TOSA SAKE is the collective name given to sake made in Kochi Prefecture by the Kochi Sake Brewers Association, which currently consists of 18 sake breweries. 150 years ago, Kochi Prefecture was known as the feudal domain of Tosa until it was renamed in 1871, however, some of the breweries such as Nishioka Brewery (founded 230 years ago) began making sake when the region was still known as Tosa, so it seems natural that they would choose TOSA SAKE as the name to represent the sake breweries in Kochi.
Sake requires four main ingredients: sake rice, water, yeast and Koji, which are mold spores that make the whole process possible. While all of the ingredients are important, finished sake is 80% water, so having an abundance of pure, natural, unspoiled water rich in minerals is a huge factor in making great sake. Kochi prefecture has been blessed with an abundance of such water sources which have been recognised at a national level by the government of Japan.
Compared to other regions in Japan, Tosa sake is known as being quite dry but it really shines when paired with the fresh foods from Kochi’s mountains, rivers and sea. It goes particularly well with Kochi’s cuisine, a style of Japanese cuisine that draws on its abundance of fresh food sources. The sake bolsters the qualities of the ingredients themselves, much in the way that dashi (Japanese soup stock) does, and draws out even more flavor, masterfully pairing and harmonizing with food.
Kochi has developed their own unique culture related to sake as we saw in a recent article about Tosa no Okyaku!! When you alternate between eating and drinking, you may find that you won’t be able to put down your cup or your chopsticks.