May 11, 2011

Matchmaking soba making?

It was nearly a month ago when I attended a soba (buckwheat vermicelli) making class held in an establishment in Ome City.

Among the participants of this class were Hachi san, Tarosaku san, and Hide san, with whom I often have a good time with drinking sake. K san, who I often saw at Sawanoien and other sake-related events or establishments, also attended the class. These friends of mine seemed to have gathered not for making soba but for drinking sake.

Actually, these members are hard drinkers. And to boot, the president of a certain sake brewery was among the participants. Naturally, we could expect that he had brought us some good sake.

Anyway, this was a soba making class, and not a sake drinking party.

Among the participants of the class, there are single women who had been invited by Tarosaku san, and single men who had been invited a man called E san.

This E san, who was a very obliging person, or busybody, was plotting to make this gathering a kind of matchmaking party! (Later, I understood the reason why he was asking us a lot of questions including, "how old are you," "are you married," etc. at the beginning of the class). However, most participants seemed to be indifferent to the matchmaking, but quite interested in the soba making. Of course, they were so because the soba making was actually very interesting.

The president and an employee of his brewery had brought bottles of nice sake including daiginjo from their company. We sipped the sake while making soba. Sake is also called sobamae (meaning a drink before eating soba). Since we were later to eat soba made by the soba-making master who was teaching us how to make soba, the sake was literally sobamae.

While being taught by the soba-making master, each of us made our own soba, which we could later bring it home. After the class, we all were treated to soba made and cooked by the master. The soba was served with tempura of wild vegetables and shiitake mushrooms. Very nice! We could hear bush warbler chirps at the venue located on the Tama River which began to be flanked by tender verdurous leaves of trees.

After most of the participants left for home, those still staying were Hachi san, Tarosaku san, the president, soba master, a potter, and I. Until this time, we had been drinking quite much, but still we continued drinking Sawanoi Hanami Shinshu.

This Hanami Shinshu is a honjozo namachozo sake, to which post-bottling pasteurization has been applied. It smells like wood, but is it a smell of namazake? Anyway, this is dry and easy to drink.

The photo below is a picture of the soba I made and ate on the same day for supper. Later, I heard from other participant that their soba was broken into pieces when it was being boiled. However, my soba was all right, and tasted good with a nice al-dente texture. I thought maybe I have a talent for making soba. :)

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