Yoshinogawa brewery is in NY and they participated in the pairing dinner we had around their sake on Tuesday May 11th. People from SakeOne, the sake company representing the brewery here in the US were also at the dinner, all strategically seated among the diners, so that they are there not only to answer questions about the sake, but also to enjoy the pairing and make friends with the diners, in the true spirit of 1 or 8!!!
Yoshinogawa brewery is located in Niigata prefecture, which is a region with deep snow in the winter, well known for its exquisite rice and of course, sake. This particular brewery has a history of over 460 years, a family tradition of 19 generations.
Some photos from the dinner -
Amuse-bouche: Homemade smoked salmon with fennel puree,
paired with Yoshinogawa Daiginjyo.
We basically took the sake's flavor components, deconstructed it and transformed it into a bite.
The sake has a slight nuttiness, so we slightly smoked the salmon. The scent of fennel in the sake is translated in the dish as the purreed fennel, and the green herb flavor as the chive oil. The thickness of the sake is also reflected in the fat of salmon. Then the pink pepper pulls everything together.
Bonito salad paired with Echigo Junmai.
The Junmai's mushroomy and rustic flavor is is here paired with the iron rich taste of bonito.
Grilled rack of lamb with miso crust with soy ratatouille, paired with Yoshinogawa Gensen Karakuchi.
We tried here to bring up the aroma of lamb with the sharpness of this dry sake. The miso crust is also here to accompany the strong depth of the body of this sake.
Gazpacho - This was served as a little rest between the two main courses - no sake was paired with it. The soup itself was tomato, shiso, bonito broth and a sprinkle of garlic oil. Simple goodness.
Then there was the assorted sushi nigiri paired with Yoshinogawa Gokujo Ginjo. I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of the plate, so I have to leave this one to your imagination. The nigiris were 3 pieces, a pacific salmon, stripe bass and sea eel.
Dessert was green tea and white chocolate mousse with preserved yuzu skin, paired with Yoshinogawa Ginjo.
The citrus flavor in the Ginjo sake is here enhanced by the preserved yuzu skin, and the green tea's slight bitterness is counter balancing the sweetness of the sake.
There was an extra pour by the brewery - a very special sake that was awarded gold at the National New Sake Tasting Competition in 2007. They kept this award winning sake for 3 years refrigerated at -3 celsius (which is 26.6 fahrenheit) to make it a Koshu = aged sake. This is not in the market, so we will never see this one again. It was an amazingly generous gesture from the brewery to share this bottle with us.
The aging made its aroma and taste round and soft, with still a very good balance of the Daiginjo aroma and the umami of the rice. There was a slight chocolate like aroma at the end. The finishing was extremely long and enjoyable.
So this was the pairing dinner of the month of May -
It is hard to describe the experience of a pairing dinner without being there with the food, sake, encounters with fellow diners... We hope more of you can join us on the next one, which will be anounced sometime soon.