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FNN Prime reports on how Nagano Prefecture named itself the “fermentation long life prefecture” last year and starting heavily publicising its fermented foods and their health benefits, particularly how their amino acids and vitamins benefit the gut.

One theme that emerged was combining two fermented foods together for a double dose of fermented goodness – such as bread and miso. Or sake and yoghurt!

Founded around 140 years ago, Takahashi Sukesaku Shuzōten is the only sake brewery in Furuma, in the Shinano district of Nagano. They still brew today as they did back then, maturing their sake in large wooden barrels to give it an intense flavour.

In a bid to make the sake more accessible to more people, they decided to combine it with another fermented food – in this case a milk-based product. The nearby Tsuchiya livestock farm has a herd of 69 dairy cows and produces around 2 tons of milk every day. The combined product is marketed as from the Shinano Daichi (Shinano plain).

The owner of Takahashi Sukesaku Shuzōten commented that their joint product is low in alcohol at 5%, with the sake underpinning the depth and sweetness of the yoghurt. It uses fresh drinking yoghurt from the Shinano plain, carefully balanced with the sake to bring out the best of both. Yoghurt relies on lactic fermentation for depth of flavour, so the addition of even more flavour from sake brings it to a new level.

The owner of the Tsuchiya farm wasn’t sure about the joint venture at first, but was surprised by how good it tasted. He adds that the cows on the farm are even fed fermented food – maize or grass inoculated with lactobacilli to produce something like a pickled food that is easier for the cows to digest.