[:it]With Lorenzo Ferraboschi to discover Sake and its combinations, including gastronomic ones[:]



When we talk about sake, unless we come across a real enthusiast, we immediately realize that most people know very little about this Japanese drink with a thousand-year history. Fortunately, interest in sake is also increasing in our country and consequently its culture is slowly revealing itself to our eyes and our palate, telling us a story full of charm and closely linked to gastronomy.

To discover the secrets of this drink we spoke with Lorenzo Ferraboschi, who is a great expert on sake: founder of Sake Company, owner of the Sakeya restaurant in Milan, Lorenzo is also the Italian manager of the Sake Sommelier Association, for which he holds courses aimed to those who want to become an expert in sake.

Here's what he told us:


Lorenzo, first of all: how did you approach the world of sake?

By chance. I graduated in Architecture; one day I gave a lift to a friend of mine who wanted to go to a university office to check the competitions to work abroad. We got there and there was only one competition to become an interior designer in Japan. “I'm not going to Japan,” my friend said. And I thought: why not, I would go all the way to Japan. I participated and won, I left. From that moment I lived in Japan for ten years, then becoming an industrial designer and working for Sony and Samsung: I'm a geek with a PC! Throughout that time, I always drank sake: I liked it, but I didn't go beyond the label, I just drank it. When I returned to Italy, my mother-in-law (in the meantime he married Maiko, his partner at Sakeya, journalist and chef, ed.) started sending me sake, knowing that I liked it. I said to myself: I'm Italian and I like sake, why shouldn't other Italians like it? So I started importing it, starting with a small supply. I specialized, and today here I am.


Let's start with a little history, when was sake born?

His is a thousand-year history. The origin of rice fermentation in the East dates back 4000 years. At that time the discovery occurred by chance, by chewing a bit of rice and then spitting it out: that bole, thanks to the substances contained in the saliva, was transformed, its complex components split into simple sugars and in the presence of yeasts fermentation took place spontaneous. Once this process was understood, rice began to be fermented in other ways to obtain alcoholic beverages. Rice arrived in Japan 2000 years ago, and at the time it was the monks who prepared the alcoholic drink which was initially intended only for the emperor. But precisely this origin which occurred in the monasteries brought the drink closer to common people, because it was in the monasteries that everyone went to pray. In the Edo era sake began to have the characteristics it has today, that's when modern sake was born, so to speak.


Tell us what sake is.

It is a fermented product, therefore more similar to a wine or a beer than to a distillate or a liqueur. Compared to wine it has a greater complexity, because it does not start from a sugar base but from a cereal, rice. Its fermentation takes place at lower temperatures than wine - around five degrees - and its alcohol content is higher, even reaching 20 degrees, because the sake yeasts do not die at that level. Then, at the end of processing, the producers can dilute it or not. There are many varieties, but be careful, even if there are many types of sake rice, rice is not the prima donna that generates the flavors in the drink. Sake makers say the rice gives it body, the water gives it sex and the yeast gives it style. There are also aromatic sakes, but it must be kept in mind that the aromatic part is considered a "posture" for the Japanese.


A “post”? For what reason?

Because it makes sake's role in relation to food difficult. Sake is a drink that is almost never drunk alone, but is consumed throughout a meal. But wine doesn't work like we do here, for which we talk about "pairing" with dishes: in the case of sake it's better to talk about "support". This is a different concept: while when pairing a wine we look for the right dish to enhance the wine itself, in the case of sake it is the opposite: the drink must support the dish, "disappear" behind the dish.


How do you go about creating this dish/sake pairing?

Based on the strength and temperature of the plate. The temperature of the sake should be as similar as possible to that of the dish. Then you need to know the various sakes to choose the right one, I'll give you an example: for a dinner with cheese-based courses, a sake with lactic acid that has notes similar to those of cheese is fine. At that point we combine hot sake with a cheese risotto; with a flake of parmesan we serve it at room temperature; with a fresh ricotta from the fridge we combine the same sake, but cold.


As for mixology, how do you use sake?

To use it in mixology you need to be very good and know the product very well. You have to be careful because it fears water: the choice of the type of ice then becomes fundamental. Sake, as I told you before, can be diluted or not: for mixology it is better to use a genshu sake, i.e. without adding water: it holds more because it is fuller. If the bartender is very good, he can also opt for an aromatic sake.


Finally, I would ask you to recommend some particular sake and perhaps some pairings, or rather, some "supports".

Certainly. I'll point out 4 of them, excellent and different from each other, and I'll leave you with some recipes that my wife Maiko made, to pair with 2 of the sakes that I'll point out to you.

Here are the sakes:


Aromatic, persistent, floral.

To drink chilled in a white wine glass.


Lactic, round, full-bodied, enveloping.

To drink both chilled and warm in a white wine glass when chilled or "ochoko" when ambient or warm.


Full, sweet, aromas of cocoa, cinnamon, tobacco.

Aged sake produced with an ancient recipe (1600). An excellent meditation sake.

To be paired with ice cream or tiramisu, a sort of "raisin" or "vin santo" of sake.


The entree. Sake in which yuzu peels are macerated.

An extremely pleasant, fresh, aromatic, citrus sake.

Sweet but not sweet or cloying.


And here are the recipes:

To be paired with HIYASHIBORI sake

Red prawn tartare with Yuzu


Remove the head and shell the prawns. Remove the intestine using a knife or toothpick.

Cut the prawns into tartare and season with olive oil, sake, pepper and Yuzu juice (fresh 100% is better. Frozen ok but not concentrated.)

Place the tartare on the plate and garnish with Yuzu zest if you have any.

Hiyashibori is a very fruity, aromatic and elegant daiginjo. So ingredients that have delicate taste such as red prawns, scallops, white fish are fine.


Seared scallops “Hamayaki” with Ponzu.


Place the scallop meat on its shell and place it on the grill or on the charcoal.

Add a drop of not too fruity dry sake.

As soon as the liquid around the pulp boils, add the Ponzu sauce and the finely chopped spring onions.

Serve immediately.

Hamayaki is a traditional Japanese method of cooking seafood in its shells.

Once upon a time the fishermen cooked like this on the beaches when they returned from fishing. It can be made with large clams, razor clams... any mollusc.

Hama = beach, Yaki = grill, cook.

Ponzu: It can also be done at home. Soy sauce, Yuzu juice, Dashi seaweed broth. 1:1:1.


To be paired with HATSUMAGO DENSHO sake

Fresh ricotta mousse with Edamame and aromatic herbs.


Cook fresh or frozen edamame for 2-3 minutes in boiling salted water.

Remove the edamame from the shell (chop coarsely if you want).

Mix the edamame together with the fresh ricotta.

Salt and pepper and add your favorite aromatic herb.

Mint and basil are fine.

Also add the grated lime zest to taste.

If you want a more intense flavour, add a little mayonnaise.


Bon appetit and happy tasting, therefore, discovering sake and its secrets!









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