seafood comes mainly from trimethylamine. Trimethylamine is alkaline so adding acidic foods (seasonings) such as miso or soy sauce and citrus flavors neutralizes and subdues the fishy smell. Sake also contains organic acid and is acidic enough to neutralize the fishy odor and that is one of the reasons why raw fish pairs so well with sake. Another reason is that both fish and sake contain amino acid components known as umami, which makes this combination even better.

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That is why we recommend pairing sake with solid umami bonds with raw or lightly seared fish. Asabiraki Namacho has a rich umami taste so it is our recommended sake for pairing with sashimi. Asabiraki Namacho is a very fresh semi dry sake which has been stored under 0° in a cool room and only pasteurized once just before the bottling. It is a fresh sake as at its birth. Since this Namacho sake only goes through one pasteurization, the result is a very aromatic, fruity and rich taste. A deep, intense flavor that smoothly fades on the palate for a dry, clean finish.

Asabiraki Namacho falls into honzojo category sakes. Only a very small amount of distilled alcohol is added to the sake to the final stage of moromi (fermentation mash). This is done for several reasons.  Many brewers believe that the addition of the distilled alcohol brings out more fragrance and rounds out the flavors of the sake. Drinkers believe the distilled alcohol lightens the flavor  making it more drinkable than its junmai counterparts. Sake connoisseurs may believe that junmai is the superior form of sake, but honjozo is also considered premium sake, since the rice polishing must be at least 70% just as in junmai. Today, honjozo sake retains still its popularity among brewers and sake lovers.

The food pairing we recommend is Izumidai sashimi grade frozen Tilapia fillet. It has a similar quality with Tai (Red Seabream). It doesn’t have a skin or bones and is ready to use. Also, it leaves almost no food waste at all. This product is low in saturated fat, calories, carbohydrates, sodium and a good source of protein. It also contains vitamin D, vitamin B12 and potassium.

Enjoy this combination of Asabiraki Namacho and Izumidai Sashimi!

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Saiya Shuzo – sake made with a unique brewing process

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Brewery Introduction

Saiya is a sake brewery based in Akita, northern Japan. Founded in 1903, the Saiya Brewery is one of the most award-winning breweries at the Japanese National Sake Competition. In the past fifteen years of the competition, the brewery has won an astonishing ten gold medals. Mr. Toichi Takahashi, their brew master, has been recognized by the Emperor of Japan as a cherished craftsman. Mr Takahashi has been the brewer master since 1984 and is inarguably the main deviser of Saiya Brewey. He believes in using all local ingredients and does not like to interfere much with the brewing process.

Saiya Brewery doesn’t allow high demand to speed up their production. The brewery has always put a strong focus on using their own in-house yeast and milling rice properly. Saiya Brewery was the first brewery in Akita prefecture to culture its own yeast. By isolating and re-culturing the healthy and hardworking yeast out of moromi (fermenting mash) tanks, the master brewer has discovered a strain of yeast that can survive under a strenuous environment of low temperature and higher alcohol content as the fermentation progresses in the tank.

The sake they brew follows a strict discipline to achieve the finest quality. The brewers do all they can to insure a healthy and clean environment and a strong and consistent effort in brewing. Their sake doesn’t take on a strong aroma, instead it has a strong aftertaste known as fukumi. To achieve this, it takes carefully calculated time and requires brewing at low temperatures without exposure to air. This way the aroma of the yeast blends beautifully into sake.

Saiya Brewery is the first ASAC-approved (an accredited organic certification body in Japan) organic brewery in Japan. The brewery is kept spotlessly clean and is free of chemical disinfectants, which allows the significant inclusion of every living organism in the brewing process. Coupled with Saiya’s unique brewing process, this certification further elevates the brewery’s acclaimed status as a producer of outstanding sake.

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Recommendation

Yuki No Bosha is the most well-known brand from Saiya Brewery. It is known for its pronounced aroma, silky and balanced body, clean acidity, and rich umami and, and it has won the Gold Medal at the Annual New Sake Competition more than anyone else in Akita. Yuki No Bosha which literally means “Cabin in the Snow,” is a celebration of the northern, Akita region of Japan. Rustic, rugged and rural Akita prefecture is cherished by the Japanese for its lively festivals, tranquil winter and delicious sake.

Yukinobousha Junmai Ginjo is one of the best products from this brewery. It has beautiful fruity Ginjo fragrance. It is very clean and subtle on your palate with a slightly dry finish. This is the perfect sake if you are seeking the quality fruity Junmai Ginjo.

Bottled without an addition of water, and without filtration with charcoal/micro-paper, Yuki No Bosha sake is highly aromatic, laden with pleasant acidity, clean alcohol and rich umami on palate. It is a superb sake that has ripe fruit tones including strawberries and mangos that dance in a silky and clean flow. The softness of this Junmai Ginjo and the vivid acidity are muted by a fruitiness without being sweet. A tremendous treat for those looking for a fruity experience but don’t want too sweet!

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