Sake: Western cuisine discovers Far Eastern rice wine

It goes without saying that sake is an excellent accompaniment to sushi and sashimi. But the Japanese rice wine can also be a promising accompaniment to Western cuisine.

Japanese rice wine sake is increasingly being discovered by western restaurants.

Sommeliers from the western world are now increasingly discovering the possibilities that sake offers as a food accompaniment to European cuisine and are integrating the Japanese national drink into the wine accompaniments to menus. In addition to the experience that sake’s completely unique world of taste can expand the culinary horizon in an extremely interesting way, its suitability as an accompaniment to dishes that are rather difficult to pair with conventional wines makes it so attractive .

Sake: Its aroma and acidity distinguish it from wine made from grapes

Sake differs significantly from wine made from grapes not only because of the initially perhaps somewhat unusual, mostly somewhat yeasty-mushroom-like aroma , but above all because of its taste on the palate. In contrast to wine, sake has very little acidity, but a clearly palatable content of amino acids , which are responsible for the protein taste known as “umami”. Umami-rich ingredients such as caviar, scallops, asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, egg dishes or parmesan can easily come into conflict with the acidity and tannin structure of a wine.

Suitable for salads, pickled vegetables and seafood

Anyone who has ever tasted a strong, tannic red wine with air-dried Serano ham may have been surprised at the resulting unpleasant metallic taste, which can be traced back to such a reaction with the umami. With its own umami taste, on the other hand, the sake adapts particularly well here. Ingredients that are particularly high in acid can also pose a problem with conventional wines , as they reduce the perception of the acidity of the wine and can thus throw it off balance.

Since sake, in contrast to wine, only relies to a small extent on acid as a balancing taste element, the acidity of the food cannot harm it. So that isRice wine is also an excellent partner, for example, with salads and pickled vegetables or seafood.

Sake: Its aroma stands up to strong dishes

But the aroma of the sake can also be used wonderfully with Western gourmet cuisine – both with the “quiet” and “loud” tones. The discreet aroma of a fine Junmai Daiginjo adapts in a highly refined way to particularly delicate dishes with subtle nuances, such as a scallop carpaccio . On the other hand, it is often surprising that the aroma of a sake , which is usually more neutral and reserved compared to wine, is not lost in particularly strong dishes. A somewhat firmer structured Honjozo can also stand up well as a partner to a venison pâté or even particularly spicy blue cheeses.