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Month in Sake - October 2023 Part 1.

As we are finally getting into the colder season, we are kicking off October with World Sake Day and with many other festivals following suit, this is a very exciting month! And since the "End" of the Pandemic probably the busiest one yet...


World Sake Day at JSS


Once again, I celebrated "World Sake Day" at the Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center in the heart of Tokyo - sure where else would you go? I had such a great day, from learning more about Kanzake to chocolate pairings to dancing to Brazilian music, chatting with old friends, and making some new ones (!) it was a fantastic day all around I cannot wait to do it all again next year!


Kanzake Workshop With Kon Satoru

This year again, part of the event was ticketed and this year I did got a chance to grab some, as the events notoriously sell out the day they go on sale. So I started my day at the Info Center with a special Kanzake Workshop led by no other than Kon Satoru-san, owner of the famous Nishiogikubo restaurant “Utou”.


One sake at many different temperatures and introducing air and motion that completely changed the sake, which by the way was Hohai Namagenshu from Miura Shuzo in Aomori prefecture. This is one tasting I would love to replicate at home - really quite special.





Sake and Chocolate Pairing

I personally do not have a sweet tooth, so I was especially curious about the pairings suggested in this session. All of them were made with Meiji single origin 70% Cacao and although the aged sake, as well as the warmed-up Kenbishi paring, did not entirely surprise me much, one of the pairings did and I highly suggest, if you get a chance to try to so!


The surprise pairing was with Gokyo's "Nene" a sweet super sparkling sake (available in 300ml for example at the Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center to buy or to try for something like 250Yen -/+), with the Dominican Rep. and the Brazil single origin chocolate, both bringing out a different aroma, utterly delicious!




Live Music and Kanpai!

Of course, another of the highlights of the evening was everyone coming together for one big Kanpai at 7 pm JST. As the time drew closer, more and more familiar faces started to pool in, as we all raised our glasses to Kanpai to our favorite beverage!


With live music finishing the evening with everyone singing along and dancing - this was once again a great way to end the evening! Until next year...




Matsushima Luxury Sake Fam Trip


These days the government is spending quite a bit of money to curb tourism, especially in the high-end market. So we traveled all the way to Matsushima for a private Temple experience combined with an amazing luxury sake pairing dinner by @katsuyamasake!


The food was absolutely exquisite with the “Shiogama Bluefin Tuna, marinated in soy sauce and red wine on a Genovese sauce made from fresh Miyagi basil” and the “Sendai Beef Fillet ‘Chateaubriand’, Shozan style slow cooked served with a truffle sauce and topped with fresh truffle” being out of this world delicious just as they were, but then came the inspired sake pairing taking everything to a whole other level


We were guided through the dinner by no other than the brilliant @eukaisawa who aside from giving us her tasting notes on the pairing, also let us in on a couple of brewery secrets (the ones she was allowed to share ).


A Wonderful evening and the highlight of our short visit to Matsushima in Miyagi prefecture! ✨



JSS Sake Tasting Experience


This year the Brewing Society of Japan has released a special tasting kit and the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association has kindly invited us to give it a try and it was really an incredibly awesome sake-tasting experience!


From a more simple side-by-side just recognizing sweet vs dry, to determining which sample had higher Succinic acid along with a smell test, it really required laser focus and was quite a difficult task and would be a challenge regardless of anyone’s tasting ability.


I actually took part in the Sommelier competition two years ago, but due to the pandemic the test was quite different and of course, the samples were sent out, whereas normally the competition takes place in Tokyo.


To say this was a challenge is an understatement and we (the Sake On Air Team, as well as some of the staff from JSS) found it to be quite difficult, especially tasting the different acids within the samples. Definitely not your normal night out drinking sake...

And yes, this sake-tasting kit is available for purchase, just head over to www.jozo.or.jp



Sake Tasting Umio


I also finally made it to a very special aged sake blind tasting and dinner organized by the sake concierge @sakesomm_umio in Kyoto!


He organizes regular events with slightly different topics, they are all blind tastings and bilingual in Japanese and English.


At this occasion, 3 aged sake were blind-tasted and discussed, followed by a short presentation and a delicious seasonal meal at a hidden location in Kyoto. Really lovely event, great for anyone who wants to learn more about sake and also brush up on their Japanese or English. Find out more about future events here.





Gyuho Kyoto - Beef and Sake


Had a fabulous night out with the wonderful Melissa Mills from @sakeconnect, who introduced me to one of her favorite restaurants in Kyoto and a real gem (especially if you are not a big fish eater!


Gyuho (牛宝) is a tiny Kushiyaki place in Ichijoji and everything tasted even better than it looked. In case you are wondering the dishes are all beef and we let the owner choose the sake for us to match our food.


As far as I know, it is reservations only and you need a Japanese phone number, but well worth the extra effort.



Private Sake Pairing Kyoto


It has been great to see tourism return and so many visitors being interested in Japanese sake, so I have been organizing a few private sake tastings and sake dinners here in Kyoto and what a joy to share some of the knowledge I have accumulated over the past couple of years with them.


These sake tastings and evenings are not about textbook learning, but rather about enjoying sake, through experiencing it, trying interesting products, learning about their story, and having fun.


If you are interested in joining a sake tasting or sake dinner in Kyoto get in touch here.




Part 2 coming soon.


With October being such a huge month I decided to split it into two parts. So the 2nd Part will continue with a trip to Bizen, and a visit to Daimon Shuzo as they held their annual Sake Festival...


So stay tuned and in the meantime, to see all that is happening (in almost real-time) you can follow Sake Nomad on Instagram or Facebook, part 2. will be up soon...

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