月別アーカイブ: 2021年4月

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Have You Ever Been to Mie Prefecture?

Have You Ever Been to Mie Prefecture?

Abundant with nature, Mie Prefecture is a popular tourism destination and is a wonderful place to enjoy sightseeing and food through every season. It is home to the Ise Jingu, Japan’s holiest shrine, dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu. However, Ise Jingu is just one of a wide variety of activities Mie tourists can enjoy.

Those who have been to Mie prefecture might might have visited places such as Iga Ueno Castle and the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum,  which is one of the only places in Japan where you can experience authentic ninja culture. You will also find a wide range of leisure attractions, such as Nagashima Spa Land, one of Japan’s best amusement parks, the Suzuka Circuit, a racetrack that hosts the F1 Japan Grand Prix and 8-hour endurance races, and Toba Aquarium, which boasts more species than any other in Japan. While enjoying the local delicacies, such as Matsusaka beef , Ise-ebi (lobster), and buffet type restaurants of all-you-can-eat oysters, perhaps you have had a glass of refreshing umeshu from CHOYA.

CHOYA is located in Mie and Osaka, where it first started as a wine-grape grower in 1914. Later in 1959 CHOYA began producing umeshu, a traditional Japanese ume fruit liqueur. Today CHOYA is the top umeshu producer in the world. Their mission is to produce and promote the finest umeshu made from natural ingredients.
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Fusion of Umeshu and Premium Green Tea 

The Choya Ujicha Umeshu is umeshu that that combines the traditional Japanese beverage “tea” and the traditional liqueur “umeshu”. The ingredients are carefully selected Uji tea leaves from Kyoto with a fresh aroma and umeshu with an elegant flavor.
The packaging is a cylindrical bottle that resembles a bamboo tube, with a delicate gradation of green, the color of tea, to express the luxurious and calm impression of this Green Tea Umeshu. The refreshing aroma of Uji green tea, elegant sweetness, and crisp aftertaste will appeal to a wide range of people, regardless of gender, as an alcoholic beverage.

Choya uses their original manufacturing method called Komireisen that brings out the original sweet and refreshing scent of Uji tea. When Uji tea is brewed in umeshu, it is slowly extracted at a low temperature to suppress the astringency that comes out when tea is brewed at high temperatures.

Drink it chilled straight or on the rocks!

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Fuhito Sake Shochu: Fusion of Sake Fermentation and Shochu Distillation

 Jojima is One of the Famous Sake Districts in Japan

Along with Hyogo Prefecture’s Nada District and Kyoto’s Fushimi District, Fukuoka’s Jojima is an area well known for its sake. It boasts some of Japan’s most well-known sake breweries, and it is described as one of Japan’s major sake-producing regions. Blessed with the rich waters of the Chikugo River, large grain Chikugo rice, aromatic Hita (Oita Prefecture) cedar, and the convenience of a water transportation system, Jojima has long thrived as a sake producing region.

As sake that has been brewed with meticulous care over the winter months starts to release rich aromas, in February to March, the season of the new brews, the sake breweries open up to the public and every February a festival is held in Jojima where you can visit various breweries and sample their sake for free (or at minimal price). Jojima Sake Festival is Kyushu’s largest Japanese sake event, attracting some 100,000 visitors.
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Hiyokutsuru Shuzo is one of the breweries located in the famous sake district of Jojima. The flying crane symbol is the family crest used by the Kamachi clan of Yanagawa, the ancestors of the brewery. The Kamachi clan was a clan in Chikugo Province (current Fukuoka prefecture) that was active in Yanagawa from the Kamakura period to the Warring States period. Having such a rich history, Hiyokutsuru Shuzo certainly excels in the quality department as well. As a brewery with more than 120 years of sake brewing experience, they are experts at making a truly local sake, using only local ingredients such as water from the Chikugo River and locally grown rice.
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The Unique Sake Shochu

It is an authentic shochu unique to sake breweries in Japan, made with sake koji (yellow rice malt) and sake yeast, and brewed in three stages just like sake. It is a unique liqour made by fusing the fermentation technology of sake and the distillation technology of shochu. This rice shochu has a refreshing aroma similar to that of Japanese sake, while its taste is a good balance of mildness and sweetness.  It is best served on the rocks.

