Umami: an ideal sake pairing

| Dec 12, 2013

Umami: an ideal sake pairing

by Melinda Joe

On a recent September morning in Napa Valley, a sake-pairing session at the Culinary Institute of America’s annual Worlds of Flavor conference began with a lesson in organic chemistry. The theme of the seminar was “sake and umami,” a topic tantalizing enough to fill ...

Unique sake from father-son team

| Nov 7, 2013

Unique sake from father-son team

by Melinda Joe

Kumpai Shuzo stands along a quiet stretch of the Kyu-Tokaido Road, across the Abe River in an old part of Shizuoka City. Run by father-and-son team Seiji and Hidetoshi Ichikawa, the brewery has remained in the same location since the family’s ancestors began making ...

Japan's latest wine trend is only natural

| Jan 11, 2013

Japan's latest wine trend is only natural

by Melinda Joe

It’s official: Natural wines are entering mainstream consciousness in Japan. I know this not simply because sections devoted to organic, “bio” (biodynamic), or shizen-ha (natural) wines have become fixtures in many retail shops, or even because sales of natural wines have risen around the ...

Sake-making mission: the last step

| Dec 14, 2012

Sake-making mission: the last step

by Melinda Joe

The thermometer inside the brewing facility at Shimazaki Shuzo registered a chilly 8 degrees. Like everyone else who had signed up to take part in the final sake-making session of the Karasuyama Taiken (www.karasuyama-taiken.jp), I was dressed for work — in a thin white ...