Canada’s biggest sake festival is back in Toronto again this year. Cheers to that!
At the local izakaya with friends after a long workday. Expertly paired with sushi at a high-end restaurant downtown. Warm and comforting on a cool night, or chilled to perfection and ready for the summer months. Sweet or dry, aged or freshly bottled, at the bar or in the comfort of your own home—however you prefer to enjoy your sake, you’re going to want to mark your calendar and raise your glass for this epic, one-night-only event: Kampai.
Kampai Toronto is Canada’s most renowned sake festival, back for its seventh year on Thursday, May 31. Featuring over 175 sakes from more than 30 breweries, the night will have no shortage of everyone’s favourite centuries-old rice wine. And that’s not all: expect to find arts and crafts, live music and some of the best Japanese food Toronto has to offer as you stroll down Gristmill Lane in the city’s Distillery Historic District. From the outdoor market, step inside the massive Fermenting Cellar—with its original 1859 limestone walls and soaring wood beams—and taste test to your heart’s content. As you mingle with local and international sake experts, you’ll learn about the beloved brew’s rich history and discover creative food and drink pairings.
Almost guaranteed to sell out, Kampai (aptly named for “Cheers!” in Japanese) has taken special care to accommodate this year’s guests. In addition to the festival entry and 20 tasting tickets that come with general admission, visitors will have the option to upgrade to premium or VIP passes and attend one of two evening sessions, featuring sake seminars, chef demos and guided tastings.
So, to recap: a vast variety of sake and scrumptious eats in a trendy location underneath a clear spring evening sky. If that isn’t enough to convince you that you can’t miss this special soiree then perhaps you’ll geek out over the education factor. There’s lots to learn at Kampai, from introductions to special types of rice, to brewing techniques and the logistics of running a brewery, to the all-important sake-drinking etiquette. You’re sure to pick up a few interesting tidbits with which to impress your next sushi date—as you pour their drink, of course. Cheers!