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It's been two years since we did Sakqueso! in person, and it's GREAT to be back! This year, Kevin Corcoran joined me behind the bar, so we could all eat cheese and drink sake together. The knowledge he offered during the class was both entertaining and practical.

This class sold out to members in one day – a record! There was definitely a pent up demand for Sakqueso! after two long years. And a backlog of pressing questions regarding cheese and sake.

Is it ok to eat the rind? The answer is yes, as long as it's not waxy or tastes like cardboard.

What's the best way to store cheese? Not in saran wrap or in a bright place! Preferably in the paper-based cheese wraps they sell at cheese stores.

Will Japanese cheese ever be sold in the U.S.? Maybe... but even if it does get here, it might end up being too expensive.

What makes a good pairing? Although pairings are subjective, the best pairings are when a delicious third flavor emerges. For example, for the Mantensei and Salva Cremasco pairing, one of our attendees remarked that the third flavor of fig emerged!

It took us about two months to settle on the following pairings (hard work!):

Tatenyan Junmai Daiginjo with Delice de Bourgogne (France)

Kiminoi Emperors Well Yamahai Junmai Ginjo with Glacier Point Blue (Wisconsin) wrapped in nori

Minato Harbor Yamahai Nama Genshu with Gina Marie Cream Cheese (California) with iburigakko (smoked takuan pickle)

Mantensei Star-Filled Sky Junmai Ginjo with Salva Cremasco (Italy)

Kevin arrived early to plate the cheeses. As Kayoko and I have learned in the past, cutting cheese the right way is one of the most challenging parts of Sakqueso!.

It's nice that we had Kevin, a Certified Cheese Professional to show us the way.

I was comfortable slicing the iburigakko (smoked takuan) and cutting up pieces of nori.

Kevin's genius idea of making blue-cheese maki! I urge you to try this at home if you missed the event.

The sake lineup in order: Tatenyan Junmai Daiginjo, Kiminoi Emperors Well Yamahai Junmai Ginjo, Minato Harbor Yamahai Nama Genshu, and Mantensei Star-Filled Sky Junmai Ginjo.

The cheese plate consisted of a spoonful of Delice de Bourgogne (France), Glacier Point Blue (Wisconsin) wrapped in nori, Gina Marie Cream Cheese (California) with iburigakko (smoked takuan), and the Salva Cremasco (Italy).

Kevin is happiest when with a bowl of cheese!

At your service: Kevin Corcoran (Certified Cheese Professional), and me (Kikizakeshi, Sake Sommelier).

The eager-to-learn crowd arrives.

I'm probably talking about the bathroom code here.

Ian pouring the Minato Harbor Yamahai Nama Genshu.

De'Andre pouring the Tatenyan Junmai Daiginjo.

Ian pouring the Mantensei Star-Filled Sky Junmai Ginjo.

Kevin explaining the pairings.

Can we eat the cheese yet?

During these events, I always like to go over basic sake tasting techniques.

After all the sake and cheese talk, we opened up the night for mingling and Q+A.

And refills of sake and cheese!

We'll be back with Kevin next year hopefully with two sessions to satisfy all the Sakqueso! fiends.

Photos by our resident sake enthusiast and shopkeeper Sara (and a few by Yoko).

Column: Event Recap
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