Sake in France: conquering palates
Sake in France is making its way to the tables of starred restaurants where it is positioned alongside Bourgogne and Bordeaux wines.
Sake in France is causing a stir. The Japanese drink is appreciated by great sommeliers and chefs established in the country. Paz Levinson, a renowned sommelier, is one of them: “Yes, sake works very well with French cuisine,” says Levinson.
For her part, Anne-Sophie Pic, the most starred chef in the world confirms that “saké is coming in France, the land of wine“. Pic has been cooking sake or sake-related dishes since long before she added sake to her wine list. Xavier Thuizat, chef sommelier at the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris confirms that sake is already present in the great palaces such as the Ritz, the Bristol, the Plaza Athenée.
Sake in France in full expansion
According to La Revue du Vin de France, the sake market in France rebounded in volume 161% from 2012 to 2017. In 2017 alone, its growth reached 58% against 19% against the world and 28% towards Europe. Just France is the eleventh largest market in the world to export saké but still has low consumption. And although total sales are less than 2 million euros a year, it is the champion in growth and will soon become the first European sake market, replacing the United Kingdom, says Sylvain Huet, specialist of this drink in France.
For Xavier Thuizat, sake has the right properties to succeed where wine fails.
Six years ago, the sommelier remembers being “confronted” with a dead end: how to pair “iodized, vinegary or very vegetable” dishes. “I couldn’t find the solution,” he explains. It was then that a Japanese man advised him to use sake. Since then, this son of Burgundy, one of the world’s most prestigious wine regions, has become one of sake’s best advocates, and pursues what he calls “a duty of evangelization.”
Only sake “can mix with eggs, which are so difficult to marry, vegetables, seafood… hot foie gras and even cheeses. It’s a chameleon,” sums up Mr. Thuizat. He has now become a sake expert.
Via AFP and RVF
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