We’re so Excited for Otakon 2014!

We can't wait for Otakon 2014!!!
We can't wait for Otakon 2014!!!

We can’t wait for Otakon 2014!!!

Momokawa Saké Pairing Smackdown in Portland Tomorrow

The ultimate saké and food pairing challenge will hit maximum velocity this Thursday when 2 local restaurants pair Momokawa Organic Junmai Ginjo with dishes from 2 diverse cuisines- Modern Japanese fusion and deeply rooted, classic Mexican cuisine.

PRLog (Press Release)Aug 01, 2011 – WHAT: The ultimate saké and food pairing challenge will hit maximum velocity this Thursday when two local restaurants pair Momokawa Organic Junmai Ginjo with dishes from two very diverse cuisines- Modern Japanese fusion and deeply rooted, classic Mexican cuisine.

WHEN: Media arrivals begin at 5:00 p.m., with competition kicking off at 6:00 p.m. sharp

WHERE: Yakuza Izakaya, 5411 NE 30th Ave., Portland, OR 97211

WHO: Chef David Gaspar de Alba of Yakuza Izakaya vs. Chef Oswaldo Bibiano of Autentica

Chef David Gaspar de Alba was born in El Paso, Texas, where the heat and vibrant community gave him a solid basis for the love for spice and flavor in his life. While Chef David holds western Texas near and dear to his heart, food culture brought him to Portland. From the rich Kobe tartare, to succulent duck, all the way to delicate sashimi, Chef David has a hand in a wealth of food components at Yakuza. Inspired by the Japanese izakaya concept, Yakuza is a food-lover’s bar.

Autentica was created through a combination of traditional cooking in Chef Oswaldo Bibiano’s hometown of Guerrero, Mexico, and the appreciation for fine dining he developed while cooking in some of Portland’s most distinguished restaurants. Autentica chooses the freshest ingredients from local farms whenever possible and the menu reflect the changing seasons but keeps its roots firmly planted in traditional Mexican cuisine.

MORE: This event is open to the public. Both dishes featured in the challenge will be available at Yakuza Lounge and Autentica as the special for the remainder of the evening. This challenge was originally inspired by a tweet from Yakuza Lounge asking for a smackdown on the best pairing possible with saké.

Follow developing details on Twitter with #Momokawachallenge

ABOUT SAKÉONE:  SakéOne is America’s premium saké company and importer of some of Japan’s finest saké. Founded in 1992 as an importer, SakéOne has been crafting strictly junmai ginjo quality saké at its state-of-the-art kura (brewery) in Forest Grove, the heart of the Willamette Valley: Oregon’s craft beer-brewing and winemaking mecca, since 1998. In 2010, SakéOne’s Momokawa “Ruby” Junmai Ginjo earned a silver medal at the prestigious U.S. National Sake Appraisal 2010, no small feat for an American producer in a crowd of more than 300 Japanese entrants and a judging panel held to precise Japanese standards. Though SakéOne clearly honors tradition, their Oregonian pioneering spirit is constantly evolving and has truly come to define Oregon craft saké. For more information, please visit www.sakeone.com.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kristin Namimoto at Charles Communications, 415-701-9463 or Kristin@charlescomm.com

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Sake shipments surge in 3 disaster-hit prefectures after promotional efforts

Sake is shown at Okunomatsu Sake Brewery in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture. Local brewers have seen a recent rise in shipments thanks to promotional events following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. (Mainichi)

Sake is shown at Okunomatsu Sake Brewery in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture. Local brewers have seen a recent rise in shipments thanks to promotional events following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. (Mainichi)

Shipments of refined sake from the three disaster-hit prefectures of Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate boomed in May, apparently as a result of promotional events to help the areas recover from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Brewers in the prefectures, who saw shipments rise between 20 and 60 percent in May from a year earlier, say the sudden popularity is unprecedented. At the same time, some fear that concerns about the effects of radiation from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant on rice and other materials used in the brewing process may hurt sales of sake produced from this autumn onwards.

In Fukushima Prefecture, three brewing facilities were destroyed in the March 11 disaster, along with eight in Miyagi Prefecture and three in Iwate Prefecture. One other brewery in Fukushima had to be evacuated because it was located within 20 kilometers of the nuclear plant crippled by the March 11 tsunami. Distribution channels were also hurt, and according to the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association, year-on-year shipments for March fell to 78 percent in Fukushima Prefecture, 55.1 percent in Miyagi Prefecture, and 61.3 percent in Iwate Prefecture.

In April, however, events were held at commercial facilities and restaurants to help the prefectures recover from the disaster by actively promoting local products — including sake. A sake brewers association in Fukushima received many requests to take part in events, and it continued to promote local sake in Tokyo, Kyoto and other areas until the end of July. Orders from wholesale stores also increased, and shipments in April reached 106.6 percent compared with the same month the previous year in Fukushima Prefecture. The figure reached 132.7 percent in Miyagi Prefecture and 121.3 percent in Iwate Prefecture. Year-on-year increases were also seen in May, with shipments rising to 122.2 percent in Fukushima Prefecture, 164.7 percent in Miyagi Prefecture, and 138.6 percent in Iwate Prefecture. Shipments were also looking up in June.

Nationwide shipments of refined sake have been declining in Japan after peaking at about 1.7 million kiloliters in 1975. In 2009 the figure dropped to about 620,000 kiloliters. The recent boom has accordingly caught brewers off guard.

“We’ve never experienced sales like this — it’s almost scary,” commented Atsushi Nakui of the Iwate prefectural brewer’s association.

Chihiro Mori of the Miyagi prefectural brewers association worried whether brewers would be able to handle the popularity in the winter, when demand for refined sake increases. Some brewers are said to be out of stock of some products.

However, some industry officials worry about the future of sake produced using rice harvested this autumn — after the outbreak of the Fukushima nuclear crisis. The sake being shipped out now uses rice harvested before the disaster, and was mainly produced between October last year and February this year.

The Fukushima prefectural sake brewers association has from this summer onwards decided to have water and rice used by all breweries tested for radiation.

“We received a painful reminder that sake is produced using the abundance of nature, and we want to quickly produce sake without worrying,” explained Atsushi Abe, an executive director of the association.

Okunomatsu Sake Brewery in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, which had been particular about using local rice in its products, is considering switching to rice produced in other prefectures starting this autumn.

“Even if the radiation level of the sake we produce is below the standard, that won’t be enough to persuade customers to choose our products. We will make a thorough effort to ensure safety and peace of mind,” said company official Yasuo Usuki.

(Mainichi Japan) August 3, 2011

Japan’s Youngest Budding Sake Sommelier

I don’t necessarily agree with this assessment, and I can’t vouch for her talent, I but I love her spirit and passion.