The sound of the temple bell reverberates in the distance. It’s midnight in Japan, and the Shinto shrine is full of people celebrating the new year. Some are drinking amazake – a cloudy unfiltered (and non-alcoholic) type of sake drunk warm; others proffer cups to be filled with cold clear sake, served from gold kettles by ceremonially-clad priests. And the gods get their share – offerings of large straw-covered sake barrels called komokaburi are placed in front of the shrine. Only sake is good enough to keep the gods happy – in the hope they'll bestow health and happiness in the coming year.
What type of food is the best match for sake and why? Shirley Booth, founder of the British Sake Association comes up with a few surprises and some useful pointers on serving temperatures.
I was reminded the other night of how the average wine newbie must feel confronted with a wine list in French. The names of the wines and the grape varieties mean nothing. You have no idea what they taste like and what to order. Panic sets in.
Our new contributor, former sommelier Donald Edwards, reports back from a sake and food tasting at Novikov and reveals why the art of sake appreciation has a lot to teach wine-lovers.
A newbie's guide to sake from wine writer Natasha Hughes.
A terrific pairing which was part of a fascinating tasting I went to last week of sakes from the Tohoku region of Japan, the area most affected by last year's earthquake and tsumani. It was organised jointly by the British Sake Association and events company Tengu Sake (@tengusake on Twitter) and took place at Tombo, a Japanese cafe in South Kensington which laid on some particularly delicious food.
I suspect you’ll be hearing a lot about Koshu this year. No, it’s not some unfamiliar aspect of Japanese cuisine but a white wine made from a grape of the same name. A campaign to promote it in the UK was launched at a lunch in London yesterday by a VIP line-up of Japanese goverment officials from the Yamanashi prefecture where most of the winemakers are based.
A surprise match from the RAW wine fair last week: some extraordinarily good wild rock oysters and a range of unpasteurised, unfiltered sakes from Yoigokochi Sake.
We automatically think of matching wine and cheese or beer and cheese but there are many drinks that work just as well and can give a real ‘wow factor’ to your cheeseboard.