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    MILANO SAKE CHALLENGE 2023

    Jury:
    Before the judging, a lecture was given to all judges to ensure a fair judging. The judges were also given a lecture on how to use the Sake Index, an application specially developed for the competition, and how it works.

    The tasting judgment is a blind tasting only, and the scoring method is based on an absolute evaluation of each sake, as opposed to a relative evaluation based on comparisons.

    The food pairing presented for 2023 were:

    • seafood salad (squid, octopus and crustaceans seasoned with lemon and olive oil),
    • Bolognese pasta (a sauce of stewed meat and vegetables served over short pasta)
    • Italian cured ham
    • Pizza Margherita
    • Strawberry gelato

    The judges determined the best combination of sake and Italian cuisine, which could bring out the best of each other's flavour characteristics.

    The design judging panel included design and fashion experts and designers from Milan, Italy, who are at the forefront of design and fashion in Italy, to judge the sophistication, attractiveness and functionality of the bottle, label, cap and box. The sake was arranged by category, with the typical characteristics of price range and taste explained, and the judges were asked to judge whether each sake was properly represented.
    Food pairing special award

    From 2023, a food pairing special awardwas established. This time it was the Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Award, and ten official tasters of the association took part in the judging with the cooperation of the Parmigiano-Reggiano Association.
    Fabio Giberti, Head Official Taster, and Renato Giudici, Head Battitore (a specialist artisan who taps the Parmigiano to judge its quality), also took part in the judging.
    Three types of cheese were prepared, aged for 12, 24 and 40 months. The cheeses were first tasted and analysed for flavour. The tasters then tasted each of the 52 sake items selected in advance by the tasting jury and judged how they matched with the cheeses. The hall was filled with the aroma of freshly cracked cheese and the judges were impressed by the way the sake enhanced the taste of the cheese.

    Category
    Judging took place in four categories:

    • junmai daiginjo and daiginjo sake
    • junmai ginjo and ginjo sake
    • junmai sake and honjozo
    • special category (sparkling, aged, yuzu and umeshu )

    Tasting Judging criteria
    Visual judgement of product appearance, type and gloss (depending on the category)

    • Aroma and fragrance examined by nose
    • Flavour and taste ascertained by mouth
    • Final general assessment of sake based on co-ordination of nose and mouth residence time
    • General evaluation based on harmony between food and sake (food pairing assessment)
    • Judging of whether the appearance of the label, bottle, cap, box, etc. expresses the product (design judging).

    Jury
    The jury was made up mainly of qualified sake sommeliers (wine sommeliers, restaurant owners, chefs, bartenders, sellers, etc.), certified by the Italian Sake Sommelier Association, who live in Italy and are strongly involved in Italian food and drink. One of the characteristics of the Milan Sake Challenge is that all members of the jury are qualified sake sommeliers, who have been trained in the proper knowledge of sake.
    They are also all highly interested in sake, having been constantly involved with sake through restaurants, bars and sales.

    In the design category, experts from the design and fashion world were invited to judge the sophistication, attractiveness and functionality of the bottles and labels, a judging process unique to the Milan Sake Challenge.





    SAKE EXPERIENCE (FUORI MILANO SAKE CHALLENGE 2023)

    Il 25 giugno, il giorno dopo la Challenge, si è svolta la Fuori Milano Sake Challenge. Questo imponente evento, organizzato dalla Sake Sommelier Association Italiana, è stato un grande successo che ha riunito gli appassionati di Sake e coloro che desiderano immergersi nel complesso mondo di questa bevanda tradizionale giapponese.
     
    Un evento di questa portata richiede mesi di rigorosa preparazione e il coinvolgimento di numerosi professionisti e appassionati del settore.
    Quest'anno, la Fuori Milano Sake Challenge ha registrato un numero record di partecipanti, confermando la fama di uno dei più significativi eventi nel calendario nazionale e internazionale del sake.
     
    Il programma dell'evento prevedeva degustazioni libere e guidate, workshop e seminari. Tutti concepiti per promuovere la cultura del Sake in Italia e non solo. La moltitudine di attività ha permesso ai partecipanti di esplorare le molte sfaccettature del Sake, dal suo processo di produzione alle sue varietà, dalla sua storia secolare alla sua interpretazione moderna.
     
    La Fuori Milano Sake Challenge non è stato solo un evento per professionisti. Molti appassionati e curiosi hanno avuto la possibilità di partecipare a workshop dedicati. Qui hanno potuto conoscere meglio il Sake e la sua produzione, assaggiare decine di varietà e capire le differenze tra le varie tipologie.
     
    La vera vittoria della Milano Sake Challenge sta nella promozione e nell'obbiettivo di espansione della comprensione della cultura del Sake in Italia. La Fuori Milano Sake Challenge 2023 ha dimostrato che il Sake non è solo una bevanda, ma un patrimonio culturale che merita di essere esplorato e apprezzato. Con l'attesa per l'edizione del prossimo anno, è chiaro che il Sake ha un futuro brillante in Italia e non solo.