Holiday Gift Guide

This post is in conjunction with the Sake Gumi December 2021 theme Winter Food Traditions. Sake Gumi is Umami Mart's monthly club celebrating Japan's brewed beverage! Join today to try all three recipes with our club offerings.

Although we can not visit Japan again this year to join in on these festivities, the next best thing is to celebrate them from afar with recipes that are prevalent in Japan during the winter. Revel in the bounty of winter ingredients with recipes I'll be releasing this month as part of the Winter Food Traditions series. These recipes are specifically paired with sakes offered this month during Sake Gumi. However, I urge you to chart your own territories with other beverage pairings as well!

Perhaps you've read about my attempt at making hoshigaki last month. While my mom's hoshigaki is already done (she lives in a dryer area), I'm still waiting for mine with bated breath, hanging from our bar at the shop. They may mold, fall off, or succumb to fruit flies during their long journey to becoming hoshigaki. Whatever happens, making and enjoying hoshigaki is a quintessential winter tradition.

If you don't know anyone with a hachiya tree to make hoshigaki, you may be lucky enough to spot some hoshigaki to buy at your local Asian market. Try your luck at a Japanese or Korean grocery store.

I usually enjoy my hoshigaki plain with some green tea, but my mind was blown when the brewers at Shata Shuzo (whose Tengumai Comon Tokubetsu Junmai Sake is featured this month for Sake Gumi) suggested a hoshigaki and cream cheese dip. 

I gave this recipe my own little flair and created a Hoshigaki Cream Cheese Roll.

INGREDIENTS

1 hoshigaki
1 tbsp cream cheese
4 walnuts

METHOD

1. Cut the top of the stem of the hoshigaki off.

2. Slice open the hoshigaki lengthwise. Open up the hoshigaki so it lays flat.

3. Spread or put chunks of cream cheese on the hoshigaki.

4. Stud with walnuts on the cream cheese.

5. Carefully roll up the fruit and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Leave in the fridge overnight.

6. Slice and grind some black pepper on it for an extra kick.

The rich flavors of sticky, sweet hoshigaki meld luxuriously with the cream cheese for a decadent pairing with Tengumai Comon Tokubetsu Junmai. I liked it best at room temperature with the hoshigaki roll.