Nothing says “Japan” quite like green tea and sake. With centuries of history and tradition behind them, these beverages capture the country’s unique terroir in a cup, and with different regions displaying unique characteristics, there are a range of unique flavour profiles to entertain the tastebuds of people all around the country.
While the two beverages are usually enjoyed separately, they have joined forces in the past for some interesting green tipples. Now, though, it’s time for the two to come together for a unique taste sensation, with matcha from Kyoto’s Uji region and sake from Yamaguchi Prefecture being used to create a brand new limited-edition sweet.
Called the Dassai Matcha Truffle, these new chocolates have been created with two esteemed Japanese companies at the helm. Asahi Shuzo, the makers of Dassai, Japan’s most popular brand of sake, have overseen production of the new sweet, which is being distributed by renowned confectionery maker Warakubeniya, run by theaward-winning chocolatier Hironobu Tsujiguchi.
Tsujiguchi has made a name for himself around Japan as an innovator in the world of chocolate, often incorporating traditional Japanese ingredients such as seaweed and wasabi into his creations. Tsujiguchi’s latest release blends sake and matcha into small bite-sized truffles, which are sold in two to 16 piece sets, served up in beautiful wooden boxes.
Underneath the lid is a blurb from the company to let you know about all the special ingredients that have gone into making the product. The chocolates, which have been luxuriously made with matcha powdered green tea from Kyoto’s prized Uji region, have been imbued with Dassai, a high-grade sake which is the “pride of Japan”.
Eager to find out what these looked like, we lifted the packaging from inside our four-piece pack, to find that the truffles were a brilliant green, and coated with a generous dusting of matcha that left delicate sprinkles around the box.
While these bite-sized chocolates are designed to be enjoyed without any extra alcoholic accompaniment, we couldn’t resist adding some Dassai Japanese rice wine on the side to get the full sake experience.
The type of Japanese rice wine we chose is the same one used in the truffles – Dassai 23, one of the most polished sakes on the market. As a Junmai Daiginjo sake, this blend contains nothing but water, rice koji, and rice that has been milled to 23 percent, which gives it a clean and refreshing aftertaste.
The truffle itself packs a big matcha punch on the first bite, which instantly melts on your tongue in that delightful truffle-like way, filling your mouth with the flavours of a creamy ganache chocolate that’s heavy on the powdered green tea.
There’s a slight crunch with the thin coating of chocolate, and just when you think you can’t taste any alcohol in among all the powerful matcha flavours, the heat arrives, ever so slightly, bringing a tart and clean note to the otherwise creamy sweet.
While the alcohol is definitely present, there’s no sharp surprise when it appears on your tongue. Instead, it simply rounds off the sweet beautifully, imparting a rice wine aftertaste that sake fans will definitely love.
Drinking a small cup of Dassai 23 rice wine while eating the truffle enhances the sake flavour, creating an indulgent experience. Containing hints of grape, strawberry and floral notes, the sake is so refined that the closer to room temperature it’s served, the more it tastes like water.
The sake itself is so clean that it pairs remarkably well with the matcha truffle. Rice and green tea is always a good combination, and as it turns out, blending these base notes into an alcoholic sweet results in an equally delicious pairing.
The two to 16-piece boxed sets range in price from 800-5,400 yen and are available to purchase at Warakubeniya stores in Tokyo and online. They will also be sold at the following department stores until Valentine’s Day: Sapporo Daimaru, Umeda Hankyu, JR Kyoto Isetan, JR Nagoya Takashimaya, Shinjuku Isetan, Ginza Mitsukoshi, and at the Salon du Chocolat event at the Shinjuku NS Building (next to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office).
If you’re looking for more matcha goods to satisfy your green-tea-loving tastebuds, you might want to stop by this Ginza cafe as well, for a special green tea parfait that comes in the shape of a Japanese zen garden. It’s one of the best ways to relax indoors with some tea and a meditative garden view!
Read more stories from SoraNews24.
- External Link