“For every dish, there is probably one perfect wine – but for most of us, life is too short to figure out what it is.”*
As true as it can be, wine and food pairing is an art, even more so if you try to pair something that has never been paired, like Japanese cuisine and French wine. Yet, this is not to say that it is impossible.
Japanese cuisine historically has been based on what could be found in that area, like local seafood, vegetables and of course, rice. In the circles of samurai and nobility, food traditions have developed to a completely different level altogether, taking into account the manners, spirituality, longevity, health and youth, as well as strength of mind and body.
As a result, different dishes would have been served for different purpose, for instance, to gain energy or to relax. Recipes and guidance were often passed from generation to generation as a word of mouth and were mastered to perfection.
I was lucky to have an opportunity to join such authentic Japanese dinner, prepared by the Samurai food culture expert and direct descendant of personal chefs to high-ranking Daimyo Samurai, as well as author of a book “Samurai Gourmet” – Ms. Kanna Himiya .
Sophisticated Japanese cuisine is no less than an art and can probably be only compared to French Haute Cuisine. Meals follow one another, where each dish is the creation of a master chef and you almost feel sorry to eat it instead of just admiring.
The palette of tastes ranges from sour to sweet and the culinary journey traditionally finishes with rice, miso soup and a small dessert or fruit.
Maybe sake is the drink that goes best with Japanese food, yet, no one has ever said that it cannot be paired with French (or not only French) wine.
While discovering the beauty and taste of historic Samurai dishes, evening guests could try to pair them with four wines and champagne, selected by wine experts from Sarment. From white Viognier and Chablis 1er Cru to red Bordeaux from 2007 and Pinot Noir, we may not have come to the same conclusions on the best pairing, but it was a great experience.
And well, champagne goes well with about anything! 😉
* a quote from “What to Drink with What You Eat” that I came across on Joe’s Wine blog at http://joeswine.blogspot.jp/p/wine-quotes.html