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Toronto + Japan Magazine reports on a sake pairing event held on 26 February 2019 at the official residence of Takako Ito, Japanese Consul General in Toronto. The event was also attended by recently appointed Canadian Sake Samurai Michael Tremblay.

The event kicked off with an aperitif of junmai daiginjō Hōyō from Miyagi no Jizake, described as having a mellow aroma and pleasant taste with a clean finish.

Next was Koshi no Kanbai junmai ginjō Sai, delicate with a short finish, served with salted edamame, and Taiheizan Tenkō junmai daiginjō (milled to 40%) paired with a starter of spinach with shiro-ae (sauce made from white sesame, tofu and white miso) and dashi-maki tamago (rolled omelette cooked with fish stock), followed by fried and marinated fish served with Ryujin junmai daiginjō Yamada Nishiki, gently acidic but also sweet and fruity, chosen to bring out the sweet-and-sour character of this popular izakaya side dish.

Nanbu Bijin jumai ginjō was selected to accompany tuna and sea bream sashimi for its gentle, elegant aroma – apparently Michael Tremblay’s favourite pairing. Umani (Japanese vegetables with chicken) was served with delicate and refined Daishichi junmai daiginjō Minowamon.

Stir-fried bitter gourd and dried bonito was paired with Zaku Ho no Tomo, while juicy Japanese beef was served with Dewazakura tokubetsu junmai Karesansui Jūnen, matured at low temperatures for 10 years. Aged for three times as long as the regular Karesansui, it had the sommeliers among the guests asking for more.

Next was blue cheese and cream cheese with miso preserves, accompanied by Meiri Hyakunen umeshu and the very casual Kikusui Funaguchi Ichiban Shibori – the first ever unpasteurised canned sake, launched in 1972.

A dessert of matcha tiramisu was accompanied by Nihonsakari Kohaku no Zeitaku with its concentrated rice sweetness, followed by a digestif of Yanagita shochu Mizunara, barrel-aged to give it an intense aroma similar to scotch.

Claude Ito, husband of the Consul General, thought the Dewazakura tokubetsu junmai Karesansui Jūnen and Japanese beef was head and shoulders above the rest.


  • Original article (Japanese, Toronto + Japan Magazine, 1 April 2019) Also has some photos of the sake and food.

Looks like an amazing event, although I can’t help but think they missed a trick by not including more non-Japanese dishes for pairings. Not sure what sake would match with poutine…