Here is a Date Night Idea

Gold River, CA (MPG)  |  By Alona Thomas
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Chef Metha of Kanpai Sushi Restaurant (left). The House of Gekkeikan Sake offers an exotic opportunity to share in the world of Sake along with a Sushi making class every other month at the brewery in Folsom.

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Yep, this can be a fun, and entertaining evening for you and your significant other, or possibly a chance just to get to know someone better. This is also a great idea for a group that would like to have shared time with hands on experience or just a bonding time with your daughter-in-law. The House of Gekkeikan Sake offers an exotic opportunity to share in the world of Sake along with a Sushi making class every other month at the brewery in Folsom.

The tasting room is all set up with all the tools you need, except you must bring a sharp knife. A welcome is extended by the tasting room representative with an invitation to take part in a buffet before beginning.  It begins with an appetizer of Mango Tequila Sauce over cream cheese and crackers, Caesar Salad, Pineapple Sake Teriyaki meatballs, Meyers Lemon Rosemary sausages and cookies for dessert. Their sauce source is the excellent products from Earth & Vine*. The first tasting of Sake begins with the award winning Black & Gold, but this can depend on the weather. My class was in March so this was served warm, but in the summer months they follow the Japanese tradition serving cold Sake which is more fruity in nature.

Our teacher is Chef Metha of Kanpai Sushi Restaurant. He begins by telling us exactly how to hold the rice and place it on the Nori seaweed sheets. We are split into small groups and receive instruction on creating the perfect California Roll using the correct technique including the moistening of our fingers for working the rice. We return to our seats and have the all the ingredients to make our first roll, which is a practice run, preparing us for the Sushi competition later. While other class members are receiving their instruction we sample Haiku a light medium dry wine that is served chilled and then Suzaku, considered premium sake.

At this point I have made my practice California Roll and ate most of it while enjoying the tastings. We now enter the competition phase and have an opportunity to show off our skill. I am feeling pretty confident and make the second roll along with a pour of Zipang, a sparkling sake. This is bright and light which would complement a wide array of appetizers. However, my beautiful rolls plated with a ginger flower and slivers of cucumber did not even figure into the final two. There was lots of laughter with winners declared for both gals and guys. Our second lesson was a hand roll. Right up front, this technique was beyond my capabilities, but others seemed capable. Again we could practice and then have a second chance with winners receiving prizes. We finished our tasting with two plum wines Kobai, light and sweet, with a suggestion to be paired with blue cheese and Plum Gekkeikan, which was very good. Raffle drawings for great prizes completed the lesson.

It really was a very enjoyable and educational evening with wonderful hosts. The class cost was $35.00. With my new rice cooker, I have made sushi twice at home, but certainly have to practice a bit more.

*Earth & Vine story in April Gold River Messenger. Alona’s hobbies are food and delicious times. alonathomas@gmail.com.