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Japanese sake and umami

If you are interested in gastronomy and the flavors that your palate can perceive, you are not surprisingly aware that there are 4 flavors: sweet, salty, bitter and sour .

Si vous vous intéressez à la gastronomie et aux saveurs que votre palais peut percevoir, vous êtes sans surprise au courant qu’il existe 4 saveurs : sucré, salé, amer et acide.

Eh bien, en 1908, le professeur japonais Kikunae Ikeda a fait la découverte de l’umami : la cinquième saveur complémentaire aux 4 autres saveurs. Sa découverte a été réalisée en goûtant à une mixture d’algues. Chose relativement courante au Japon, quand on connait un minimum leur gastronomie. Malgré cette découverte pas toute récente, il n’empêche que le mystère règne concernant cette saveur. Certains vous diront que c’est purement marketing et d’autres vous diront que c’est une science exacte.

Pour ma part, une des raisons qui m’a fait lancer dans le saké japonais est qu’il est possible d’arriver à des accords parfaits de saveurs. Chose qu’il est plus difficile avec d’autres alcools.

 

Umami and food and sake pairings

If you read a little what I explain on my website, you will know that Japanese sake is one of the alcohols with the most aromatic possibilities. We detect more than 600 possible aromas . This allows Japanese sake to rise to the top of alcohols made to pair with dishes.

The concept of umami is a flavor which still raises questions today within the scientific community, but also rice alcohol lovers. .

By definition Japanese sake is the alcohol in which it will be easier for you to understand the concept of umami. While many people think of umami as a flavor, the reality is that this flavor doesn't have a particular taste, at least for me. However, I see it more as a “link” between a dish and an alcohol. When this link is perfect, I consider it to be umami . So Japanese sake lends itself perfectly to this type of experience.

Take the example of sake - cheese pairings. If you know me, you know that I have a big weakness for cheese and that for me nothing beats a good sake Junmai Kimoto heated to give a good aged county. Japanese sake never takes precedence over the flavors of a dish, but on the contrary, sake brings complementary flavors and aromas, but not additional ones. This concept of marriage of flavors without divorce or deception is what I call umami.

Even today, this is an element that I only find in Japanese sake or in high-end restaurants.

In food and sake pairings , the game consists in sublimating the food . It is the synergy between glutamic acids and the natural substances in food that will reveal umami. By enhancing food with sake, you will naturally excite your taste buds . No need for any supplement, the seasoning is therefore practically useless.

To conclude on umami, we can say that this flavor is enhancer of the other flavors present.

Successful food-sake pairings

Often one of the criteria for an unsuccessful sale and a failed tasting is failing to match your sake with your dish. I'll give you a little tip to get started in your Japanese sake tastings.

First, as a reminder, on the sake sheets you will find tasting tips as well as possible and tested pairings. But these are not the only chords and only experiences will be able to make you find new chords more or less obvious to determine.

To succeed in your first food and sake pairings , I advise you to < strong> favor simple preparations which highlight the natural taste of a product . Indeed, it is more delicate to pair sake with dishes in sauce, than with more "raw" preparations. Finally, in Japan, dishes with sauce are rarer than in France. Just look at the sushi. The Japanese are very good at cooking and enhancing raw materials.

The other tip, which might not be popular with everyone, but don't worry, it will be good for your health as well! Reduce and decrease the seasoning of your dishes ! Indeed, just as dishes in sauce can be an obstacle to umami, it is interesting not to season your dishes too much because too much seasoning no longer allows you to feel the real flavors and the real taste of your food, whereas it is Herein lies the potential of Japanese sake.

Before last tip, adapt your sakes to the taste power of your dishes . Some sakes can be heated to increase its flavors tenfold. Depending on the dish and the strength of the dish you want to consume, I therefore advise you to adjust the temperature of your sake to better suit the tasting of your dish. Some say that hot sake is for bad sake… The reality is that it is one of the most rewarding facets of Japanese sake and a point of taste and food pairings, hot sake is really delicious, fun and enriching .

Last tip, go for traditional sakes that are richer in amino acids and easier to match from an aromatic point of view .

With these tips, your tasting is unlikely to go wrong! I have only one thing to say to you: Taste, experiment, and indulge while having fun!

Avec ces conseils, il est peu probable que votre dégustation se passe mal !  J’ai qu’une chose à vous dire : Dégustez, expérimentez, et régalez-vous tout en vous amusant !

saké japonais et umami

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