Saké & Cured meats

This article is not made for vegans (without getting into any controversy)! No, this article is made for lovers of meat and Japanese sake (which is vegan so if you are in a mixed couple: one who is vegan, the other who is not; one can drink and ‘other eat!).

I like charcuterie! I especially love hams… But I love sausage, pâté and other delicacies. I admit that I’m less fond of blood sausage and anything that can be very typical of offal. But all tastes are natural…

Délicieux plateau de charcuteries par Croc Gourmand

Monday May 28th, I was at the 8th edition of Kura Master, the great Japanese sake competition (and also shochu, awamori and umeshu) in France. I’ve been there since the beginning and it’s always a pleasure to go there. Every year, Xavier Thuizat (Best Sommelier of France and MOF sommelier), head sommelier at Crillon, decides to carry out a small master class on fascinating subjects with a renowned speaker. Last year, for example, he invited Paul Bocuse’s pastry chef:Benoît Charvet, who is a genius of sweet, fruity and icy! I had a blast.

Romain Leboeuf – photo chipée sur son Instagram

This year, it’s the MOF Artisan Boucher, Romain Leboeuf (yes, he has an absolutely brilliant last name for his profession). And besides, they are 3 artisan butcher brothers and 3 MOF (OMG!!). We were treated to a superb tasting of white blood sausage, blond duck foie gras and dried and smoked beef. All this in accordance with 3 Japanese products:

Charcuteries Leboeuf
Master Class Charcuteries/Sakés de Kura Master 2024

I already knew that charcuterie went well with Japanese sake in particular, but it was interesting to experiment with several types of products and different sakes.

Why does charcuterie go well with Japanese sake? It’s a good question and in my opinion, the answer can be summed up in one word: umami.

Umami is the 5th taste (official since 1982) which means tasty, delicious. It is found naturally in many foods in the form of glutamate, inosinate or guanylate. But in fact, there are around twenty amino acids and 15% of the total mass is glutamate. Glutamate is found in algae, parmesan, green tea, sardines, tomatoes, mushrooms, oysters, potatoes, soybeans… But we also find a lot of umami in meats such as pork, beef or chicken.

Umami is revealed in cooking in processed, simmered, dried or fermented foods. And here, I’m going to give you a little table which speaks for itself and which shows you that, concerning dried ham, the more it is matured, the more its glutamate content increases:

Tableau de l’Umami Information Center

We know that Japanese sake has a lot of umami and therefore the marriage of nihonshu with cold meats which also contains it helps to increase this delicious taste. 1+1=8! It’s kokumi!

Here, in Bordeaux, we have our own charcuterie: gratton bordelais, greniers Médocains, tricandilles and andouillette bordelaise! Without forgetting that in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region we are served with foie gras, Bayonne ham, blood sausages (Basques or Périgord), Charentais stuffed, Périgueux pâtés…

So don’t wait any longer: it’s the weekend soon, make yourself a small platter of charcuterie with a glass of sake. Ideally, choose a traditional method sake (Yamahai, Kimoto or Bodaimoto) to be served at room temperature. Or why not a koshu (aged sake) or kijoshu (sweet sake) with charcuterie with more character. And don’t forget to consume in moderation (even if we are known for the French Paradox!).

France Bleu Gironde

#France Bleu Gironde broadcast from May 30, 2024 with Marie-Corine Cailleteau: click on the lien to listen to the replay more easily and go to my Instagram @chloeandwines to see my appearance on the radio in Reels!

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