月別アーカイブ: 2021年5月

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4th June is Cheese Day! Celebrate with Rubaiyat Koshu Wine!

Wine and Cheese Marriage

When you think of a piece of cheese, it is hard to imagine it without of glass of wine in your hand―so much so that the dynamics between food and wine can be described as “marriage based on love”.

This magical pairing of cheese and wine is in fact not a coincidence – there is a science behind this match, as is in the case of many culinary pairings. Both cheese and wine come from natural products, namely milk and grapes, and both can acquire different taste and texture qualities when aged. The marriage of cheese and wine is based on resemblance of the two, rather than the “opposites attract” concept. According to many sommeliers, a wine has to match a dish according to contrast in order to find the right balance. For example, a dish which is rich in fat pairs well with a tannic wine as the fat smooths the tannins making them less obvious, while the tannins in return help cut through the fat making it easier to eat. However, when it comes to cheese, it is a little bit different. An aged cheese pairs well with a full-bodied and refined wine,  while a young cheese instead goes well with a crisp, drinkable young wine.

To explain why cheese and wine are paired due to similarities rather than contrasts, let’s look at the properties of both. Cheese contains casein which is a milk protein that produces small amounts of ammonia. This helps to soften the sip of a sharp wine, making it softer and rounder. Cheese helps our taste buds round off any astringent qualities of wine, balancing softness with sharpness. Therefore a strong flavored cheese with its own distinct softness and taste, is the perfect match for a full-bodied wine that if drunk alone, would not fully take advantage of our palate.

Assorted cheeses

Try Koshu Wine with Cheese 

Our recommendation is Rubaiyat Koshu, which is made from 100% Koshu, a Japanese grape variety grown in Yamanashi Prefecture. It has a brilliant yellow color, a perfect balance of rich acidity and fruitiness. It is a dry wine with a clean, refreshing and straightforward taste. Balanced and charming, this is a very food-friendly wine.

For a dry white wine from Japanese Koshu variety, we recommended pairing it Mimolette cheese, which has a beautiful dark orange color like a mango. A rich and crisp Koshu dry wine will give you a clean aftertaste, even with the crusty taste of well aged mimolette.

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The Choya Golden Ume Fruit 50ml: Great for a Quick Drink

CHOYA – Leading Producer of Umeshu

Located in Osaka, the company first started as a wine-grape grower in 1914. Later in 1959 CHOYA began production of umeshu, a traditional Japanese ume fruit liqueur. More than half a century has passed since CHOYA began producing umeshu. Today, it is a brand with country-wide recognition, available across the whole of Japan and many other countries. The mission of CHOYA is to produce and promote the finest umeshu made from natural ingredients. They do not use any artificial additives in any of their products, such as acidulants, flavourings, or colourings.

The Choya Golden Ume Fruit 50ml  - Perfect Size for a Quick Drink

The CHOYA Golden Ume Fruit is a masterpiece created with the long history of ume liqueur making experience and data accumulation by CHOYA. It is made with 100% Japan grown Nanko ume fruit, which is the brewed in tanks with much time and effort without adding artificial additives such as acidulants and artificial flavors, to bring out the maximum taste of ume. The Choya Golden Ume Fruit has an elegant, fragrant aroma of Nanko ume fruit, that fills your mouth with rich taste and crispy tartness.

Thick and fleshy ume are marinated with sugar and spirits only and matured for over a year. The slow aging process allows CHOYA to produce authentic umeshu with the best possible taste and aroma every time. The flesh of the fruit is soft, with a mellow aroma and powerful sourness. This umeshu  is best enjoyed chilled and straight, on-the-rocks, or mixed in cocktails garnished with the ume.

These small 50ml cups  are perfect for when you just want to have a quick drink. In Japan (where public drinking is completely legal), these cups are often consumed in a bus or train while travelling alone or outdoor events and parties, such as like barbecues and cherry blossom or red leaf viewings. Although the one cup format is strongly associated with travel, it also great for enjoying at home. It’s a form of automatic control on how much you’re drinking, so for someone who doesn’t want to drink much it’s perfect. It is easy to carry around, the bottle is sturdy, and it can be heated!

