2021 theme: "Oysters"
For 2021, the theme for The World's Best Sake Pairing is one of the world's most loved ingredients: oysters. Oysters come in a variety of types that differ based on climate, water quality, production area, and cultivation method, which imparts differences in the thickness and flavor. This makes oysters a food through which you can experience the unique profile of a region.
It is said that there are more than 150 kinds of oysters around the world. These include the Pacific oyster, Kumamoto oyster, Eastern oyster, Olympia oyster, Belon oyster, and Sydney rock oyster.
Eaten raw, oysters have a rich and creamy taste. Cooking them makes the meat more plump and the flavor more concentrated. When smoked, they develop a richer and more mellow flavor. This makes oysters highly adaptable to the creativity of the chef.
Wines like Chablis and Sauvignon make excellent pairings for oysters. Sake, for its part, has surprised gourmands with its different way of enhancing oyster dishes.
A key point when pairing with oyster dishes is the iron contained in alcohol. The iron content of alcohol can leave a metallic taste and raw flavor of oysters in the mouth. However, since sake is produced only with rice and water with low iron content and the resulting brew is itself low in iron, it avoids these typical problems.
Sake also contains an overwhelming number of amino acids. The combination of amino acids and oysters enhances the taste of oysters greatly.
Consider the unique properties of oysters made in different regions as you explore the best pairing with sake. We look forward to seeing oyster dishes that reflect the creativity of the chef, and we are excited about sharing them with the world.