Sake has the potential to go with just about any dish, thanks to the deep taste of rice. Particularly in Europe these days, the sake boom is here, and the popularity of sake is slowly spreading.
Spain is no exception. The image of sake in Spain used to be that it was too strong and not very tasty, because some Chinese restaurants served sake that was not very good. But in recent years, with the increase in exports of sake from Japan, more and more people are beginning to realize how delicious real sake is, and this is starting to spark a secret craze.
・A big sake tasting party in Madrid
One of the signs of this would be a big tasting event at a sake bar in Madrid, Spain. The event was organized by an importer specializing in Japanese foodstuffs and included a tasting of over 17 brands of sake from some of Japan’s most famous breweries. This is a rare event outside of Japan where people are able to taste and compare sake on such a large scale, which shows the growing popularity of sake in Spain.
・Sake making in Spain!
Also, in the last few years, surprisingly, the original sake has been made in Spain! Spain is home to the Pyrenees Mountains, where the temperature is much lower in the mountains. As a general rule, sake is brewed in the cold season, so they must have had the right environment for sake making! There is also clean water flowing through it, so it surely has the potential to produce delicious sake.
However, the quality of water is a concern here. Water in Japan is mostly soft, whereas in Europe it is mainly hard water. Doesn’t that pose a problem for sake brewing?
Indeed, most sake made in Japan is made with soft water. Since 80% of sake is water, the quality of the water is an important factor in the taste of the sake.
However, for sake mainly from the Kansai region and also known as “Nada no Otoko zake,” one of Japan’s three great sakes, some breweries are using hard water! In hard water, fermentation is more active than in soft water, so brewing is less likely to fail. It’s an unexpected discovery that using hard water is less likely to fail in brewing sake than the soft water that is usually flowing in Japan. It’s a good sign for Spanish sake, which will likely use hard water as well as the rough tasting “Nada no Otoko zake”. I’d love to find a chance to try it.
The reputation of sake in Spain is growing rapidly. The time of “going to Madrid for a cup of sake” is just around the corner.