Posts Tagged ‘Shochu’

Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Fujinishiki Brewery-Fujinishiki Fuji Sekai Bunaka Isan Junmai

August 7, 2013

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As I said before, with the advent of Mount Fuji and Matsubara Beach being chosen as the New UNESCO World Culture Heritage, the sake breweries have been scrambling to put on sale brews commemorating the event!
Fujinishiki Brewery located in Fujinomiya City at the foot of Mount Fuji, came up with a beautiful label representing Mount Fuji in different seasons!

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The small label on the bottle neck states the recent registration and election of Mount Fuji and Matsubara Beach as a new UNESCO World Cultural Heritage!

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Rice milled down to 65 degrees
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled in June 2013

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Very faint golden hue
Aroma: Fruity. Coffee beans, nuts, loquats.
Body: fluid, slightly syrupy
Taste: Sweetish attack backed up with assertive junmai petillant.
Fruity and complex.
Nuts, chestnuts, loquats, apricots, notes of coffee beans.
Linger for a while before disappearing on a drier note.
Tends to mellow with food.
Marries beautifully with food, although it tends to take a back step.

Overall: A typical sake from Fujinishiki Brewery conceived to marry beautifully with food, especially izakaya food, although it tends to make itself discreet then.
Eminently drinkable on its own at all temperatures.
Take it to great BBQ outdoors or as a present!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

BULA KANA in Fiji
Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

Douman Crab at Suehiro-Hamanako No Megumii Aji Sushi Restaurant

July 23, 2008


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“Douman” is the name of a very rare crab of fairly large proportions exclusively caught in Summer in Lake Hamana, Shizuoka Prefecture.
Fishermen will be lucky if they manage to find 2 or 3 specimen caught in their nets in a single day for the whole lake!

It has become one of the symbols of the area as demonstrated by the rice/kome shochu of the same name brewed by Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery/Distillery in Hamamatsu City.
Consequently only a few privileged establishments may serve it from time to time.
One such place is Suehiro-Hamanako No Megumii Aji Sushi Restaurant, a little secret place of mine.
As introduced in other articles, it is tucked away from the city bustle south of Hamamatsu JR Station.

I make a point to reserve a seat or two before I visit them as hey will make sure to keep a bottle of Shizuoka Sake just for me.
Last Friday, they just happened to have an excellent bottle from a favourite Brewery of mine, namely Hatsukame in Okabe Cho.
That particular brand, called “Fujisan”, is a honjozo made with rice from Toyama Prefecture and yeast from Shizuoka Prefecture, perfect in summer with sushi and seafood!
Light food was on order as it had been an excessively hot day now that the rainy season is finally off our heads.

Pickled myoga, and ham and avocado salad were perfect with the first couple of glasses of chilled sake.

With a kitchen conveniently closed away, Suehiro has the knack to serve the right mixture of sashimi, sushi and cooked fare which ensures you will not leave the place worrying about a still empty stomach.
Mind you, this is an expat notion which does not count for the Japanese habit to visit at least two or three different places in the same night.
We opted for some akami/lean tuna and suzuki/seabass sashimi and a plate of Hamana Lake prawns deep-fried inside Spring rolls.

Finally we were ready for the Douman Crab!
My friend took the opportunity to order a glass of shochu of the same name while I gamely took care of the sake.
In Hamamatsu City they just serve it steamed as it is without any dressing or seasoning.
And our half (can you imagine the price of a whole one?) did not need any whatsoever. It came very full of so soft, tasty, even sweet meat that you naturally take your time savouring a little at a time with chopsticks. Forbid a fork or spoon!
I’m afraid this will be my first and last time I experience such a delicacy. That is unless Suehiriro calls me (and other customers?) next time they chance upon one (two would be impossible, so do not plan a party!)

We still hjad one more morsel before we left for the Liquid Kitchen, a bar held by a cricket friend of mine: Hamana Lake anago/conger eel and ikura/salmon roe sushi.
As this restaurant always comes up with local delicacies on a purely seasonal basis, I wonder what will compel me to visit it again!

SUEHIRO-HAMANAKO NO MEGUMII AJI
Hamamatsu City, Naka Ku, suyama Cho, 360-6
Tel.: 053-452-6288
Business Hours: 11:30-13:30&17:00-22:00
Closed on every Wednesday and second Tuesday
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

Biwashu Season!

June 10, 2008


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Last year, on June the 12th to be precise, I concocted “Umeshu” (Japanese plums preserved in sake and shochu) which happened to be so popular that the four litres I had lovingly matured for a whole year disappeared in a couple of weeks!

A Japanese friend of mine, having been impressed with the results of my slightly unusual recipe asked me to put my talents to work with “biwa/loquats”!

He brought me small loquats unfit for normal consumption but perfect for preserves.

I used premium sake and shochu from the same brewery, Hana no Mai in Hamamatsu City, to ensure some regularity:
From left to right: Yaramaika kome/rice shochu (25%), Acha no Tsubone rice/kome shochu, Hana No Mai Junmai Ginjo (15.5%) and Hana No Mai Junmai (15.5%)

I added 1 kg of “koorizato/peserve sugar” to almost 2 kg of loquats (for umeshu, I used only 1 kg, as they had more “flesh”).

Now, we shall have to wait until June next year!

If you try your own hand, make sure your concoction stays in a dark place at a reasonable and constant temperature!

Shizuoka Izakaya: Kashimaya

March 5, 2008


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Kashimaya has long been an institution In Shizuoka City where its 78-year existence makes it one of the oldest izakaya in town.
It certainly deserves its enormous popularity as it strikes the ideal combination of good food, good drinks and good prices. And smiling service!
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It has kept its traditional atmosphere with tatami, wooden counters and decorations.
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Their sashimi is top-class (isaki/grouper and katsuo/bonito in above pics) and usually comes from Shizuoka waters. But you had better come early as sashimi is the first item they tend to run out of quickly!

