Pressing Matters: Kozaemon Sake & Kasu Dinner

pressing matters by tangerinee
pressing matters, a photo by tangerinee on Flickr. Explanation of the photo is below.

Hello Sake Fans,

A note on something coming up very soon, in fact it’s this Thursday.

Minami Restaurant in Yaletown is having another sake dinner featuring Nakashima Shuzo, makers of Kozaemon brand sake. Nakashima Shuzo is based in Mizunami, (Gifu Prefecture) in the Chubu region of Japan.Established over 300 years ago, this small family-run sake brewery has a deeply reverential reputation amongst sake lovers.

Here’s your chance to try what’s available in BC, paired with Minami’s exceptional food. The twist is Nakashima Shuzo will be providing Minami with their sake kasu which will be incorporated into each dish.

What is sake kasu? It is the lees that remain after a sake has been pressed–the solids that did not break down during fermentation. Kasu contains an abundance of amino acids, proteins, minerals, and B vitamins. It is even reputed to help lower cholesterol. The fermented aspect of the rice solids is highly effective for using as a fish/meat marinade as it softens protein extremely well. In Japan, kasu is mainly used as a fish marinade, in soups (kasu jiru) and as a pickling agent for vegetables, but the permutations are endless and kasu is getting more recognition for its versatility in the culinary world. And I have to add, some women even use kasu in their beauty regimen as a masque to soften and whiten the skin.

Doesn’t this make you curious to find out what Minami’s chefs will do with Kozaemon’s kasu? I sure am! And paired with Kozaemon sake too? It’s going to be a treat.

Kozaemon Nakashima, 14th Generation President of Nakashima Shuzo, will be in attendance.

Price is $145 (tax and tip included). Reception at 6:45pm and dinner starts at 7:00pm. You must call Minami directly to reserve a spot or go to this link if you would like to register online:

http://kozaemonxkasusakedinner.eventbrite.ca/

Hope to see you there!

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My photo above illustrates how sake mash is separated using an assakuki, a mechanical press with hydraulic bladders that expand and push the moromi (mash) into the stainless steel plates. The solids form on the sides of the plates which are then easily removed from the assakuki (or more famously referred to as the Yabuba, which is a well-known brand of mechanical sake press). You can see the kasu is being extracted from the assakuki by the kurabito (brewery worker) and some of the not-so-perfect remains in the nearby container. This was taken at one of the very first breweries I had ever visited: Tama no Hikari Sake Brewery, located in Fushimi, Kyoto. Fushimi is a historically renowned district for sake making due to its pristine, soft water. Today, it is still the second largest producer of sake in the country.

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