‘The Art of the Vessel’ Lecture @ LKG

Thursday October 27, 2011

A definite ‘spring in the step’ was noticed as guests left the gallery at the wrap-up of our recent sold out Spring Sake event. Happy and drunk on pleasure rather than over imbibing, comments were made on the rare fun of an interactive art event. Lesley introduced the art of the vessel with some thought provoking quotes from master artists and critics while suggesting that the selection of a range of Sake vessels is like choosing guests at a dinner party- matching and balancing personalities. Surprise, pleasant and otherwise, could be seen on guests’ faces as they checked the value of their personal choice of Sake cup for the tasting. Many vessels now rest in the tender hands of new owners.

Just like the range of guests at the event, the Sake extended from bright, fresh and lively to smooth, sophisticated and even matured. Sake man Trevor took us through four different types of sake, cleverly guiding the palate and the intellect from simple to more complex and fielding a number of stimulating and penetrating questions. Tough and young, Byron and Mori bravely presented succulent oysters and other delicious morsels on Mitsuo Shoji’s splendid large ceramic trays.

Look forward to the next tasting in 2012

The vessels and dishes used in Japanese culinary arts are as important as the Sake, tea or food with which they are paired. Understand the difference between Junmai and Nama, Ginjo and Honjozo as Sake connoisseur Trevor Fleming (aka Trevoir) takes you on a journey into the world of Nihonshu. Learn to appreciate the subtle effect that your vessel can have on the temperature, taste, finish and overall appreciation of your brew. Imbibe different Sake products, nibble on delicious Japanese inspired bites and take home a special gift.

The enjoyment of the vessel in Sake drinking has certainly caught on amongst our clients. The number of Michelin stars at restaurants in Tokyo is testament to the quality of Japanese cuisine, and a significant part of its appeal is the contribution of the inspired choice of vessel to the overall experience.

The aesthetics of the vessel in cuisine is catching on too in Melbourne’s better restaurants – gone are the days of white plates. Our currently featured artist Mitsuo Shoji is renowned for his powerful dishes. Selected for Tetsuya’s new restaurant Waku Ghin Singapore, a range of Mitsuo’s dishes and sake vessels are available at the gallery and will be a feature of the Spring Sake Tasting.

The 1st of October was not only 2011 AFL Grand Final Day, but also ‘nihonshu no hi’ or Sake Day. The heat of summer has passed, rice has been harvested and the 2011 brewing year officially begins.

What does this mean for us in Australia? Well, in fact there’s a good chance that the Sake hitting our shores from about now will be in the freshest and BEST state for indulging.

Keep in mind that Sake brewing finishes at the end of the Japanese winter and is then stored before consumption or export. By its nature, Sake is designed to drink while it’s fresh so don’t hold back!