As for other food you will be able to savour izakaya classics as:
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broiled liver sticks, negima (Pork and leeks sticks) and tsukune (chicken balls)
But make a point to try their cooked fish, especially tempura:
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As any good Shizuoka Izakaya, they do serve local jizake:
Isojiman Honjozo and Daiigunjo
Kokkou Junmai Ginjo (a favourite of mine!)

The kind of place where you easily become a regular as their menu do follow the seasons!

Kashimaya
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Kamiishi cho, Showa Doori, 7-15
Tel.: 054-2523989

Shizuoka Izakaya: Taisaku

February 19, 2008


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It certainly took me a long time, but I finally paid a visit to Taisaku, the third oldest Izakaya in Shizuoka City! It has entered it sixty-ninth year of existence and is still going solid thanks to a strong sense of tradition nurtured by the family down to the present 3rd and 4th generations.
It has alway enjoyed a great reputation and certainly deserves it!
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Taisaku prides itself in serving, whenever possible, products from the local seas and lands. The sashimi are true delicacies, especially raw sakura shrimp (large pic above), not easy to serve so fresh unless you have a direct contact in Yui City, or katsuo/bonito thanks to Yaizu City fishermen. The aji/horsemackerel was a beauty, too. I had to limit myself to those three raw servings this time and will have to come regularly to sample the whole menu changing every day (impossible!). I had time and stomach space left to sample their “kisu to anago no satsumaage”, a fish paste made from two fish caught in Suruga Bay and cooked to perfection.

Now, if you know me well, there need be another reason for my introducing an Izakaya: the local sake!
I gave up on posting the labels for the simple reason that the list is too long! Here you are:
Garyubai Dai Ginjo (Sanwa Brewery, Shimizu Ku)
Isojiman Junmai Ginjo + Hionjozo (Yaizu City)
Hatsukame (Shida Gun)
Kaiun (Doi Brewery, Kakegawa City)
Matsu Ichi, including Taruzake/sake from the cask and “kan”/warm (Shizuoka City)
Shosetsu Junmai (Yui City)
Kokkou (Fukuroi City)
Karakkaze (Hana no Mai Brewery, Hamamatsu City)
8 Breweries for 11 types of sake, all from Shizuoka Prefecture!

As Taisaku is located in Central Shizuoka just behind Shin Shizuoka Center, expect it to be full with patrons of all ages, genders and status!
If you wish to talk about local history, you will find the master of the house quite amenable indeed. Not only did he took out old books for me, but he also gave me the name of another Brewery that existed before WWII!

Taisaku
420-0858 Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Tenmacho, 1-10 (entry on 1F, restaurant on 2F)
Tel.: 054-2531639
Business hours: 17:30~?
Closed on Sundays
Parties up to 20 possible on 3F

Shizuoka Izakaya: Wagocoro

January 2, 2008


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Wagocoro is your typical Japanese “Kakureya”/”Hidden Place”: You have heard of it, but never been able to discover or notice it until you find it one day almost next door!
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The Japanese, especially in Shizuoka, have an affinity for such places, but tend to jealously protect them away from other potential customers, which in my humble opinion is not very fair. I almost feel a malign pleasure in discovering and uncovering them!
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The present owners acquired the place some time ago from the original tenant who had made it a shochu bar. The place is simply replete with Japanese antiques and interestingly enough Mr. Oguriyama and his son have faithfully preserved it in its entirety. Notwithsatanding the great food and drinks, the ancient Japanese atmosphere is a worthy enough reason for a visit.
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Now this izakaya have three “rooms”, the main one where you can sit around a tradiionla Japanese “irori/fireplace” where you can grill your own food over charcoal. Another room with tatami seating amide a crowd of antique furniture and objects and a third room with a kind of counter and high seats. No need to say but the irori is my favourite. Make sure to reserve it!
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You have a hint of the quality of the food as soon as you order your drinks and subsequently are offered the “otoshi,snack”!
Now, Wagocoro has already acquired a solid reputation for quality of food coupled with comparatively reasonable prices. Therefore when I visited it on Monday, December 3rd in the company of my monthly “Monday Gastronomy” companions,we already had a good idea of what we would order!
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The sashimi and grilled fish (see pictures above) are simply first class.
Their “kakuni/pork simmered for four hours” has already become the talk of the town and expats in particular will be happy to learn they concoct savoury deep-fried oysters and even vegetarians will be glad to sample the deep-fried lotus roots/”renkon”!

We simply did not have any strength left to explore the rest of the seasonal menu which will have to wait until our next visit!
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Like any good izakaya, Wagocoro has a great range of local sake: Kaiun (Doi Brewery/Kakegawa City), Wakatake (Oomuraya Brewery/Shimada City), Suginishiki (Sugii Brewery/Fujieda City), Isojiman Brewery (Yaizu City), Hakuin masamune (Takashima Brewery/Numazu City) and Kikuyoi (Aoshima Brewery/Fujieda).
The four of us emptied a great bottle of Suginishiki Shiboritate Yamahai Honjozo in no time!

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Now the big plus is that they also serve two Shizuoka shochu, namely wasabi Shochu by Bandai Brewery in Shuzenji and rice shochu by Hanan no mai Brewery in Hamamatsu City which went as far as designing an original label!
What else could you ask?

Wagocoro
420-0882 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ando, 1-6-15
Tel.: 054-2470059/09091805779
Business hours: 11:30~14:00, 17:30~23:00
Closed on Tuesdays and second Wednesdays
Reservations advised