Nagano sake roadshow | Sake tastings in Belgium


  • Nagano Sake Roadshow in BelgiëNagano Sake Roadshow in België
  • Sake tastings tijdens de Nagano Sake Roadshow bij restaurants in BelgiëSake tastings tijdens de Nagano Sake Roadshow bij restaurants in België
  • Nagano - sake regionNagano - sake region
  • Nagano - sake regionNagano - sake region
  • Nagano - sake regionNagano - sake region
  • Nagano Sake Roadshow in BelgiëNagano Sake Roadshow in België

The Nagano prefecture in Japan is sending a delegation to Belgium in May to teach those interested about sake for two weeks. Sake and Japanese cuisine are becoming increasingly popular in fine dining and trendy restaurants in Belgium, but few people actually know what sake is. In collaboration with the local Japanese government and Belgian sake importer Kaori, a Japanese brewmaster and sake expert from the Nagano prefecture will give tastings, workshops, and training for two weeks. If you’re quick, you can book a spot at participating restaurants DIM Dining, Zuru Zuru, Chef Yoshi, Nikoniko, and Tanuki, but CRU and Filliers are also ready to host the Nagano sake roadshow.

3 minutes read

Have you ever tasted artisanal Japanese sake?

Be inspired by the fascinating world of artisanal Japanese sake from the beautiful Nagano region, known for its Japanese Alps and the excellent quality of water. Join one of the events where you can discover sake under the professional guidance of a Nagano brewmaster and sake expert.

Sake masterclasses, pairings and tastings during the Nagano sake roadshow

Yuya Muramatsu, master brewer at Hokko Masamune, and Azumi Tamaoka, sake expert from the Nagano prefecture, will be passing through Belgium from May 26th to June 6th. Their Belgian guide, Annabelle Maes from Kaori, a Japanologist and distributor of sakes from the Nagano prefecture, has put together a program to bring high-level tastings, pairings, and masterclasses about sake to Belgian hospitality. They are bringing sakes from 10 different breweries, one for each Nagano region.

The Nagano region

The Nagano prefecture is blessed with natural abundance, and its terroir is carefully protected, restored, and passed through by its people. Although the vast nature of Nagano offers many blessings, environmental challenges such as incredibly heavy snowfall and a mountainous and volcanic landscape create challenging obstacles in daily life. By living together with the terroir and using the creativity that arises from these limitations, Nagano is home to countless specialties – hidden gems that can only be found here.

Calendar of the Nagano Sake Roadshow:

Saturday, May 27: Tasting event at CRU Dilbeek: registration through CRU required.

Saturday, May 27: Sake pairing menu at Tanuki restaurant, Bruges: reservation required.

Sunday, May 28: Tasting event at CRU Overijse: registration through CRU required.

Wednesday, May 31: Tasting event at Nikoniko, Brussels: reservation required.

Thursday, June 1: Sake pairing menu with Chef Yoshi, Ghent: reservation required.

Friday, June 2: Sake tasting & distillery visit at Filliers: Distillate vs. Fermentation: reservation only through Brussels Japan Association and for press.

Saturday, June 3: Sake pairing menu with Nick Hofman of Zuru Zuru Ramen (Ghent): reservation required.

Saturday, June 3: Tasting event at CRU Ghent: registration through CRU required.

Sunday, June 4: Tasting event at CRU Antwerp: registration through CRU required.

Sunday, June 4: Sake pairing menu with DIM Dining, Antwerp: reservation required.

Monday, June 5: Sake education with Jonas Kellens of DIM Dining and Sake Sommelier Association, in collaboration with Nagano sake: currently only for press and by invitation.

Bookings can be made through the website, which is still in preview and will be further updated.

About sake

Did you know this about sake: Japan is divided into 47 prefectures or provinces, and each prefecture has its own type of rice and water, which influences the taste (Nagano = mainly Miyama-Nishiki rice and Hitogokochi). Sake is not a distilled spirit, but a fermentation, and is made only from rice and water, with the help of koji (a mold) and yeast. Sake does not ferment like wine: in grapes, sugar is already present that can be converted into alcohol, but in rice, the starch must first be converted to sugar with koji. Sake used for cooking, or the warm table sake you may have drunk in a sushi restaurant, are of lower quality and not representative of the full sake spectrum.

You don’t have to drink sake warm from cups; you can also drink sake cold and from a glass. Sake is actually called ‘nihonshu’: ‘sake’ actually means ‘alcoholic drink’.

Sake is divided into categories based on its ‘polishing rate’: rice is polished before fermentation, removing the hard outer layer of the starch core. The more polished the rice, the finer the taste and the more premium the sake. The polishing rate is represented by the percentage of rice remaining, so a 60% polishing rate means that 40% has been removed. (Source: Shinsu sake course by Jonas Kellens and Sake Sommelier Association, part of the Nagano sake roadshow program).

About Kaori

Annabelle Maes and Joost Sunt share a passion for Japan and enjoy quality in all areas. Together, they founded Kaori in 2018, which means “aroma” in Japanese. They have developed their product range into a beautiful assortment that they sell to hospitality and retail. In addition, they welcome you to their Kaori Experience Center for a tasting, workshop or original event in a unique setting in the middle of nature.

Website: Nagano sake & Kaori

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