Sake: a subtlety in production as sophisticated as its taste

Genuine sake is certainly not the one that you may have experienced!

Sake is a very unique and ancestral drink from Japan. Its preparation technique may date from the Yayoi period to the 3rd century, a little after the introduction of rice farming by China. The term “sake” in fact specifies any alcoholic drink (therefore the term “Nihonshu” – Japanese wine is also used). Made from rice, it is a unique alcohol in the category of fermented drinks, since it is neither a wine – it undergoes double fermentation – nor a beer, since the cereal is not malted, and above all not an alcohol since no distillation takes place.

Hoshino Resorts KAI sake tasting

The first stage in manufacturing is polishing the grain so as to only retain the kernel which is rich in starch. The Tôji, the sake brew master, firstly makes the Kôji  – parboiled rice which a fungus “aspergillus oryzae” is added to – which serves to break the starch down into sugar. After maturing for 48 hours, the Kôji is placed in a vat, in which new quantities of rice, water and yeast are added. This pied de cuve or starter culture is the basis for the so-called “parallel” fermentation of the sake, since the starch is turned into sugar and alcohol simultaneously by the yeast. To achieve perfect fermentation, 3 additions of koji are necessary. The rice is then pressed, filtered and pasteurised before maturing between April and October. At the end of the second pasteurisation, the sake is bottled and finally ready for consumption.

sake alcohol bowl in Japan

Sake is an extremely refined drink full of delicacy. It is such a fascinating world; it could “almost” make you forget wine when you become interested in it, as its aromatic palette is vast. It can be served as an aperitif, including as unpasteurised which gives it more character, but is also a perfect accompaniment to seafood, fish, and shellfish. You can imagine it going perfectly well with one of the fine meals served in the Hoshino Resorts KAI restaurant. And more surprisingly, when it is a vintage and has taken on notes of reduction, a little like vins de voiles, it is the perfect accompaniment to baked french cheese dishes like Comté or Beaufort.

Chef cooking in Hoshino Resorts KAI

Sake and Japanese gastronomy

Try sake and you will love it!
For its floral notes, its subtlety, its endless aromatic palette which continually surprises the whole world’s taste buds, and even more how it accompanies a great majority of cuisines. And why not understand it better, and discover its fascinating world, by taking advantage of your stay in one of Hoshino Resorts KAI properties, which spread  throughout Japan, to visit a production plant, as there are many in this region.