さて、今後の問題（メーカーサイド）であるが、圧倒的に飲食店で扱える銘柄が少ない。カルフォルニア州では、レストランにおいては、たとえ蒸留酒である焼酎（アルコール24度以下）でもビール、ワインライセンス（日本食の9割はこのライセンス）で販売できるメリットがある。しかし、そのためには輸入の際、ラベルに「Shochu」ではなく「Soju」と明記しなければならないため、多数の焼酎メーカーは、ソージュの記載に対してはネガティブだ。しかし、米国最大の日本食市場カルフォルニア州独自のこの抜け穴法を利用しない手はない。本格麦焼酎ならレベルにきちんと「Soju」以外に「Japanese Single Distilled Spirits from Barley」などと入れれば済むことだ。また、多くの消費者やマスコミの人は意外と焼酎とソージュの違いを理解しており、ソージュの記載への違和感はメーカーの勝手な勘違いと言える点もある。それより本当に焼酎の拡大を真剣に考えているのら、変なプライドは捨てて米国にとりあえずソージュで入れ、その後ここでの焼酎マーケティング・ブランディングを真剣に検討するべきである。
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Friday, August 19, 2011
Monday, August 1, 2011
- Recently, wine is served in many Japanese restaurants. However, the reverse is not seen often. Especially in French or other European restaurants, customers aren’t seen bringing Japanese sake. Perhaps, diners have a preconceived notion that Sake is to be enjoyed with Japanese cuisuine while French and Italian cuisine is to be enjoyed with wine.
For a familiar example, Mayonnaise from the west (allegedly originated in medieval Spain) is now a food product that is necessary in Japanese cuisine. Mayonnaise goes great with rice and used for sushi rolls, dynamite sauce and dressings. The same goes for soy sauce, which goes great as a hidden flavor for curry and with steak. Ketchup and oyster sauce is also used frequently in Japanese cuisine. Also, yuzu, dashi (kelp & dried bonito soup stock), miso, rice vinegar and many other Japanese condiments are used in Western cuisine. In the world of culinary art, condiments and food ingredients [from around the world] are fast becoming integrated.
Perhaps the same can be said about the world of sake. Besides, western cuisine prepared using Japanese condiments would of course go well with sake.
Compared to wine, Japanese sake has a deep umami flavor with little acidity, so there is no clash with Western flavors. However, for western cuisine prepared with cream sauce or rich oils, wine is usually more suitable to clean the palate in many instances.
I’d like to suggest the following standards to choose Japanese sake to pair with Western cuisine.
For dishes that go well with champagne, select sparkling sake
For dishes that go well with chardonnay, try Junmai Ginjo or Daiginjo that is smooth in flavor
For dishes that go well with Riesling, select Junmai Ginjo or Junmai with various deep umami flavors
For dishes that go well with red wine high in tannin (tannic acid?), pair with Kimoto high in umami flavors or unfiltered Tokubetsu Junmai and Honjozo.
When we start pairing as indicated above, you will discover the flavors will expand and deepen on your palates in ways that you haven’t experienced with wine, so please give it a try!
Posted by Yuji Matsumoto at 12:35 PM
Friday, June 10, 2011
Some stores are offering amazing sake cocktails these days.
NRN article about sake cocktails will give you some ideas about sake cocktails but the sake facts in that article are not all correct so please read them carefully.
To read the story click here.
Posted by Yuji Matsumoto at 10:11 AM
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Posted by Yuji Matsumoto at 11:51 AM
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
In my last issue, I wrote about how depending on whether or not culinary the term “umami” is recognized as a taste due to culinary differences, the taste exists but the term doesn’t always exist in some countries. This time, I’d like to discuss how Japanese sake is relevant to “umami.”
Elements that constitute the “Umami” taste are mainly from food groups high in protein and nucleic acids, the most representative and famous examples are a form of glutamic acid found in amino acids from kombu, or inosinic acid from dried bonito. Also, other examples include guanylic acid from dried shiitake mushrooms and succinic acid from shellfish. Past experience dictates that combining these elements will deepen or generate a synergistic effect of the “umami” taste.
The “Umami” flavors found in Japanese sake consists of glutamic acid, a type of amino acid. Also, kimoto sake contains different acids like succinic and lactic acids. Others included are arginine acid and tyrosine acid.
When pairing Japanese cuisine with sake, Junmaishu containing an abundance of glutamic acid goes well with foods containing inosinic acid, especially with amino acids found in fish. Also, succinic acid found abundantly in kimoto sake and lactic acid goes great with meats (such as chicken, beef and pork) and dairy products. Daiginjo sake contains malic acid in addition to the “umami” elements, so they are best paired with white fish and shellfish served with lemon, yuzu, and other citric juices.
In Japanese cuisine, Japanese sake is used as a hidden ingredient to enhance the “umami” flavors, soften animal protein, enhance the flavors of the food and to eliminate the gamyness of meats. Of course Junmai sake which is high in amino acid (no point in using gingo for cooking and it would be a waste) or cooking sake is recommended for cooking to best compliment and enhance the flavors of the food.
Posted by Yuji Matsumoto at 12:49 PM
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Why isn’t there an English translation for the Japanese term “umami”?
The concept “umami” exists in various countries worldwide, for some reason in the West, the basic concepts of taste: acidity, sweetness, saltiness and bitterness were never recognized. While similar terms like “savory taste” is used to describe such flavors, the meaning is slightly different.
In a recent conversation with a French-American wine sommelier, I’m sure my choice of words weren’t the best when I stated to him, “umami is a very valued taste by the Japanese and refers to the compatibility between Japanese sake and the food,” to which he responded rather crossly, “every country has their own version of ‘umami’ that they cherish. The only difference is that there isn’t a single term that best defines that taste in their vocabulary.” Of course, I am also aware of the various umami flavors found worldwide, which made me wonder why such terms don’t exist.
One possibility is due to the term originating from “dashi,” or soup. Dashi is a concentration of flavors, a unique form of soup stock considered unique worldwide. Compared to soup stock in China and the West, where flavors are extracted from “extraction of umami flavors from broiling” meat and vegetables for a long period of time, dashi is a unique Japanese method of extracting flavors in a short period of only several minutes until the water broils. Contrary to the rich and high-calorie soup stock made in the West, the Japanese soup stock is mild, yet uniquely rich in flavor.
One basic concept in Japanese cuisine is to “capitalize on the flavors of each food ingredient,” which is why the soup stock is not flavored as much as possible to best enhance the ingredients as the basic method of preparation. Therefore, dashi = umami was long recognized as a “taste” in its own right. However, in the West, soup stock was recognized as a base to which many condiments (salt, pepper, spices, butter, etc.) are to be added, so the umami of the soup stock as a “taste” in itself was never recognized.
Flavors such as “umami” and “koku” (‘richness,’ this term unfortunately doesn’t exist in the English language either) are not only limited to compatibility with Japanese sake, but also extends to compatibility with wine as well. Next time, I want to expand more about the compatibility between “umami” and sake.
Posted by Yuji Matsumoto at 3:56 PM