The craftsmanship that has been cultivated over the years shines through in the taste of this shochu. If you like sake, but have not tried shochu yet, this will be a good first shochu!

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Angelica Noichigo no Koi: A Mysterious and Romantic Liqueur

Kagura Shuzo

Kagura Shuzo began making shochu in Miyazaki Prefecture’s Takachiho Town, known as the birthplace of Japanese mythology, in 1954.

Takachiho is a town in northern Miyazaki Prefecture that is steeped in Japanese mythology. It is the supposed site of legend where Amaterasu, the Shinto Sun Goddess, became so outraged by her brother’s cruel pranks that she hid herself in a cave until the other gods and goddesses lured her out. Takachiho is also said to be where Ninigi no Mikoto, Amaterasu’s grandson, was to have landed when he was sent down from heaven to create the earthy Japanese emperors.

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Kagura Shuzo are mostly known for their premium shochu, and not only do they continue to make the fine shochu they have always made, but they are also actively working to develop new products, keeping in mind the needs of the times. The brewery also focuses on proposing delicious ways of drinking and new ways of enjoying alcoholic beverages.

One of their unique creations is a mysterious liqueur made with wild strawberries.

A Mysterious Liqueur That Changes Color

Noichigo no Koi (literally “wild strawberry love”) is based on authentic barley shochu and has a moderate sweetness and wild strawberry flavor. It is a mysterious liqueur that turns a pink color when water is added. Enjoy it with water or hot water, and you’ll see the color turn from amber to pink. Add 3 droplets of lemon juice and mix with a muddler to bring it back to amber.

The sweet aroma of wild strawberries and the mild sweetness will give you that warm feeling. The name comes from the fact that the color changes like a heart that is falling in love. How romantic! If you drink it on the rocks, the ice will gradually melt and the area around the ice will turn pink. It creates a fantastic atmosphere.

This is a also a healthy drink with tons of fiber made with aged shochu and other natural ingredients including wild strawberry yeast. It contains oligosaccharide that will help intestinal regulation.

We recommend trying Noichigo no Koi on a special occasion with your significant other. This will certainly add a romantic touch to the evening dinner!

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Yuzu Products Selection

Yuzu – a Versatile Citrus Fruit Used in Food and Beverages and Beauty Products

Japan has an impressive assortment of citrus fruit, with the long list including fruit such sudachi, kabosu, shikwasa, jabara, kinkan, daidai, busshkan, and banpeiyu, and, of course, yuzu. These highly acidic fruits, which are valued for their aroma,  are mostly utilized as flavouring or finishing touch, rather than eating.

Among these, yuzu has an especially long and renowned history of utilization in fine Japanese cooking, due to its remarkable aroma. However, outside of Kochi Prefecture, which produces around 50% of all the yuzu grown in Japan, use was quite restricted until the 1970s. Only the zest was utilized, to impart its fragrance to specific dishes, and only in the past few decades that the entire fruit has started to be utilized. The juice and mash have arisen as popular ingredient in various dishes and desserts.

A myriad of products can be made from this little fruit: the juice, of course, but also liqueur, tea, jam, ponzu, miso, vinegars and various beauty unguents. The Japanese put the squeezed hulls of the fruit in their baths to release its heavenly aroma, and they even sell the pips, toasted.

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If you would like to try the taste of this unique citrus fruit,  we have many yuzu products in your store!

You can choose from yuzu umeshu, few kinds of yuzu liqueurs, yuzu beer, yuzu highball, and low alcohol contect yuzu cocktail!

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Click here to see yuzu products!

 

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The Difference Between Nihonshu (Sake) and Wine

Same Production Method But One Big Difference

Brewed alcohol is made by fermenting grains and fruits with the power of yeast to produce alcohol. However, there is a big difference between sake and wine in this fermentation process.

In order for the yeast to ferment alcohol, sugar is required. Grapes, the key ingredient for wine, originally contain sugar, so if yeast is added, fermentation will proceed directly. This is called “simple fermentation”. On the other hand, rice, the key ingredient of sake, does not contain any sugar, so it is necessary to convert the starch in the rice into sugar (glucose) with the help of koji mold so that yeast could later convert glucose into alcohol. This type of fermentation is called “multiple parallel fermentation”.

