On Wednesday night, I was one of the limited number of honored guests who were invited by Japan Sake Association and Ambassador and Consul of Japan into the stately home of Ambassador of Japan, Shigeyuki Hiroki in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. We were treated to an informal sake seminar, led by Dr. Masaki Okuda, as to how sake is made, the process, grading and what differentiates sake from wine and beer.
After that brief lecture, we went upstairs and were greeted by a very stately and European dining rooms where the featured sake breweries and distributors set up with their chosen sakes and delectable bites of food created by Executive Chef Fred Sabo of the Metropolitan Museum’s restaurant.
Some of the delicious sakes featured were from independently owned breweries like the 14th generation owned and run Tsukino Katsura Sake to a few like Yamamoto Honke Sake who distills a pleasantly tart, yuzu flavored sake.
There were about a dozen hors d’oeuvres cooked and served for the paired sakes. The best pairings in mind were the vibrantly sweet-tart Yuzu Omoi (a yuzu infused sake) by Yamamoto Honke worked harmoniously with the sweet unagi apple strudel and the a sweet dessert sake that is cloudy, called Aronia Nigori by Kinshihai Sake Brewery that was sublimely paired with the subtly bitter and sweet green tea fudge.
The ones that stood out (and great solo) were the Yamadanishiki Junmai Daiginjo Urakasumi being crisp and mildly fruity like green apples and melon and the intriguing Ginkoubai Hannya Tou that is slightly smoky like a good scotch.
This event was a good foray for sake novices and snobs alike to appreciate the versatility of Japanese sake.
To view more photos of this meal, please view the slideshow below (or CLICK HERE for my photo set):
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apple-unagi strudel!! okay, the sake-tasting looks epic enough, but that’s a combo to blow the mind. you lucky one, you! :P
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