If Easter means new beginning...
"Hmm... S-a-k-e... :D"
Bet most of you have already known April is the season of Sakura - Cherry Blossom in Japan. But what you might not know, is that April is also the season of encounter and farewell. The reason is simple because in Japan, both school year and fiscal year start on 1 April and end on 31 March of the following year.
Though the exact date varies from year to year, in the west, Easter and April's Fool Day would be two of the biggest events in *April.
*The earliest Easter Sunday falls on 22 March and the latest on 25 April
Easter is just around the corner. Why not throw your family and friends a Big Surprise? A picnic on Easter Sunday with cheese and ham and lamb and fish... can be really dull, so as always, we have selected 4 wonderful sakes that suit the occasion. AND, as always again, all you have to do is either serve chilled or just pop some ice in and enjoy. A simple new twist, no?
1. Choya Umeshu Herb (Shiso)
We have got this amazingly unique aperitif for a good start. Together with other great products like Kokuto Umeshu and Uji Green Tea Umeshu, Shiso (Japanese herb aka red perilla) Umeshu from CHOYA introduces you to a more sophisticated world of umeshu by infusing aromatic shiso herbs into the original. It has an anise-like and/ or cinnamon-like taste and nose that go well with fruit, cheese, nut and pate platters.
Just a hot tip for everyone, it makes a stunning digestif when mixing with hot water in winter! Add according to your taste.
2. Kinkan Kuromatsu Junmai
We have chosen this gold medal winner of the Junmai Sake Division at National New Sake Competition 2011 to match with your fish dishes. The local koji mould, Saitonoshizuku and the pure subsoil water of Nishiki River in Yamaguchi contributed to the well-developed fragrance of rice and its clean, smooth texture. It has a good amount of acidity with a slight sweetness. Another great choice that can be serve chilled or slightly warmed.
3. Kaido Imo Shochu
This red gem from Kagoshima-based Hamada Shuzo is here to accompany your meat dishes. Made from black koji mould, sweet potato and pure deep ocean water, not only does Kaido smell and taste sweet, it also has a more complex layer of flavours. Very smooth at first but soon replaced by the mellowness, then finishes clean. As it is fairly easy to drink, you can enjoy neat, serve chilled, on ice or even mixed with water or juice. Oh! It's a perfect choice for those who are on the lookout for lower calories, too. *wink*
4. Kirin Free 24 cans
Whatever reason it is that you prefer not to consume any alcohol should not bar you from enjoying the taste of beer... what on earth am I talking about? Isn't beer one of the alcoholic beverages? Partly correct. This is a novelty from KIRIN which tastes like a light lager with absolutely NO alcohol content. One big mystery of this mock beer is that it has the signature bitter aftertaste of beer, just slightly and doesn't linger for too long. It is the wild card that sweep everyone off their feet!
Setting religious beliefs and traditions aside, maybe Easter, well, April is the perfect time to say goodbye to something old and start something new. Easier said than done but you are not alone! May we all learn from the good quality of sakura - bloom to the fullest and then return to earth graciously. Do try having sake under a sakura tree when chance comes by. You might get the courage and inspiration needed to let go and move on.
"Sakura Storm at Kita Shinagawa by Ebara Shrine"
image courtesy of Rekishi no Tabi
Copyright © Rekishi no Tabi, flickr, All Rights Reserved.
... then Easter also means the golden chance to try SAKE!