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Have You Ever Been to Oita Prefecture?

Have You Ever Been to Oita Prefecture?

Oita Prefecture is situated at the northeast of Kyushu Region, and it is best known for the rich hot spring sources and often called the Onsen Prefecture. Yufuin, which is overflowing with Bohemian charm, and Beppu, home to Japan’s famous eight “bubbling hells” , are the two top visited Onsen towns in Japan. If you have visited Beppu, you might have gone on a jigoku meguri (helll tour) and seen the Sea Hell with blue water, the Blood Pond Hell with red water and the Oniishibozu Hell with boiling mud bubbles.

In addition to its onsens, Oita prides itself in the many natural delights nestled within its grand Kuju mountain range. You might have crossed Kokonoe Yume Otsurihashi Bridge, which is like walking through the sky with the virgin forest and valley below you, or enjoyed the scenic view of Harajiri Falls, which can be seen from a variety of angles, from the top, the front, and the riverbank near the bottom of the falls.

Oita also offers many delicious local dishes. Toriten, an Oita original, is made of bite-sized chunks of chicken seasoned with sake, garlic powder and ginger, rolled in flour and then deep fried in a tempura style. Beppy City has jigokumushi (literally “hell-steaming”), which is a style of cooking using the steam from natural hot springs to cook food, and is one of Beppu’s most famous customs, dating back to the Edo Period. While enjoying these local dishes, you might have had a drink of  shochu, which is Oita’s favourite alcoholic beverage. Many people think of barley shochu when they think of Oita’s liquor, and one of more well-know shochu in Oita is the Enma brand.

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Shochu From Oita Prefecture

The brewery that produces Enma shohcu was established in the Hita region of Oita Prefecture in 1789, in the middle of the Edo period. Since then,  Oimatsu Shuzo has been making shochu and sake from  barley and rice nurtured by the rich nature and limpid water filtered through a natural filter, the cedar forest.

A wooden tag hanging on the bottle of Enma series says, “In old sake breweries, there is a place that people can never get to. There is something still sleeping there after all these years…”. True to this saying, Enma has been aged for more than three years in a historic sake brewery, and is a gem with a full flavor and a rich aftertaste. Its quality has been highly evaluated in international competitions.

Our recommendation is Kuro Enma, barley syochu made entirely with black malt, from the first brewing stage to the second brewing stage. It has a crisp and deep flavor with a refreshing taste. Try this shochu if you want to experience the local Oita taste!

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Kurouma Shochu and Grilled Chicken: Experience the Taste of Miyazaki Prefecture!

 Miyazaki’s Specialty – Charcoal-grilled chicken

Grilled chicken is a favorite among locals and visitors in Miyazaki Prefecture.  Bite-sized chunks of crunchy grilled local chickens, which are seasoned with salt and pepper, then grilled at high heat by charcoal. However, there are restaurants that add Yuzu pepper to make it even more delicious. This dish is popular for its smoky flavor and aroma. The chicken cuts are grilled over charcoal until cooked into perfection, and the meat releases a smoky and enticing aroma that is sure to make anyone hungry! The luxurious firm texture of the meat makes it even more special.

If you want to enjoy this tasty chicken at the convenience of your home, we have just the right product!

Made with domestic chicken with rich flavor, it is seasoned with maker’s original salt and pepper, garlic, and roasted onions, then grilled over a powerful flame. This is a tasty dish with aged flavor and yuzu pepper. No chemical seasonings, preservatives, or synthetic coloring! It comes in a convenient retorted packaged and is ideal as a snack or side dish!

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Enjoy Grilled Chicken With Shochu from Miyzaki

To have an even better experience of Miyazaki’s cusine, we recommend pairing the grilled chicken with shochu from a famous Miyazaki brewery.

