The Sake Institute of Ontario (SIO) presented the awards for the first Toronto International Sake Challenge– the first sake tasting competition in Canada which took place on April 28, 2014, at Kampai Toronto‘s media launch party at the Japan Foundation on May 15, 2014. A selection of more than 120 sakes from breweries in Canada, the United States and of course Japan entered the competition. Sakes were categorized: Honjozo, Junmai, Ginjo, Daiginjo, Sparkling, Nigori, and blind tasted by a panel of six judges from diverse backgrounds who evaluated them based on appearance, aroma, flavour, finish and overall impression. There are only four ingredients required in order to brew sake: rice, water, yeast and koji-kin (a mold). Not only were the awards presented, samples of each winning sake were also available for tasting. Although more modern than traditional, my favourite was a light sparking sake in a blue bottle called MIO which will be available later this year at the LCBO. The silver medalist in the Junmai category was Izumi Arabashiri, Ontario’s first locally brewed sake! An assortment of sushi was the perfect accompaniment for the sake. For more information about Kampai Toronto please visit their website


(photo credit: Lyziane Cantin)