Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kampai Toronto Sake Festival

Kampai Toronto which took place on May 31, 2012 was the largest sake event ever taken place in Canada. Since Ben (aka the bf) is a big sake fan, I bought tickets for us as soon as I heard about it as a belated anniversary gift (he was on a work trip for 5 weeks). As per their advertisement, there was over 100 types of sake to try but frankly I don't think there was as much which was ok since we arrive later than expected due to work.

Frankly I like sake but not as huge a fan as the boyfriend but we have been trying to taste as much as possible since we met 4 years ago.... I won't pretend to be an expert and same as wine, I always though that you should drink what you like, everyone have different taste and preference so why judge by region, year or price.

But here are some of the most common sake styles that you'll normally find/hear :
Genshu ~ Undiluted Sake which is bolder in flavor w/ higher alcohol content
Nama ~ Unpasteurized sake
Nigori ~ Unfiltered or "cloudy" sake which has more texture and creamy on palate
Tokubetsu ~ "Special" sake. Brewers typically use this to make a Tokubetsu Honjozo or Tokubetsu Junmai. Usually there's a higher milling rate or a special process being use.

And sake are graded from low to high as follow :
Futsu, Honjozo, Junmai, Ginjo & Daiginjo

 Here are a few that have been my favorite for years  (^_^)
Wakatake Onikoroshi "Demon Slayer" Dai Ginjo & Ginjo
(Agent: Ozawa Canada and they are conveniently located next to where I work)

Hakkaisan "Eight Peaks Sake" Honjozo & Tokubetsu Junmai
(Agent: Ozawa Canada)

Somewhere in the middle of the event, I pass the camera to Ben and he just manage to not take any picture since someone was too busy sampling :(
And he didn't take a picture of one of my all time fave, the Southern Beauty (the below was taken by Instagram, hence the quality).

Nanbubjin "Southern Beauty Super Premium" Junmai Dai Ginjo Sake (shown in below pic)
& Nanbubijin "Southern Beautykubetsu Junmai Ginjo (n/a pic)

The one in the can was the only unpasteurized Sake of the night and ends up being favorite of most of my friends.This was the first time I had one in Canada, guess it's really difficult to import unpasteurized items.....  And I wish Toronto carry more of those one serving can sake which is readily available even in the states. This allow to taste more variety in one sitting or maybe order your own during dinner

Jumai Daiginjo Setsugekka 雪月花 ♥
Have never had this one before but this was by far my favorite of the night ♥ and am desperate to get my hand on a bottle of this.
No wonder I love it so much, this sake received Gold at the International Wine & Spirit Competition and also place first at the Japanese National Wine & Spirit Competition.

 (Agent: Sakagura Canada Inc)
 1st place in the pure rice category at the Japanese National Wine & Spirits Competition.

 (Agent: Sakagura Canada Inc)

Junmai Ginjo Land of Water + Amanto +
Junmai Dasiginjo Hakuum Yuyu (like this one too, the one w/purple label)
 (Agent: Sakagura Canada Inc)

Frankly I was a bit skeptical at first with this non traditional sake, especially it's by Ceelo Green and some other celebs (O_o)"
They only had the Silver Sake for tasting which was the cheapest version and the other bottle was just for display :( Heh, I'm not complaining about not drinking enough sake that night but if you were promoting your brand to all the professional and restaurateur attending that night, I would assume you'll want to pull out your best stuff especially with all the premium ones all around

Ontario Spring Water Sake Company
Frankly I'm not a big fan (see my post here) but it's really a good start and just feel like I have to support them for what they are doing since they are after all the first Eastern North America's sake brewery using traditional Japanese methods and recipes with Ontario spring water and it is member of the Brewing Society of Japan.

Some of the more common sake that you can find at LCBO

 Didn't get time to try everything :(

Totally needed some food before all the sake =P

Guu Izakaya (so addictive)

OMG, these beef cubes are just melt in your mouth goodness ♥

It was a full house

Verdict :
I am hoping that there's more of these Sake event to come (^_^)
It was well worth the ticket price with all the premium sake you got to try

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