Feb 4, 2011

Sake Tasting Party at Kyukamura Nyuto Onsen-kyo 2011

Osake-de-asobima Show (“Let’s play with Sake”) is an annual sake tasting event at Kyukamura Nyuto Onsen-kyo (休暇村乳頭温泉郷) that has been being held this month! This event is to introduce the new brew of the season. That is why it is held at this time of the year, when sake is enjoyed at their freshest and richest in flavor.

Last year, the event inspired many people unfamiliar with the profound culture of rice wine. It has become a rare opportunity to taste and compare about 10 types of different sake from two breweries. Here, you will find your own preference of sake – light, rich, sweet, or spicy – and it is a great introductory experience for all the participants!

Kyukamura’s chef has designed this course meal to match with sake. It is served in a simplified kaiseki-ryori manner, in which you are served many dishes on small portions that usually include sashimi (raw fish), simmered fish, soup, pickled vegetables, etc. All of the dishes are beautifully arranged and garnished with seasonal flowers and leaves.

Each dish was delicious and unique! Some of our favorites were salmon roe with creamy yuba (tofu skin), deep-fried hinai-jidori (Akita’s local chicken), and lobster and fresh vegetables with original dip of sake-kasu (sake lees).

Kyukamura's chef designed  this course meal only for this event to match with Akita's local sake!

Bishu Ranman (美酒 爛慢)and Hideyoshi (秀よし)

Sake bottles were brought from two of Akita’s best breweries, Bishu Ranman and Hideyoshi – not to mention it was the main feature of this event!

Bishu Ranman, (美酒 爛漫)a brand made by Akita Meijo, was established in 1922. They are known for the impressive commercial campaign that employed beautiful women.  They have brought four bottles: Yutosho (Junmai Daiginjo), Tobikkiri Shizen-na Junmaishu (Junmaishu), Shiboritate, and Tappuri-budo GABA Liquor.

Hideyoshi (秀よし) is a brand from Suzuki Shuzoten in Daisen City. It is one of the oldest breweries of Japan and was established in 1689. Hideyoshi presented 5 bottles this day: Jindai (Daiginjo), Shosei (Junmaishu), Junmai Namagenshu, La Chamte.

The dinner party started with a toast with Hideyoshi’s La Chamte as an aperitif. It is carbonated sake made of Akita Komachi rice 100%. The rich and fruity Hideyoshi flavor is enhanced in the sparkling glass. It is hard to believe that no sweetener is added— the sweetness purely comes from glucose of rice!

Hideyoshi's Namashibori and Shiboritate (top)
La Champte (left bottom)

Ranman's Tappuri Budou GABA Liquor

Ranman's Yutosho (優等賞)has a rich texture and a delicate aroma!

Yawaragi-mizu (和らぎ水;left top)is water used for the sake brewery. Remember to drink a lot of water at a sake tasting event. Banzai Factory's Fuku-ochoko (right top) is a wooden sake cup with Japanese lacquer that is a popular gift from Tazawako. We got to taste more than 9 different kinds of sake this day!

As the dishes were delivered to the table, Ranman and Hideyoshi representatives came around the tables and offered different types of sake, explaining the unique feature of each bottle.
Mr. Ninomiya interviewing the winner (left top);
Sugi-dama (杉玉)is a cedar ball that is a sign of new sake in the season;  
Some brewery tools (center bottom); Mr. Kazushi Sato (right bottom)

A quiz game was held in the middle of the party, in which Mr. Ninomiya asked 10 questions about sake and a pair of hotel ticket was given to the person who got the most right.

As one of the questions was about the discovery of kunimasu that is still much discussed in Tazawako area. Mr. Kazushi Sato, president of Tazawako Tourism Association and CEO of Tsurunoyu Onsen, shared a very interesting story about the discovery of kunimasu and his recent trip to Lake Saiko.

The Next Sake Tasting Party:
Date: February 25th, 2010
Place: Kyukamura Nyuto Onsen-kyo

From 18:00 to 20:30
*Maximum number of participants: 30 people.
*A shuttle bus is available from JR Tazawako Station at 17:30.
*Reservation: Call 0187-46-2244

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