So, Super Sake Boy was put in charge of writing this blog, but he has been dragging his feet and this event was too awesome not to write about. So, I, Nihonshu Girl, aka Blossomkitty, will attempt to do this event justice. My memory is somewhat faded and perhaps slightly hampered by the fifty-ish sakes we tried that day. However, we did come home with lots of bottles for subsequent tasting, and I am yet to be disappointed with our selection. We have also done some follow up research at Wabi Sabi Salon in Collingwood, who now have a warm sake tasting station, and it is very excellent. Read about Wabi Sabi (my fave Melbourne Japanese restaurant) here and a link to their website is here.
Sake Matsuri, which means sake festival in Japanese, was Australia’s first sake festival, and was in Melbourne on June 6, this year. The event was managed by Revel, who bought together 6 different wholesalers, offering over 60 different sakes to taste, over a period of four hours. It was excellent. There were two different food truck companies offering food, so we didn’t end up too messy and the ticket purchase gave us a guide and a glass and an ochoko (small ceramic sake cup, with an indigo swirl in the bottom for checking sake clarity). Personally, Super Sake Boy and I tend not to use ochoko very often, as we would end up with RSI constantly filling the tiny thimble like cups. But they are very beautiful, and of course, traditional.
We did make a very serious attempt to try as many sakes as we could. We are not overly keen on nigiri, or cloudy sake, but we did try a couple. I think we gave nearly everything else in the room a nudge. It was educational. We have tended to discard warm sake as cheap and unappealing, however, there has been a resurgence of popularity in Japan of warm sake. Kind of a bit like hipster old school stuff is popular here. Well, we were certainly turned around on that misconception. It was yum. There were some stand out sakes. One aged one, the colour of port, with an equally sweet and rich aroma, but with strong soy sauce flavours, really interesting. Quite a few that we were familiar with, but many we had not seen.
The staff serving the sake were super knowledgable. Most would be sake sommeliers, I imagine. There is a qualification for that. (It is on our to-do list, after we achieve our JLPT, but that’s another story). Many had excellent recommendations for different breweries to check out in Japan, and we learned a great deal about the brewing process, the different methods, the different styles and the different areas where sake is produced.
So, after the matsuri, we went and ate Japanese and then went to our favourite bar, Hihou, and drank more sake. Check out Hihou here.Surprisingly, we were pretty good the next day. We attribute this to the health properties of sake 😜