Thanks for coming back to the Sakura Town Sake Store blog today!
Sake is what kind of alcohol?
Today, I would like to share with you exactly what sake is, as many of you may not know what it is. I hope this blog will help you learn more about sake so that you can enjoy drinking sake more and better.
Sake is a brewed alcoholic beverage.
Many people may know that sake is an alcoholic beverage made from rice. But did you know that, like wine, sake is a fermented beverage? Sake is made from rice, clean water, and koji, a microorganism that aids fermentation. The sake sold at Sakura Town is fermented using only these ingredients, and no brewing alcohol or other additives are used.
Sake is much richer in amino acids than other alcoholic beverages, which invigorates bodily functions and stimulates metabolism. It also increases good cholesterol, which can be expected to prevent arteriosclerosis, among other health benefits. Sake as a seasoning is excellent not only for Japanese cuisine, but for any kind of food, as it removes odors, improves flavor, and softens ingredients.
Japan, a fermentation powerhouse
It is no exaggeration to say that Japan is a fermented products powerhouse.
Not only sake, but also soy sauce, miso, mirin, vinegar, and other seasonings are all fermented foods.
Special Features of Japanese Fermented Products
The most significant characteristic of Japanese fermented foods is the use of koji (malted rice). Koji, produced by koji mold, is rich in nutrients such as B vitamins and folic acid. With its many nutrients, koji is also known for its many effects and benefits. Koji mold has skin-promoting effects. It has been elucidated that components in rice koji can increase ceramide in the stratum corneum of the skin. Furthermore, the reason why people say that brewers' hands are beautiful is that they touch koji with their hands every day.
Also, the use of koji gives an overwhelmingly deep flavor. There are countries all over the world that use lactic acid bacteria, yeast, and acetic acid bacteria, but the use of koji as the main ingredient is a characteristic of Japanese fermentation. It is no exaggeration to say that koji supports Japanese food, and it is an indispensable fungus for Japanese people, supporting not only food culture but also Japanese culture.
The Perfect Balance of Sake and Koji.
Sake is made from rice and water. Amino acids produced by koji have an important part in bringing out the umami flavor.
The koji causes the proteins in the rice to break down into amino acids.
These amino acids give sake
its fullness: umami derived from amino acids,
mellowness: a nice aroma of grain,
richness: a complex combination of umami, sweet, bitter, salty, and sour tastes.
However, more koji does not necessarily make sake tastier; on the contrary, it can spoil the flavor of sake. Therefore, it is difficult to make koji that does not excessively increase amino acids, and the amount of koji makes a complete difference in the taste of sake, which is where the skill of the brewer comes into play.
Sake and Fermented Food Pairings
Sake is great tasting, of course, but I also want to convey to all of you the nutritional value of sake and the depth of flavor that can be completely changed with just a few tweaks in the process.
Sake goes well with the same fermented foods. If you are unsure about sake pairings, why not choose fermented foods proactively? Other easy sake snacks include cheese marinated in miso or soy sauce. The richness of the cheese matches the saltiness and savory flavor of the miso and soy sauce. The smoked cheese-like flavor and Japanese taste make this dish a perfect match for sake.
Sake and fermented foods go perfectly together. If you are conscious of your health and beauty, why not enjoy sake with fermented foods as a saké side dish?
See you again in the next blog!