French cuisine is one of the three major cuisines in the world, and it goes without saying that French food is gourmet cuisine. Although it is not so noticeable, the number of people who enjoy drinking sake with French food is increasing nowadays.
Sake required for French cuisine
The Kura Master, a sake competition “by the French, for the French, and for the French cuisine,” is held annually in France. The first one was held in 2017, which means that in recent years, the combination of French cuisine and sake has been gaining attention in the country.
What is unique about this competition is that the top sommeliers in France voluntarily bring together a panel of judges with the desire to hold a sake competition. In other words, the judges are looking for sake to pair with the food in their restaurants.
They note that sake is not only unique in terms of taste but also “easy to store without deterioration after opening the bottle. It’s true that corked wines cannot easily be capped once opened, and it’s a speed race against oxidation, but with sake, the sealed lid can be put back on, so it lasts relatively longer! Certainly, from the point of view of the owner of a restaurant, the ability to preserve sake is a great advantage. And if it enhances the taste of the food, it’s only logical that you would want to use it.
Another advantage of sake is that, like wine, it is easy to serve in a glass. In Japan, more and more places are going out of their way to serve sake, especially kunshu, in wine glasses. A glass that allows you to feel the aroma of the sake is a great way to enjoy a more gorgeous aroma.
In fact, in the last few years, at French restaurants in Paris, France, there has been a sharp increase in the number of opportunities for sommeliers to pair and serve sake with food.
Sake exports to France are skyrocketing
According to trade statistics from Japan’s Ministry of Finance, exports of sake to France have increased by a whopping 2.5 times in the last five years. And the value has more than tripled, which is remarkable not only because of the increase in consumption in France but also because of the increase in unit prices. This shows that sake is becoming more popular in France.
Moreover, there has been born a sake brewery in France that produces sake for French cuisine. There is no doubt that the wave of Japanese and French sake will continue to grow. I would love to try sake made outside of Japan someday.