Posts Tagged ‘sake’

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting: Takashima Distillery-Brewery: Dai Ippoh

June 5, 2012

Takashima Brewery in Numazu City does not brew only superlative Japanese sake but also distill some incredibly extravagant rice shochu as well!
Their latest jewel is Dai Ippoh!

When you look at the simple calligraphic design you will understand it represents the nearby Mount Fuji!

Dai Ippoh/第壱峰 (old-style calligraphy) means “The First Peak”!

Alcohol: 25 degrees
Ingredients: Rice and rice malt

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Transparent
Aroma: Almost sweetish and spicy. Alcohol. Rice.
Body: Fluid
Taste: At first sweetish and complex attack.
Dry dark cherries.
Turns quickly drier.
Does not linger long in mouth or under palate.
Very clean, elegant and fruity approach.
Alcohol impact relatively soft with fruits appearing with each new sip.

Overall: A very elegant rice shochu which should be drunk on its own first at room temperature without ice or water for a true appreciation and taste discovery.
All the qualities and more of a superlative rice shochu.
Varies little with food.
At the most pour it over a lot of ice but there is no reason to mix with anything!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, 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,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), 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

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting 5-2: Hana no Mai Brewery/Distillery-Yaramaika

June 11, 2008


The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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Hana no Mai Brewery/Distillery in Hamamatsu City makes some extravagant kome/rice shochu with either the rice powder left after milling Yamada Nishiki rice (they grow themselves) or with the sake kasu/white lees of their sake.

YARAMAIKA
Kome/rice Shochu
Rice: Yamada Nishiki (Shizuoka strain) residual powder after millage
Alcohol: 25%

Clarity: very clear
Colour: Transparent
Aroma: Sharpish. Rice, alcohol, green tea, melon
Taste: Soft on the tongue, almost sweet.
Shortish tail. Green tea, green melon.
Easy to drink.

Overall: Easy to drink. Elegant.
Can be de drunk straight or on the rocks.
Great mixed with hot green tea!

Biwashu Season!

June 10, 2008


The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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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 mayured 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: Katayurimo

April 15, 2008


The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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Katayurimo is the third member of a triumvirate I have a special liking for in Shizuoka City. I have already introduced the other two, Odakkui and Hana Oto whose “masters” shared dinner with me in the company Mr. Mori at Kodarumatei.
Yukata Mori opened his izakaya (can you guess the connection between names?) in May 2005 and already seems to have acquired quite a following as the place will be full by 21:00.
As he is working on his own with a waiter or waitress to serve a maximum of 9 at the counter and 12 at the tatami tables, do not expect shogun service in spite of his ever-smiling welcome.
It’s all slow food there!

There is plenty to drink, including a fine kome/rice shochu (Acha no Tsubone) by Hana no Mai Brewery in Hamamatsu City who printed a private label for Takayurimo. You will find more shochu, sake and so on to please veryone.

As for local Shizuoka Jizake, it tends to vary almost everyday. I was lucky enough to drink from a bottle of junmai called “Susono Katsurayama Shiro” by Fujinishiki Brewery (Fujinomiya City). I felt the more pleased for it as it was a first!

As Mori-San takes his time carefully preparing your orders, you can usually expect two different kinds of ‘”otooshi/snacks” to come with the first drink order.
I certainly relished the home-made “kuro hanpen/black sardine fish paste” served slightly boiled and cold with a dah of wasabizuke (wasabi pickled in sake white lees), all from Shizuoka Prefecture!

The next snack was “noresore/conger eel whitebait”, usually a specialty from the West of Shizuoka Prefecture, which had to be imported from Fukuoka this time as it is already out of season down here.

Just enough to help me wait for the sashimi of the day!
From top to bottom, left to right:
“Katsuo/bonito” from Shizuoka Prefecture. Soft, tender and juicy!
“Saba/mackerel”. Great freshness, no “fishy” taste whatsoever and plenty of “fat”!
“Houbo/Blue Fin Robin” from Shizuoka Prefecture. A comparatively rare variety in Japan, served in top notch French and Italian restaurants. But sashimi is still best!
“Seguro Iwashi/Seguro sardine”. So fresh and almost sweet. Th e latter morsel was served with orange vinegar from Hamamatsu City instead of the usual shoyu/soy sauce.

I was about to “call it a day” as the night was still very young (I had another “appointment”) when I could not help notice the day’s menu board boasting bamboo shoots cooked in four different ways! I can hear Foodhoe salivating!
I was not the only one to be intrigued as three of my neighbours joined me in querying Mr. Mori about it. The poor (still smiling) gentleman found himself ordered to prepare the bamboo shoots (from Asabata in Shizuoka City) in the four different ways advertised! No way he could escape as we all had de facto agreed to share our orders! Talk about natural unconcerted ganging up!
Incidentally the one I asked for (see above) was the “steak style”: it had been boiled to the right softness beforehand and kept in a cool place. It was first cut to size then cooked and served hot.
You can’t beat a good izakaya when it comes to instant friendship (and hard work for the master!)!

KATAYURIMO
420-0034 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwacho, 1-4-2, Harada Bldg. 2F
Tel. & Fax: 054-221-4175
Business hours: 17:~24:00
Closed on Mondays and every second Sunday

Shizuoka Izakaya: Hana Oto

April 8, 2008


The Japan Blog List

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sake, shochu and sushi

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In recent years Shizuoka has witnessed the welcome resurgence of traditional izakaya thanks to a merry band of young(ish) restaurateurs such as the owners of Oddakui, Yasatei and Hana Oto (and others that I will visit soon!). They all prove time and again to be true exponents of traditional Japanese gastronomy by going back to the basics and caring about their patrons’ pleasure. These gentlemen and ladies (yes, you heard me right!) are not afraid to serve and promote local products, be they fish, meat, vegetables, sake or other delicacies.