Beer, which is also made by brewing process just  like sake and wine, does not contain sugar, so the saccharification of starch and alcoholic fermentation by yeast occur in two distinct steps. In the case of beer, these processes occur in separate tanks, but in the case of sake, they proceed simultaneously in the same tank. The former is called “multiple parallel fermentation”,  while the latter is called “multiple parallel fermentation”.

Multiple parallel fermentation is unique to sake. Compared to wine and beer, it is a more complex and delicate fermentation.
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Food Pairing Difference

There is a saying in Japanese that “nihonshu wa ryori wo erabenai”, which can be translated as “sake isn’t picky about food” or “sake doesn’t fight with food.” While for centuries gourmands in Europe have discussed matching wines of a particular site and vintage with particular foods, sake has no such history.

Traditionally, the role of sake in Japanese cuisine was not necessarily to pair with food but to support and intensify it. Sake is also the backdrop that neutralises undesirable flavours and smells (especially in fish) and allows you to perceive the good flavours more clearly. Sake is also not very acidic, unlike wine, which would easily overwhelm many delicate Japanese foods such as sushi, sashimi, tempura, etc.
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Tasting

While both sake and wine are usually drunk straight, sake is said to have the widest range of temperature range when drunk. Of course, there is mulled wine, a Chistmas favorite, but sake can be served cold at around 5°C or extremely hot at almost 60°C. Although premium sake, which has delicate taste and complex aroma (think Junmai Ginjo or Junmai Daiginjo), is usually served chilled in wine glass, which means that the way to drink sake depends greatly on the grade of sake.

Sake Recommendation

To experience how sake pairs well with any food , we recommend Tatenokawa Junmai Daiginjo Nakadori. Nakadori (literally “middle cut”) is the name given to the part of the sake mash with the best balance of aroma and flavour. Made with Miyamanishiki, a sake rice variety cultivated by the brewery’s sake rice research society, this is a sake that shows off the best characteristics of the rice: a deep sharp citrus like acidity. A slightly reserved nose lends itself to an expansive rustic flavour. A clean sake with a good balance of acidity that pairs well with all types of food.

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Pickup Is Now Available in More Locations! Click Here to See the Locations and How to Order

We are pleased to announce that we have expanded our pickup service locations and now even more customers will be able enjoy sake, imported beer and wine, umeshu, and many more!

How to place an order for office pickup (except Melbourne)

1. Select the office you wish to pick up at in the product category on the top left of the website and click Search.

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2. Select the products you wish to purchase from the list in the search results and add them to cart. (Products that do not appear in the search results are not stocked in that particular office)

3. Select ”Pick Up in other locations” in the Delivery Method.

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4. Select Pickup Date.

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5. Finally, enter a comment indicating you wish to pick up your order at the office of your choice.

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Pickup Locations and Times

Melbourne Office (VIC)
6/251 Ferntree Gully Road
Mount Waverley VIC 3149
03 8588 7800
Pick Up Day and Time (EST)
[Mon-Fri 9:30am – 4:30pm]
[Sat 10am – 12pm]
Except Public Holidays

Ichiba Retail Shop (VIC)
435 Whitehorse Road
Balwyn VIC 3103
03 9836 6537
Pick Up Day and Time (EST)
[Mon-Sun 8:30am – 7pm]
Except Public Holidays

Sydney Office (NSW)
6/154 O’Riordan Street
Mascot NSW 2020
02 8372 0500
Pick Up Day and Time (EST)
[Mon-Fri 10am – 12pm, 3pm – 5pm]
Except Public Holidays

Ichiba Retail Shop (Gold Coast)
24 Activity Crescent
Molendinar QLD 4214
07 5574 4200
Pick Up Day and Time (EST)
[Mon – Fri 9am – 4pm]
[Sat 10am – 3pm]
Except Public Holidays

Brisbane Office (QLD)
54 Parramatta Road
Underwood QLD 4119
07 3299 5255
Pick Up Day and Time (EST)
[Mon, Wed, Fri 9am – 4pm]
[Tue, Thu 9am – 12pm]
Except Public Holidays

