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The Marriage of Food and SAKE

Matching of food with SAKE

There're 4 typical methods of matching the foods with SAKE

  1. Harmony/Synergy effect

    If the SAKE and dish have similar flavor, taste, aftertaste and texture,harmony and synergy effects can be expected, and you physiologically feel that these are well matched. This is the easiest way of matching and applied to almost all the cases.

  2. Marriage(food & SAKE create new tastes)

    Even if the food and SAKE have different flavor, aroma and aftertaste,they create the new taste by joining up in the mouth.

  3. Bringing out the flavor of foods

    The SAKE should not be much stronger than foods and should not remove the special feature of dish. The SAKE should bring out the flavor of foods, make the dish much better and should rinse the mouth for the next bites. Thus, it is said that SAKE should be fresh and dry.

  4. Bringing out the flavor of SAKE

    Enjoying SAKE by eating a bit amount of the pairings with salty taste and with concentrated umami taste, you'll find that the pairings are bringing out the good flavor of SAKE. This method will lead you to get drunk, though.

You can enjoy the harmony and marriage with SAKE, like you do always with wine.

Classification of SAKE

  • Aromatic Type
  • Aged Type
  • Light and Smooth Type
  • Rich Type
Matrix of Japanese Sake
Sparkling Type

1. Aromatic Type

Matured fruits aroma like apple, banana and white peach. Also, floral aroma like lily and rose. It has fruitiness in taste, and aromatic aftertaste. There're many different taste profiles from "sweet" to "dry" but the dry type is the latest trend. It is best served chilled in wine glass.

Ginjo, Daiginjo, Junmai Ginjo, Junmai Daiginjo are categorized in this type. Some Muroka-Namazake(Cloudy-Unpasteurized Sake)and Namazake(Unpasteurized Sake)are also included in this category.

Nuts and Bolts

Matching with SAKE's fruitiness, floral aroma and fine sweetness.
We recommend to choose simple dishes which use the feature of the ingredients.

  • Carpaccio of salmon/ tuna
  • California roll sushi
  • Caprese (tomato mozzarella and basil)
  • Sauteed scallop with grapefruit sauce
  • Marinated herring with sour cream
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Fresh cheeses (Mozzarella, Fromage frais)
  • Matured fresh fruits (Strawberries, banana, melon)
  • Tartes aux fruits (berries)
  • Strawberry shortcake
  • Melon sorbet / Gelato

2. Refreshing Smooth Type

It is characteristic by its fresh aroma and taste like clean spring water. You can pick up the natural herb aroma like mint and jasmine or fresh lime and radish. This is an easy-to-drink type SAKE and can be recommended to the SAKE beginners. Either it is served well chilled or nuru-kan(40℃)/ Jo-kan(45℃)

Honjozo, Namazake(Unpasteurized), Nama-Chozo-Shu(Pasteurized once at bottling), Nama-Tsume-Shu(Pateurized once before storing; also known as Hiya-Oroshi)SAKE with lower alcohol are categorized here.

Nuts and Bolts

This type of SAKE matches well with the light and fresh dishes.As strong flavored dishes would prevent you from tasting the flavor of SAKE,we recommend to choose the dishes which use the taste of the ingredients.

Matching with SAKE's fruitiness, floral aroma and fine sweetness.
We recommend to choose simple dishes which use the feature of the ingredients.

  • Tomato salad
  • Green salad
  • Vegetable terrine
  • Mousse au saumon
  • Salad with grilled chevre cheese
  • Cappellini with fresh tomato
  • Ratatouille
  • Sauteed pea sprout
  • Salad with bean-starch vermicelli
  • Fried squid with celery
  • Lemon pie
  • Lime Gelato

3. Rich Type

Rich aroma like hot-and-fresh cooked rice and it has richness, Umami and long aftertaste. This is the most classic and typical SAKE type.
Some have aroma and taste like cream, butter, cheese and yoghurt.
It is best served Nuru-kan(40℃).
Enjoy this type of SAKE serving in the Japanese traditional porcelain /clay cup.

Junmai, Kimoto-zukuri, Yamahai-zukuri, Genshu(Undiluted Sake)are included in this category.

Nuts and Bolts

Umami and richness of rice match well with the dish with strong flavor.

  • Cheese gratin with salmon / chicken
  • Lasagna
  • Spaghetti carbonara
  • Pot au feu
  • Wiener schnitzel
  • Grilled / boiled sausage
  • Pate de Campagne
  • Pizza
  • Hard Cheese (Comté / Emmenthal / Goda)
  • Cheese cake

4. Aged Type

Beautiful golden brown color, with complex / rich aroma like roasted nuts, exotic spice, dried fruits, honey and caramel. Thick but smooth sweetness, acidity and Umami create the complex taste profile. You can even pick up the aroma like Chinese rice wine or Sherry Amontillado. This will take you to the Fantabulicious World of SAKE. Enjoy this type of SAKE serving in the liquor glass and best served straight or "on the rock"

Koshu(Aged Sake), Dai-koshu(3yo), Hizo-shu(5yo)
Some Yamahai-zukuri are also categorized here.

Nuts and Bolts

This type of SAKE matches with dishes which have aged flavor similar to Chinese rice wine and sherry. You can also expect the effect of "Marriage" with dishes.

  • Confit de Canard
  • Terrine de Foie Gras
  • Liver pate
  • Jamón Serrano
  • Chorizo (Spicy sausage)
  • Beef Jerky
  • Blue cheeses (Roquefort / Gorgonzola / Stilton)
  • Chocolate
  • Gateaux au chocolat
  • Vanilla ice cream / gelato
  • Mont Blanc cake
  • Marron glasse
  • Nuts

5. Sparkling Type

This is a new style of SAKE which has fine bubble like Champagne.
Many different variation depending on the strength of bubble, alcohol, aroma, and taste.
Serving in the Flute glass or cocktail glass, served best chilled, on the rock or with crushed ice. And of course, best for making a toast!

Kassei-seishu(lightly sparkling unfiltered sake), Sparkling are categorized here.
Shibori-tate, Nigorishu Ori-garami have also lightly sparkling type.

Nuts and Bolts

We recommend to enjoy it as an aperitif for toasting or at the early part of the meal. Freshness and spiciness of the crispy bubble will match with the dishes like.

  • Canape / Pinchos
  • Light starters
  • Mousse di ricci di mare (sea urchin)
  • Jellied fresh seafood
  • Fromage Frais, Chevre frais
  • Mexican Taco / Tortilla chips / Pop corn
  • Pretzel
  • Weißwurst(White Sausage)
  • Fritters
  • Yoghurt Mousse / Ice cream / Milk Pudding
  • Strawberry Mousse
A Beginner's Guide to SAKE

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