Unearthing Han Oto can become a small adventure in itself as it is tucked in one of those “dark corners” on the ground floor of one the most ancient buildings in the Ryogae-Cho district, the oldest haunt of Shizuoka night owls.
It used to be a “yakitori” until Yuusuke Tozaki and his younger brother, Keisuke, took it over in February 2004.

Great fans of the famous sake manga artist Akira Ose (“Kurabito Claude”), they changed nothing, preserving the ancient and warm atmosphere, only adding their own little touches.

Not only great sake including some jewels from Shizuoka Prefecture (Sugii, Takashima, Oomuraya and Kaiun Breweries for the moment) but also great shochu, including an extravagant real tea and rice shochu by Fujinishiki Brewery (Fujinomiya City) called “Chyakkiri Shi”!
Of course all kinds of spirits, awamori, soft drinks and even wine are available.

Now, Yusuke Tozaki has a special predilection for vegetables, especially from Shizuoka, and the enormous Shimizu Ku green asparaguses I was served sauteed with Chinese XO sauce were absolutely scrumptious! Foodhoe will want to fly there, I can tell you!
Even a vegetarian would have enough reasons to patronize the establishement!
But I am not, I ordered a plate of sashimi:

But before that, I had to taste a great Yamahai by Takashima Brewery in Numazu City with a little home-made pickled wasabi plant.
I could have checked the menu, which is renewed everyday but I let the owner choose for me.

Sashimi were absolutely fresh and delicious.Mind you, when you know the level of fish in this Prefecture it almost becomes a matter of course!
I was served “Mejimaguro tuna”, “Katsuo/Bonito”, raw “Tako/Octopus” and “Kurodai Seabream”.
I’ll let you judge!

The first sake having disappeared without notice I savoured another great Yamahai by Sugii Brewery in Fujieda City.

As I had another commitment I unfortunately had to depart, but the owner would let me go before I tried another beauty called “Tatsuhisa” by Eiku Brewery in Yui that was not on the menu for the simple reason that the owner’s private sake!
Blimey, Gaijin Tonic would never leave such a place! I will have to convince Lojol to accompany me for a lengthier visit next time!

HANA OTO
420-0033 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae-cho, 3-9, Hoshi Bldg. 1F
Tel.: 054-273-8591
Business hours: 18:00~03:00 (until 05:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)
Closed on Mondays

Shizuoka Distilleries 14: Hamamatsu Brewery/Distillery

March 1, 2008


The Japan Blog List

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On a beautiful cold day on Friday, February 29th, I met Matthew (Matt) Ryan, an Australian resident in Hamamatsu City with my student, Mika Sakurai, at the JR Station to honour an invitation by Mr. Yasuo Nakamura to visit his Brewery.
An extraordinarily affable gentleman, he is the 6th generation-owner of Hamamtsu Brewery founded in 1871 by his ancestor Goroshichi (the name of one of extravagant rice shochu) Nakamura.
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Actually Nakamura was the original name of the Brewery until they absorbed other breweries in 1953 and changed their name to Hamamatsu Brewery (under Government orders).
Mr. Nakamura’s father, who opened a beer hall some 20 years ago, finally was allowed thanks to a change of law to create a beer brewery on the same premises in 1998. His son started producing kome/rice shochu in 2003, and umeshu 1n 2005. This year saw the brewing of their first “yamahai” sake, a brand of very traditional sake hard to find anywhere (only 3 more breweries presently produce it in Shizuoka Prefecture), and quite a labour of love.
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Another first, and in this case for the whole Shizuoka Sake World, a 28-years old lady, Ms. Miwa Masui, is in charge of the brewing from this very year! (I don’t really know how to call her as there is no femnine form for Master Brewer!) Although I’m extremely proud of my male gender, I do think this is great news, proving that some establishments are willing to work along the times!
I can hear Melinda and Etsuko rejoicing! (Why don’t you come down to Hamamatsu? It will a great pleasure to accompany you!)
We were granted the “real” visit ( a very personal one indeed, as “tourists” are certainly not allowed within the “heart” of the brewery!) and my two friends assailed poor Mr. Nakamura who had just enough time to explain along with my interpreting.
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We were lucky to be shown the process for the last batch of “yamahai” (after that, they will start brewing beer while continuing producing shochu, umeshu and other liqueurs) and appreciate the texture and flavour of the rice before a peek into the “koji muro” (fermenting chamber).
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When we took a peek at the sake fermenting in one of the vats, Mr. Nakamura had to point out to enthusiastic Matt not to fall inside as he was eagerly looking into its entrails, or that would the his end on this world (it did happen in Japan recently to an unfortunate individual who met his final demise by accidentally falling inside such a vat!)!
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Hamamatsu Brewery is a very well organized company at everylevel. Not only they produce sake, shochu, liqueurs and beer, but you can even use their event space for private enterprises from weding to private rock concerts!
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Now, their kome/rice shochu are an extravagant affair!
They are exclusively made from “sake kasu”/white lees distilled as soon as produced.
I know a lot of people in Kyushu who will have to revise some of their views if hey are given the chance to taste them!
Their shop is a must in itself, and I can assure you that you will be embarrassed by the choice of goods on display, that incidentally you can pay with a credit card, a very rare occurence in this very traditional world!

Tenjingura/Hamamatsu Brewery Co. Ltd.
430-463-3851 Hamamatsu City, Naka Ku, Tenjin Machi, 3-57
Tel.: 053-4616145
Fax: 053-463-3851
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
Business hours: 10:30~21:00
Closed on Tuesdays
Catering: Lunch & Dinner (dinner course on reservation)
Visits: Sake and beer breweries visits on reservation.