Japanese sake and chocolate
Japanese sake and chocolate

Japanese sake and chocolate

Japanese sake and chocolate

Japanese sake and chocolate

Japanese sake and chocolate

By Ayaka Ito

An event of pairing of Japanese sake and chocolate was held. The chocolate for this event was picked from the selection from Dandelion Chocolate shop, one of the very few places in the world, where craft chocolate is made from single-origin cacao beans. The chocolate bars of Dandelion Chocolate are made with only cacao beans and cane sugar, and do not contain cocoa butter or vanilla essence. Their unique flavors come from natural cacao beans produced by fermentation and roasting. For this event, 4 kinds of chocolate were ordered from their main shop in San Francisco.

Pairing details

1. Piura Blanco, Peru and Ouka, Ginjo, Yamagata Prefecture
Tasting note: Green grapes and maple
In this pairing, the acidity of green grapes and the aroma and sweetness of Ouka go well together, and make both taste so much better than when tasted individually.

2. Kokoa Kamili, Tanzania and Shuhai, Junmai, Kumamoto Prefecture
Tasting note: Mango and citrus
In this pairing, the citrus flavor in the chocolate, combined with Shuhai’s citrus fruit-like aroma that resembles orange flowers and subtle sweetness, create a good harmony.

3. Mantuano, Venezuela and Tedorigawa, Yamahai, Ishikawa Prefecture
Tasting note: Roasted almonds, chocolate fudge, and sea salt
Pairing with Tedorigawa brings out the richness of chocolate produced by the roasting of beans, and gently embraces it.

4. Maya Mountain, Belize and Kamoizumi, Junmai-Ginjo undiluted sake, Hiroshima Prefecture
Tasting note: Honey, caramel, and creamy strawberries
Since this sake is undiluted, it has natural freshness and richness at the same time, and the flavor of creamy strawberries is enhanced by being combined with this sake.

The Piura Blanco’s tasting note says green grapes and maple. When I tasted the chocolate by itself, I tasted some unique acidity, which I did not care for, however, when it was combined with Ouka of Dewazakura Brewery, a marvelous harmony was created by added gracious aroma and tender sweetness of Ouka. On the contrary, when combined with sweet and sour chocolate called Ambanj, whose flavor reminded me of refreshing citrus, and strawberry or raspberry jam, the acidity of the chocolate contradicted with Ouka’s clean after-taste, and I couldn’t say it was a good pairing. Two different tastes make a harmony and create the third taste. That is the best part of pairing. I feel excited as if I am going to explore an unknown world. I urge everyone to try pairing sake with familiar ingredients and food items around you! You might discover things unexpected!


①Piura Blanco, Peruと桜花 吟醸 山形県
②Kokoa Kamili, Tanzaniaと朱盃 純米 熊本県
③Mantuano, Venezuelaと手取川 山廃純米 石川県
④Maya Mountain, Belizeと賀茂泉 純米吟醸生原酒にごり 広島県
テイスティングノート: ハチミツとキャラメル、クリーミーな苺

Piura Blancoのテイスティングノートは青ブドウとメープルで、チョコだけで食べると独特な酸味があり、あまり好みの味ではありませんでしたが、出羽桜の桜花と合わせると桜花の持つ華やかな香りと優しい甘みが加わり、素晴らしい調和をみせてくれました。それとは逆にAmbanjaという爽やかなシトラスと苺やラズベリージャムを思い出させる甘酸っぱいマダガスカル産のチョコレートと合わせてみると、チョコレートの酸が桜花のスッキリとした後味と反発してしまい、あまり相性がいいペアリングとは言えませんでした。2つの味わいが調和し、第3の味わいが生まれる。これこそがマリアージュの醍醐味であり、道なる世界への探検のようでワクワクします。皆さんも身近な食材や食べ物を日本酒に合わせてペアリングしてみると、意外な発見があるかもしれないので、是非試してみて下さいね。