Across the world, it is almost always true that the locally made beverage is a natural match with the local cuisine. Burgundy, for example, is the perfect companion to Burgundy’s foods, and this is so for the wines and foods of nearly every wine-producing region. It is also true for sake and Japanese cuisine: a meeting and melding of flavors and tastes.
But sake with Western cuisines? We drink sake hot, cold, in mixed drinks and in Japanese restaurants — not with a typical American meal. Yet as more sophisticated premium sakes arrive in the United States, it has become an intriguing question: Not simply, will sake go with this Western dish, but, as with wine, which sake will go with this dish?
Enter a group of Japanese farmers of Hokkaido Muumin Village and the sake brewery Takasago Shuzo, both on Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. The farmers grew a rice called ginpuu, and from it the brewery made a traditional sake. They then invited an American chef, Christopher Lee, to come to Hokkaido to advise on how to adjust the sake to make it compatible with American foods. Among the changes Lee suggested: “Bring down the alcohol and give it familiar flavors, such as citrus.”
They named the new sake Iki, which in Japanese means a cool, chic, stylish lifestyle. And the taste? A fragrant, floral aroma; a whiff of citrus fruit; soft on the palate; relatively light in body; its 15.5 percent alcohol well integrated; a sake that does not fight the food. Indeed, it welcomed Chef Lee’s dishes.
Among those dishes were marinated salmon, scallop with black truffle, and braised beef with jalapeño and sesame aioli. The braised beef dish was a surprisingly good match with Iki. My favorite, though, was Iki with crispy pork belly, wasabi peas and sweet potato cakes. Who would have thought?
This is Iki’s introductory year. In each following year, a different American chef will be invited to adapt Iki to American cuisine and the American palate.
As the song from Fiddler on the Roof goes, “Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match, find me a find …”. The farmers and brewers of Hokkaido, with Christopher Lee’s help, have found us a match in cool, chic Iki.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs and account for nearly 48 percent of the U.S. private sector workforce. And small- and medium-sized businesses outpace all other sectors as one of the fastest-growing in the United States. InterContinental® Hotels Group (IHG) goes above and beyond to create opportunities for this segment with its IHG® Business Edge program, voted Best Small- to Mid-Sized Business Program in Global Traveler’s 2019 GT Tested Reader Survey awards.
While travel looks a bit different this year, TripAdvisor still named the top beaches in the world in anticipation of 2020 spring and summer travel. As people take to their cars to visit U. S. locales this summer, what is the top beach in the United States? According to the travel platform, Siesta Beach, located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, in Sarasota County. On an international scale, Siesta Beach ranked No. 11.
Travelers interested in the trend of forest bathing have a new resource at their disposal. Forest Bathing Finder is an all-in-one website that connects forest bathing walkers with trained guides. Forest bathing guides list qualifications and venues, routes, walks and payment requirements for browsing forest bathers to then peruse.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
At FXExpress Publications, Inc., we can’t wait to #ComeBacktoTravel, and we can’t wait for the travel industry and others to #ComeBacktoGT. Take a visual journey through Japan with us.
On June 24, Lufthansa resumed three weekly flights from San Francisco (SFO) to Munich (MUC). The flights operate Tuesday, Friday and Sunday on an Airbus A350-900 offering business, premium-economy and economy cabins.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
Emerald Waterways is offering complimentary or reduced airfare deals on all 2021 European sailings. All 2021 bookings also now include the cruise line’s Deposit Protection Plan at no extra charge. View the company’s 2021 brochure here.