Kagura Shuzo began making shochu in Miyazaki Prefecture’s Takachiho Town, known as the birthplace of Japanese mythology, in 1954. Kagura Shuzo is well known in Japan for their premium shochu brand Kurouma, which is produced with high quality ingredients. Their shochu uses the purest water “Saito-Kiyomizu”, which is sourced from Kiyomizu area, Saito-city, and is optimal for making shochu. The brewing masters aim to make shochu with their five senses expanded, paying attention to the perceptions of aroma, touch, taste, sound etc. and face koji everyday.

Kurouma Shiromaru is authentic barley shochu is made from 100% domestic two-row barley. Low-temperature distillation brings out the flavor of the carefully selected domestic barley. It has a gorgeous aroma and a refreshing taste. The rich,  but gentle aroma and refreshing taste of barley shochu is a perfect match for the smoky flavor grilled chicken!

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Cup Sake: Affordable and Fun Way to Enjoy Sake

What Is Cup Sake?

Sake is a complex world, which is easy to get absorbed in, and a person might spend hours and quite a fortune getting to know the ins and outs of sake. However, a sake drinker who is more careful with their spending and less fussy, will pass over the large, pricy bottles from Japan’s premium breweries and instead go for single-serve cup sake. While cup sake sometimes has the image of a low-cost booze consumed by older men, cup sake is actually a diverse category that includes everything from mass-market products to small-batch, premium grade varieties.

When served at restaurant in foreign countries, sake if often poured into small delicate cups, which can only hold a few sips at a time. However, in Japan these single serve sake cups are the equivalent of grabbing a can of beer, often favored by train commuters as a drink on the go.  Cup sake is commonly sold in wide-mouth, 180 milliliters glass containers sealed with aluminum pull top lids. Portable and delicious, cup sake is a great way to casually enjoy nihonshu.

Sake cups are available in various regional motifs and designs, with cute drawings and characters, so many people keep the cups after drinking sake, and reuse the cup as a normal glass for other drinks or just keep it as a part of their sake cup collection. How about starting your own little collection?

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Miyozakura Junmai Panda Cup

Miyozakura Panda cup, one of Japan’s most charming, was originally created to celebrate the arrival of the first pandas at the Tokyo Ueno Zoo. This is delightful and delicious junmai that is light, dry and refreshing. And the cute panda design is just irresistible!

When warmed it reveals a more deep rice flavour, but you can enjoy it at almost every temperature, and it goes well with almost any meal. The cup itself is heat resistant, so you can enjoy it in various temperature ranges.


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Bishu Ranman – Sake That Shows the Best Characteristics of Akita Sake

Bishu Ranman – Sake That Shows the Best Characteristics of Akita Sake

Made with high-quality rice and bountiful water—that’s Akita’s sake. To bring the mellow and profound flavor of this high-grade sake and share it with the nation, brewers, politicians, and investors gathered in 1922 (Taisho 11) and founded Akita Meijo, and thus the brand Bishu Ranman was born. Since their inception the brewery continued to pursue the brewing of great sake, with the aim of “quality first,” using Akita style low-temperature, slow fermentation methods. Now, Bishu Ranman is endorsed by sake-drinkers, and has become well known sake brand nationwide.

Akita Meijo has two breweries, Ogachigura and Mitakegura. Ogachi brews sake by hand, inheriting the traditional techniques of many years ago. Mitakegura is a five-story sake brewery that reflects traditional techniques in its machinery and equipment, and uses computerized management to save labor and improve hygiene, which is rare for a sake brewery. Since its establishment, Bishu Ranman has consistently followed the philosophy of “sake quality first,” and has been conscious of providing a stable supply of uniform sake quality through brewing methods that take advantage of the natural climate and characteristics of Yuzawa City in Akita Prefecture.

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Hanaranman Komachi Daiginjo

Akita prefecture is very famous for their original rice Akita Komachi, but no matter how delicious it is, edible rice has small grains and is not suitable for making high quality sake. Therefore, Akita Prefecture has created the original rice called Akita Sake Komachi.  Developed in 1998, Akita Sake Komachi has rapidly become the prefecture’s most popular sake rice for premium sake. The amount of sugar produced in the Akita Sake Komachi mash (moromi) tends to be high, and the resulting sake is fragrant, elegantly sweet, and has a delicious, light aftertaste.

