For those who aren't familiar with it, traditional British afternoon tea is a light meal usually consisting of thinly sliced cucumber sandwiches or other tea sandwich varieties, scones served with clotted cream and preserves, cakes, and pastries arranged on a three-tiered stand designed for this purpose, and of course, premium tea usually poured from fancy teapots into delicate bone china cups.

Image for illustrative purposes

It has recently become popular here in Japan, where, just as it is in the UK, fine hotels and tearooms often feature it on their menu. In a uniquely Japanese twist, you'll also find specially-themed afternoon tea sets collaborating with popular characters and anime, such as this Card Captor Sakura afternoon tea held earlier this year.

If only there were an afternoon tea like this...

If you love tea sandwiches, cakes, sweets, and black tea, having your favorite food and drink and turning a light meal into a refined experience must be enjoyable. However, at the same time, those who don't enjoy that kind of food and drink may feel left out, and perhaps even wonder why they can't have something similar to elevate their meals.

For example, what if you're the kind of person who just loves to drink and your idea of a wonderful light meal is a selection of savory dishes that pair well with a glass of sake?

This was the inspiration behind a Twitter post by 高知かわうそ市場 Kochi Kawauso Ichiba (@kawausoichiba), an online store selling the best products and delicacies from Kochi Prefecture:

"Here's afternoon tea made by a boozer from Kochi Prefecture"

Reproduced with permission from 高知かわうそ市場 Kochi Kawauso Ichiba (@kawausoichiba)

It's an afternoon tea set to delight sake lovers!

In the teapot is 土佐鶴 純米大吟醸 Tosatsuru Junmai Daiginjo, the pride of Kochi Prefecture, and on the tea stand, a selection of local dishes that go well with this famous sake!

Made with fresh ingredients from Kochi Prefecture, and including the Kochi-famous 皿鉢料理 (sawachi ryōri | Sawachi Cuisine [a type of banquet food featuring the bounty of the oceans and mountains]), they all look very tasty...

Reproduced with permission from 高知かわうそ市場 Kochi Kawauso Ichiba (@kawausoichiba)

From top to bottom plate (and counterclockwise from the top in the photo above), there's:

  • Top plate: 土佐鶴 純米大吟醸 Tosatsuru Junmai Daiginjo sake, しらすおろし (shirasu oroshi | whitebait with grated daikon radish), カツオの塩たたき (katsuo no shiotataki | seared bonito seasoned with salt and garlic), 須崎勘八の刺身 (susaki kanpachi no sashimi | sashimi of Susaki amberjack).
  • Middle plate: 酒盗 (shutō | fermented bonito entrails), からすみ大根 (karasumi daikon | daikon and karasumi [salted, dried mullet roe]), ちくきゅう (chiku-kyū | chikuwa [a tubular fishcake] filled with a whole peeled cucumber), うなぎ藁焼き (unagi warayaki | straw-roasted freshwater Japanese eel)
  • Bottom plate: フルーツトマト (furūtsu tomato | sweet tomato), りゅうきゅうの酢の物 (ryūkyū no sunomono | A local sunomono [vinegared side dish] made of Indian taro stems and sashimi of beltfish or marlin), みょうがの甘酢漬け (myōga no amasuzuke | sweet and sour marinated Japanese ginger [Zingiber mioga]), イタドリの炒め煮 (itadori no itameni | stir-fried Japanese knotweed [Reynoutria japonica]), 羊羹 (yōkan | A Japanese sweet made of red bean paste, agar and sugar)
  • In addition to featuring many tasty dishes you can only enjoy in Kochi Prefecture, Kochi Kawauso Ichiba adds a dash of self-deprecating humor. In introducing the yōkan, for example, they specify: "yōkan which is always included in Sawachi Cuisine but that nobody ever eats."

    As for the other dishes, they all look wonderful and just the kind of things you would love to pair with a glass of sake, espcially if it's Tosatsuru Junmai Daiginjo!

    The post quickly got noticed, with many people commenting: "I want to try it!

    Some of the other comments were:

    • "This is so nice. I think I'll get the girls together for a boozers night party!"
    • "This is the best. This is the kind of afternoon tea I've been waiting for."
    • "I'm a local, and I can vouch that nobody eats the yōkan lol"
    • "I want to try it! I laughed at the cucumbers in the chiku-kyū because they were so big"

    This afternoon sake set, is filled with local Kochi charms. If places actually begin offering these, some people will be surely be tempted to drink!

    Online store Kochi Kawauso Ichiba sells vegetables, fresh fish, meat, and other products directly from producers and manufacturers.

    If you live in Japan and you're interested, why not check it out?

By - grape Japan editorial staff.