Umami Mart Registry

Sakqueso June 2021Join us June 24, 2021 at 5:30pm on Zoom! Pairing Sake + Cheese with Kevin Corcoran CCP

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This is our sixth annual Sakqueso! I look forward to this theme every year because I think it's one of the most satisfying pairings out there: sake and cheese. This year we doing something different for Sakqueso, by calling upon our dear friend Kevin Corcoran, an American Cheese Society CCP (Certified Cheese Professional) to help guide us for a tasting on Zoom.

Kevin has taught the class at the annual American Cheese Society Conference titled “Unconventional Pairings,” where he paired Japanese fermented ingredients with cheese! In addition to giving us the best cheese recommendations in years past, he’s works on the import side of things, bringing savory cheeses and condiments from around the world. We are honored to have him on as cheese consultant for Sakqueso again this year!

Sake and cheese work mainly because they share a common ingredient during fermentation: lactic acid. In addition to creating an environment where unwanted microorganisms cease multiplying, lactic acid results in flavors high in umami. And having sake and cheese, which are both high in umami, creates an umami explosion – often leading one to discover a third flavor that would only be unlocked when having them together. Kimotos and yamahais have particularly pronounced umami because the shubo (starter) method involves naturally occurring lactic acid that is often more sturdy and robust. So it's not a coincidence that three out of our four sakes for this month fall into these two camps.

After being cooped up this past year, I've been dying to get out there and learn more about the world. That includes learning about cheese. That's why for our Zoom on June 24, 2021 at 5:30pm I'll be asking Kevin how to be better cheese tasters (with tips and tricks like scraping off the surface of cheese when it's been wrapped up in plastic), and about the cheese-making culture in Japan.

So line up your cheeses for Sakqueso night and join us for these divine pairings! Mark your calendars for Sakqueso: Pairing Sake + Cheese with Kevin Corcoran CCP (Certified Cheese Professional), June 24 at 5:30pm. Find Kevin’s cheese list on!


Co-Founder of Umami Mart + Sake Director 

Shirakabegura Kimoto Junmai
Shirakabegura Brewery (Hyogo, Japan))
Seimaibuai: 70% Gohyaku Mangoku, SMV: +2, Acidity 1.2

Sakqueso June 2021

"This sake has low acidity but is full of umami. A cheese with a mellow taste and umami is a perfect match," says Ishihara Toji. Notice the scent of dairy and mushroom coupled with a light texture. Kevin sums up the pairing here "Fresh buffalo mozzarella as both sake and cheese shared a lower acidity, and the fresh cheese played on the lactic dairy-like notes of the sake while also accentuating an oyster mushroom earthiness." I recommend having this sake well-chilled in a flute glass to enjoy its crisp finish.

Shirakabegura Brewery's Ishihara TojiShirakabegura Brewery's Ishihara Toji

Watari Bune Junmai Ginjo “The 55”
Huchu Homare (Ibaraki, Japan)
Seimaibuai: 55% Watari Bune, SMV +3, Acidity 1.5

Sakqueso June 2021
President Takaaki Yamauchi tells us that their brewery is unique in that they support local farmers of Ibaraki by using native Watari Bune rice. This particular junmai ginjo is fruit-forward and juicy with aromas of pineapple, melon, and banana with a minerality in its flavor. Kevin recounts the winning cheese: "This worked very well with the soft creamy sheep cheese, Brebirousse d’Argental, as we found a ‘third flavor’ emerging from the intersection of cheese and sake where sweet, nutty, fatty, earthy flavors mingled in complex and pleasant ways." Try this sake in a wine glass slightly chilled

President Takaaki Yamauchi of Huchu Homare

Fuku Chitose Toku Yamahai Junmai Ginjo “Old Virtue”
Tajima Brewery (Fukui, Japan)
Seimaibuai: 55% Koshino Shizuku, SMV +1.7, Acidity 1.6

When we asked toji Yujiro Tajima which cheese he likes to pair with Toku, he enthusiastically replied, "I'd recommend a hard cheese like Comté. That’s because Toku is pretty light!" We agree. Kevin says, "Comté pairing worked really well here drawing out rich, creamy, and nutty notes of the cheese." Unique floral and earthy aromas of the sake include honey, cherry blossom, walnut, and rice. Enjoy the earthiness of this yamahai, slightly warmed in a ceramic cup like a guinomi.

Tajima Brewery's Yujiro Tajima TojiTajima Brewery's Toji Yujiro Tajima

Gunma Izumi Chotoku Yamahai Junmai
Shimaoka Shuzo (Gunma, Japan)
Seimaibuai: 50% Wakamizu, SMV +3, Acidity 1.6

Aged for 2-3 years, this sake exhibits a complex collision of flavors. Toji Toshinori Shimaoka tell us that almost all of the sakes they produce are made using the yamahai method. Kevin shares his pick for this pairing, "Montgomery’s Cheddar, a traditional clothbound cheddar with root vegetable and cellar flavor notes, worked well to create a big brothy pairing – all about savoriness with a finish of warm herbs." Fully enjoy the sherry-like aroma and golden hue by pouring this sake at room temperature into a brandy glass.

Steaming rice at Shimaoka ShuzoSteaming rice at Shimaoka Shuzo