Guest blog by Marina Giordano
Pictures courtesy of Kokoro Care Packages
I have tried a few subscription “snack” boxes, so when I saw Kokoro Care Packages “Otsumami” Japanese Foods that pair with Alcohol, I thought “Perfect!”
Being a sake and wine educator, I am always looking for fun food pairing to match with my favorite sake and wine. When my package arrived, I dug in checking out the various snacks. The package came with 7 high quality choices:
- Baked Konbu
- Brown Rice Mochi Okaki
- Smoked Takuan
- Smoked Island Tofu
- Sansho Teriyaki Sardine Jerky
- Smoked Mentaiko
Upon opening the box, I could smell the savory snacks! Umami! Friend to sake!
I will admit, I am not a very adventurous eater, so I was a little apprehensive about sampling these savory snacks! What better way to ease myself into them, then to share them with a few of my friends and fellow sake lovers.
I brought the Care Package to a friend’s house, where we were planning to try some new sake. My Japanese friend was very impressed with the high quality of the snacks, including one of her favorites, Iburigakko – Smoked Takuan (Pickled Daikon Radish). These “pickles” were very tasty, and it made me wish we had the cream cheese or hamburger that is suggested as serving options. We tasted through the various snacks, sampling them with our broad range of sake.
One of the best parts of this package is the booklet that guides you through each snack. It provides a description of the item, where it is from, background on each item, pairing selections (wine, sake and beer!) and most importantly the ingredients. This was helpful for one of our vegetarian friends!
Having friends with me to share this package inspired me to open all the items, even the ones I was hesitant to taste! I was surprised to find I liked each one! I preferred some over others, but all were tasty and interesting combinations with our sake.
The Sansho Teriyaki Sardine Jerky was sweet and spicy! Although we tried these on plain crackers, the suggestion was to warm them and serve over rice with the Pickled Daikon Radish. We’ll have to try that next time! We also served the Smoked Mentaiko (Cod Roe) over crackers. This was rich in umami, but not too fishy in flavor – which was a welcome relieve to me! We tried these with our aged Kimoto Sake, the pairing of umami and acidity was right on!
I really enjoyed the Smoked Island Tofu. This slow aged smoked tofu comes from Okinawa and can be served like you would cheese. It paired well with our powerful namazake! I found it was very easy to keep snacking on the Daships, Baked Konbu and Brown Rice Mochi Okaki. These were the crunchy, salty, umami rich snacks that you can’t stop eating.
As our night wound down, we found our palates were quite satisfied with the rich selection of snacks, sake and conversation we had experienced. It was great to share this fantastic package with a great group of friends who are fellow foodies and sake lovers!
I am looking forward to trying other of the Kokoro Care packages – Next up the “Ryu” Green and Specialty Teas Care Package!
About the author:
Marina Giordano is a JSS Sake and Shochu Academy graduate and a WSET Certified Sake Educator. She received her Wine and Spirits Diploma with WSET and the JSA Sake Diploma. Marina completed the Advanced Sake Professional Course with the Sake Education Council.Most recently, she completed the Sake Scholar Course.Marina has spent significant time in Japan studying sake production in multiple regions. These experiences fueled her dedication to sake education. “I love helping people develop a love and passion for sake.”
For the past 27 years, Marina has worked at 7 News in Boston. She is currently the Director of the morning newscast. Marina brings her expertise as an EMMY Award winning television director to her presentations while sharing her enthusiasm for sake with her students. You can reach Marina firstname.lastname@example.org or @winesakechick on Instagram.