Pairing sake and Italian cuisine? That probably seems an odd combination to many, especially those more used to just sake and sushi. But it is a pairing that can work, and I hope to show people how it can succeed. Are you willing to accept that challenge?
If so, then you should come to the upcoming Sake and Italian dinner at Prezza, a top notch Italian restaurant in the North End, which was also my Favorite North End Restaurant, High End of 2010. In collaboration with Gilt City, the dinner will be held on two different nights: Friday, March 25 at 8:30pm and Tuesday, March 29, at 7pm. Space is limited and there are only 20 openings for March 25 and 12 openings for March 29. The dinner is geared primarily for Singles, but others are invited as well.
There will be a special four-course dinner, each course paired with a different sake. This is going to be a fun, informative and unique event. It may even be the first Sake & Italian dinner to take place in Boston. Hopefully it won't be the last. The cost is $98 per person, which includes tax and gratuity. To reserve your space, go to the Gilt City site. I expect this dinner to sell out quickly so I suggest you act fast if you are interested in going.
Why do I think sake and Italian food will work well together? The primary reason deals with umami. There are twenty different amino acids in sake, a greater variety than found in any other alcohol. One of those is glutamic acid, which creates an umami taste. Umami, the fifth taste, is often defined as “savoriness” and you will find it in foods such as soy sauce, ripe tomatoes, parmesan cheese, scallops, mushrooms and more. When you combine two ingredients with umami, it intensifies the overall umami flavor. Thus, when an umami-rich sake is paired with umami-rich food, it enhances the umami in the whole dish, making it taste even better.
Because of this umami magnification effect, sake can pair well with many different cuisines, including Italian. An umami-rich sake pairs well with the umami of tomatoes and parmesan so it would go well with many Italian dishes. Or you could pair a high umami kimoto sake with a mushroom dish, like a risotto, and see how the flavors were intensified.
So come join me at Prezza and learn how sake can complement Italian cuisine. Kanpai!