Sake and food are one and the same
Baijiu is a traditional alcoholic beverage that is indispensable for the "cheers" of Chinese parties. It has a high alcohol content and is characterized by its mellow aroma and rich taste. In the background, Chinese food culture has a lot to do with it.
China is a vast country with large regional differences in climate and products. However, cooking techniques that use a lot of oil and reliance on heat, as well as the complex and rich flavors that combine a wide variety of seasonings and spices, are common across regions. Unlike Japanese cuisine, there are not many dishes such as raw fish and meat, simple seasonings and simple cooking that bring out the natural flavors of the ingredients.
Shirozake developed along with this kind of food culture, and is a sake that can withstand cooking that uses a lot of oil and strong seasoning.
Connected with "Ginjo incense"
Sake and Baiju
In order to convey the charm of Chinese drinking culture to Japanese people, we aimed to develop "Baiju that goes well with Japanese food".
In ancient Japan, when rice farming was introduced from the continent, a food culture was born in which rice was the staple food and fish and vegetables were the side dishes. Cooking oil did not spread until the Middle Ages, and the consumption of meat was prohibited until modern times. Japanese cuisine, which emphasizes the flavor of dashi stock and emphasizes seasonality and freshness, goes well with sake, which is made from rice, the staple food. However, if you combine it with sake that is too strong in flavor or aroma, the delicate taste and flavor of the ingredients will be spoiled.
What should be done to create “Baiju that goes well with Japanese food”? We visited a Baiju factory to learn how Baiju is brewed. We drank and compared a lot of white sake and researched the characteristics of Kogata (classification by aroma and taste) and Music (koji). And I realized that the key to making Baiju is the “fragrance” that connects refined sake and Baiju. Focusing on the commonality between the fruity "Ginjo aroma" produced by ginjo brewing and the "aromatic components" peculiar to Baiju, we arrived at Baiju brewing packed with gorgeous ginjo aroma.
Hokkaido is a treasure trove of nature, weather and food.
We went to Hokkaido in search of a cool climate suitable for ginjo brewing.
Agriculture, dairy farming, and fisheries based on vast land and abundant marine resources are a treasure trove of food boasting the highest production volume in Japan. It is also famous as a production area of high-quality rice, and the rich nature, blessed with clean air and clean water, makes it easy to obtain the high-quality raw materials necessary for sake brewing.
Japan's northernmost sake brewery,
Kunimare Sake Brewery.
I entrusted my thoughts to Japan's northernmost sake brewery. Kunimare Sake Brewery boasts a history of 140 years. Taking advantage of the cool climate, we are brewing traditional sake using pure snowmelt water and high-quality rice with the skills of Nanbu Toji.
View of Mt. Shokanbetsu
Mashike Town is located in the northwestern part of Hokkaido, sandwiched between Cape Ofuyu and Mount Shokanbetsu. Located at roughly the same latitude as Changchun City in China, the winters are extremely cold, and snow remains on Mt. Shokanbetsu until summer. Before long, the snow in Hokkaido, where the air is clear, is filtered by the land of nature and flows into the pure underground water. Mashike Town boasts the largest catch of Botan Shrimp in Japan thanks to the nutrient-rich snowmelt water.
Blessings of snowmelt water.
"Baihua Baishou" uses the pure cold snowmelt water of Mt. Shokanbetsudake for sake brewing. Ultra-soft water with low hardness is very suitable for ginjo brewing in order to keep the important ginjo aroma produced by slow fermentation at a low temperature from escaping and to keep it firmly in the moromi.
More fragrant height.
When the sake mash is squeezed, about 80% of the ginjo aroma remains in the sake lees. Inspired by the renjo technique of Baiju, in which distilled sake lees are fermented again in moromi, I came up with the idea of making seishu lees with a concentrated ginjo aroma.
With the idea of combining the traditional Nanbu toji's ginjo brewing technique with the traditional continuous brewing technique of Baiju, we succeeded in creating a Baiju that is packed with a strong ginjo aroma.
Inherited for 400 years
Northern brewing technology.
Toji, whose name is said to be derived from the ancient Chinese god of sake "Dukang", has inherited the techniques of sake brewing from generation to generation. With a history of 400 years, "Nanbu Toji" has inherited sake brewing techniques based in the northern country. Ginjo brewing, which produces a mellow fruity aroma, is a traditional technique of toji that has been passed down since ancient times.
At the base of Nanbu Toji
Cultivated raw material.
All raw materials are carefully selected domestically.
Rice koji made by processing high-quality rice as raw material. Then, sorghum grown in Nanbu Toji's home base and rice, corn, and wheat from Hokkaido are carefully steamed. After that, it is slowly fermented with sake lees in the moromi at a low temperature for a long period of time, and the ginjo aroma is locked in the moromi of “Baihua Baishou”.
in cool climates,
Take your time.
The steamed raw materials, rice malt, yeast, and pure water from the melting snow are added to the mashing barrel to prepare the moromi. In the moromi, saccharification, in which starch is converted to glucose by the enzymes of koji, and fermentation, in which glucose is converted to alcohol by the action of yeast, occur simultaneously. Using this method of multiple parallel fermentation, we can take advantage of the cool climate and slowly ferment the moromi at a low temperature to create a fruity ginjo aroma.
"Baihua Baishou" is distilled with adjustments to bring out the fragrance and flavor by blending the ginjo incense while suppressing the ingredients that cause off-flavours and offensive odors. Furthermore, after distillation, it is allowed to mature slowly over time to remove irritating odor components and oils that cause oxidation. By doing so, you can make the ginjo incense stand out.
This is how Baihua Baishou was born, which goes well with Japanese food and goes well with unique Chinese cuisine.
Chinese lion peony
In China, the peony, the king of flowers, and the powerful lion, the king of beasts, were brought to Japan across the sea, symbolizing wealth in China. It has been incorporated into Japanese traditional arts and crafts.
We hope that the Baiju that was born here will also serve as a bridge between the hearts of those who exchange cups.
And to create a new wind as a strange combination of sake and food.
With such a wish, we named this sake "Baihua Baishou".
Thank you for the Baiju that gave us an irreplaceable relationship.
And I would like to express my gratitude to all the people who picked up “Baihua Baishou”.
I am a peony.
Since the Tang Dynasty in China
Known as the "King of Hundred Flowers"
Famous poets such as Bai Juyi
Written as a symbol of wealth.
Eventually, across the sea, to Japan.
As a flower that reflects the transience of love and glory,
It came to be admired in the imperial court.
Loved madly in two countries,
I will always be beautiful.
I am a lion.
As a symbol of bravery,
Reign as the "King of Beasts".
In India and China, the power to exorcise evil is revered,
Later in Japan, it was enshrined as a sacred beast that protects the sacred area.
My power is great in my head alone,
The lion head is considered auspicious to ward off evil spirits.
By still being feared and respected,
I am proud of my unparalleled strength.
Let's reveal the secrets that united us.
Even the invincible lion has one weakness.
It is "worms in the body".
Even the small bugs that hide in my hair can eat up my body if they grow.
The lion rested under the peonies.
This is because the night dew kills insects.
If the peony and the lion lean together,
I was never threatened by other creatures.
Two kings harboring secret weakness,
By being united by each other,
It continues to exist as an overwhelmingly strong and beautiful existence.
What a strange “relationship”.
At some point, people will turn to "Karajishi Peony"
I entrusted my wish for immortal beauty and strength.
Tonight too, the two kings
Endless glory and peace
Dreaming of nectar as one.