To experience the unique taste of Akita Sake Komachi, we recommend Hanaranman Komachi Daiginjo. After being fermented by Akita Koji (yeast) in a low temperature for over 5 weeks, this sake is aged for 12 months to become a smooth and rich daiginjo with a beautiful flowery fragrance. This is a high quality sake with elegant sweetness and a whole fruit basket of tasting descriptors.

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Echigo Koshihikari Beer: Rice Style Lager from the Pioneers of Japanese Craft Beer

Echigo Beer Is the Pioneer of Japanese Craft Beer

Craft beer was born in Japan in 1994, when the Liquor Tax Law was amended to significantly lower the minimum production volume required to obtain a beer manufacturing license, allowing small and medium-sized brewers to produce beer. At that time, Echigo Beer was one step ahead of the rest of the country in opening a brewpub and brewing the first domestic craft beer in Japan. In other words, the founding of Echigo Beer marked the birth of craft beer in Japan.

In the late 1970s and 1980s, the founder of Echigo Beer left Japan to work as a theater artist in Europe. Based in Rome, Italy, he studied dance and other subjects, spending days performing in plays and films, where he also happened to meet a German woman who was a picture book author. During the vacation season, the founder went to her hometown of Regensburg to visit her and experience the rich beer culture of Germany. He later decided that he wanted to spread this culture from his hometown in Niigata to Japan, and this was the starting point of Echigo Beer.

The illustration of a smiling male goat with a beer in its hand, which is the trademark of Echigo Beer, was created by the German woman. The male goat is a symbol of vitality, good harvest, and prosperity in Germany and the Czech Republic.

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Koshihikari Beer Is the Flagship of the Brewery

The brewery is located in Niigata prefecture, which is the number one rice growing prefecture in Japan and home to the famous Koshihikari rice, a short grain rice regarded as the best quality and flavor in all of Japan. The brewery has high standards when selecting the Koshihikari rice to assure the superb flavor outcome of their flagship rice lager.

Echigo Koshihikari Beer is a rice style lager with a pale golden color that comes out of the bottle, and a strong head that quickly fades. It has a slightly acidic tang to the regular lager flavour, but it is not too overpowering. 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 premium Koshihikari rice, which can appeal even to those who do not like dry beer.

This beer from the very pioneers of Japanese craft beer is definitely worth a try!
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The Best Selling Sake in April: Hitachino Nest Yuzu Lager Can 350ml!

The best selling sake in April was Hitachino Nest Yuzu Lager Can 350ml!

Starting as a sake brewery in 1823, Kiuchi Brewery developed into a beer brewery in 1996. Today, it produces a variety of alcoholic beverages, including shochu and wine. The brewery, however, owes its reputation to the incredibly tasty Hitachino Nest beer which is now distributed in 15 countries around the world.

Originally, beer was manufactured at the sake brewery, but following early successes, production doubled every two years and in 2008 Kiuchi expanded their facilities to a new brewery location nearby, the Nukada brewery. The facilities were upgraded further and a system that can produce large quantities of stable quality was established, making it one of the largest craft beer breweries in Japan.

Hitachino Nest Beer started with only three beers, and since then they been adding to the innovative beer line-up every year, and continuing brewing the best to enrich beer enthusiasts’ lives every day.

Hitachino Nest Beer which has also won numerous gold medals in Japan and overseas beer contests, and it comes as no surprise that their Yuzu Lager is one of our best selling beer!

Hitachino Nest Yuzu Lager is a fruity, citrus forward beer with a deep, bitter edge. On the palate you are greeted by a pleasant maltiness with an invigorating yuzu character. The beer finishes with a subtle hoppy bitterness with the citrusy character lingering throughout. This lager is extremely refreshing and drinkable, and is a must-try for all beer fans!

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