Ok, class is in session. To fully appreciate this blog entry, there are a few key words of Japanese you need to learn:
Sakura = Cherry Blossom
Matsuri = Festival
Sakura Matsuri = Cherry Blossom Festival!
Scott and I had our own delightful Sake-infused Sakura Matsuri last Sunday. The festivities started with a trip to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. We’d been planning the trip for weeks and then the on-line cherry blossom detector told us that the blossoms were at peak so off we went. It was our first trip the the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and the sights did not disappoint us. All the cherry blossoms were in bloom and really did look like “nature’s fireworks”. We also took a loop around the Japanese garden built in 1915 and home to turtles, ducks, carp and koi as well as some very manicured Japanese plants. every step at the BBG created a new vista and there were stunning views everywhere you looked. All this blossom-peeping was getting me hungry and thirsty!
Cherry-Blossom-themed Sakura restaurant in park slope was the perfect place to quench our thirst. I was pleasantly surprised to find their sake menu to be very expansive! They offered over three full pages of sake, but not all of it by the glass. I have already had many of the sake’s listed on the Sakura menu, so I zeroed in on a brewery I hadn’t tried yet. This time around “Japanese roulette” paid off in spades. I ordered a small carafe of Sawanoi Junmai Ginjo (Tokyo prefecture). This sake tasted light, refreshing and smooth with a tinge of sweetness. It went very, very well with the sushi we ordered and I found myself placing an order for another glass of Sawanoi to replace the carafe that had disappeared too quickly. I’ll have to find a place to buy this in the city… I want to taste it again. Recommended!
Somewhere I once read about a sake that is served in a traditional masu with a cherry blossom petal floated on the surface. I didn’t understand this before, but now I see this is meant to evoke that serene tableau of sipping sake under cherry blossoms in full bloom and perhaps having a single petal float down into your cup. After my day of home-grown Sakura Matsuri, I can’t think of a more perfect image to help convey the essence of what the whole cherry blossom thing is all about: Taking a moment to stop, sit and sip… to really take in the beauty, and the taste, before it inevitably fades away.