Adelaide Office (SA)
105 Francis Road
Wingfield SA 5013
08 8347 3894
Pick Up Day and Time (EST)
[Mon – Fri 9am-11am, 1pm 4pm]
Except Public Holidays

Darwin Office (NT)
13 Wedding Road
Tivendale NT 0822
08 8914 0070
Pick Up Day and Time (EST)
[Wed, Thu 4pm – 5:30pm]
Except Public Holidays

Perth Office (WA)
3/58 Tarlton Crescent
Perth Airport WA 6105
08 9477 6211
Pick Up Day and Time (EST)
[Mon-Fri 10am – 12pm, 2pm – 4pm]
Except Public Holidays

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Difference Between Sake (Nihonshu) and Shochu

Brewing and Distillation

In a nutshell, the main difference between sake and shochu is the production method. Sake is brewed and shochu is distilled. So what exactly is the difference between “brewing” and “distillation”?

Alcohol is roughly classified into three types according to the differences in manufacturing methods: brewed alcohol, distilled alcohol mixed liquor. In other words, sake belongs to the same group as beer and wine, while shochu is in the same group with whiskey, brandy, and gin.

Brewed alcohol is made by alcoholic fermentation of the sugars (for example wine is made by fermentation of the natural sugar in grapes). However sake brewing is special in that the rice does not contain any sugar, so the conversion from starch to sugar and then from sugar to alcohol occurs in two distinct steps.

Distilled alcohol is liquor that has been “distilled” from brewed alcohol. Distillation is the process of evaporating a liquid, cooling the resulting gas, and then turning it back into a liquid. The difference in evaporation temperature allows for the extraction of a highly pure liquid.
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Ingredients

The difference between sake and shochu is not only in the way it is made. There is also a big difference in the ingredients. While sake is made from rice, shochu is often made from potatoes and grains. There are many kinds of shochu ingredients, such as potato, barley, black sugar, buckwheat, etc. And if you distill sake, a brew made from rice, it becomes rice shochu.
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Rice                                                                                 Buckwheat, potato, barley, shiso

Taste

Sake has a sweetness and softness unique to rice, and the taste varies depending on the type of sake rice used and rice polishing ratio. Shochu, on the other hand, is characterized by its dry flavour and strong alcoholic bite. The taste also varies greatly depending on the ingredients.

Drinking

Usually sake is around 15% since most of the fungus stops activity and the alcohol level does not go any further, while shochu is normally 20%-25%, even as high as 42% (if multi-distilled). What’s more, sake is made to be drunk within a year of its release, while shochu can improve with aging.

Depending on the type, sake can be enjoyed at an impressively wide range of temperatures from almost freezing to piping hot. But, it can also easily be enjoyed straight from the bottle at room temperature. Shochu, however, like most strong spirits, is usually served on the rocks or diluted with hot or cold water, and even tea.
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To see the difference for yourself, we invite you to choose from the many varieties of sake and shochu we have at out store!

 

                      Nihonshu                                         Shochu

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Watch a Video About How Tamba Wine Is Made!

Kyoto Wine That Goes Well with Japanese Food

Tamba Wine was established with the goal to make a wine that would go well with Japanese food. Finding that imported wines often did not suit the qualities of Japanese cusine, a lighting fixtures salesman who was passionate about wine, Tetsuo Kuroi, set up the company with a Tamba farmer to produce wines that complement Kyoto’s traditional cusine.

To achieve that they ferment some white wines after clarification to get a clearer taste, and balance the high acidity and fruitiness in the wines with the character of Japanese food. Today, the winery is known for producing mainly delicate tasting wines and has traditionally challenged the experimental cultivation of various international varieties.

The farm and the winery are located about 50 kilometers northwest of Kyoto city. The company’s vineyards are on a soil called “andosol” which is rich in organic matter, and where the climate is ideal for growing grapes due to the large temperature difference between day and night.

Click on the banner to watch an introductory video of the winery here and see how Tamba wine is made!

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Recommended Wine

Tamba Harimasan Merlot is a medium light, well-balanced wine with a scent that makes you feel like you’ve found a lot of berries while strolling through the forest. It has a light finish, with a refreshing and easy-to-drink mouthfeel, and a moderate tannin. A great food pairing for this wine is shabu-shabu with sesame sauce.

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Tamba Wine Harimasan Cabernet Sauvignon is a red wine made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Harima (Hyogo Prefecture). It has a rich aroma of black fruits such as blackcurrant and blackberry, and a clean herbal aroma of mint. The pleasant tannin and elegant acidity, that almost chase each other, develop as it ages. It goes well well with sirloin steak and game meat.

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The Best Selling Sake in March: Dassai 23 Junmai Daiginjo 1.8L!

The best selling sake in March was Dassai 23 Junmai Daiginjo 1.8L!

Asahi Shuzo is a sake brewery that strives to create the highest quality sake for the customers to simply enjoy its taste and flavors. Dassai isn’t intended to be a product of mass consumption, it is meant to be a way to a pleasant lifestyle. At same time, the brewery is not  aiming for Dassai to be a sake so special, so rare nobody could attain it: Dassai should be available for anyone to enjoy.

Nowadays, sake producers and liquor stores tend to focus excessively on quick sales strategies or overwhelming marketing campaigns which, in turn, make them lose focus of the customer’s authentic need: to enjoy a tasty sake. At Asahi Shuzo, however high quality sake is crafted with the purpose of sharing it with everyone around the world.

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Widely held as one of the best sake’s around, Dassai 23 was born from a single challenge – polishing Yamada Nishiki to the limit of limits – 23% remaining of the original rice grain.

But this extravagant polishing ratio is not the only thing that makes this sake so great. Asahi Shuzo is not to be satisfied with this figure, but is striving for Japan’s best, most delicious sake. The only words the brewery fears to hear are: “Dassai isn’t as great as I thought it to be”. They strive to craft a well-balanced sake, that has a gorgeous and dense aroma, a mellow taste with just the right amount of acidity to tie it all together with a long, lingering finish.

The nose of Dassai 23 presents an irresistibly elegant flowery bouquet with a soft, delicate, honey-like sweetness, and the flavor blooms exquisitely in your mouth. The long finish is a gentle waterfall of flavor that hits the center of your palate and dissipates into bliss-like mists, begging for another sip.

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April 7th Is Beer Day! Try the Unique Yuzu Lager!

April 7th Celebrated the End of Prohibition in the United States 

In 1919, the U.S. Congress passed the Eighteenth Amendment,  banning the sale, transportation, and production of alcohol in the U.S. This was the beginning of the Prohibition period, which made many Americans turn to creative ways to enjoy their illicit beverages.

However, on April 7, 1933 President Franklin Roosevelt took the first step toward ending Prohibition and signed a law that allowed people to brew and sell beer, in the United States, as long as it remained below 4.0% alcohol by volume (ABV).  Upon signing the legislation, Roosevelt made his famous remark, “I think this would be a good time for a beer.” People across the country responded by gathering outside breweries, some beginning the night before. On that first day, 1.5 million barrels of beer were consumed, inspiring the future holiday.

National Beer Day was created to commemorate this event by Justin Smith, a Richmond, Virginia Craft Beer Examiner, and his friend Mike Connolly from Liverpool, England. In 2009, Smith and Connolly created a National Beer Day Facebook page, and National Beer Day has since been trending on social media every year on April 7 using the hashtag #NationalBeerDay.

Beer Day is the perfect opportunity to dive in and sample the broad array of flavors and experiences it offers. It is the ideal day to find out exactly what it is that makes beer so special and he have a unique beer recommendation that is great for this occasion!

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Recommended beer

Located in Ibaraki prefecture, Kiuchi Brewery have been producing beautiful sake since 1823. Now they’ve also stepped successfully into the world of beer with their award winning products, such as this yuzu lager.

Hitachino Nest Yuzu Lager is a fruity, citrus forward beer with a deep, bitter edge.  It is a Japanese lager style with a nice citrus character from the hops and good malt backbone from the historic Kaneko Golden malt. The yuzu juice is very aromatic on the nose and works very well with the hop blend and comes off distinctly Japanese. The soft water and traditional Hitachino malty body are also fully present giving a really nice balance and mouthfeel.

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