Cool Coconut Amazake is sensational all by itself, but this morning I decided to make myself an Amazake Colada Smoothie. I just threw some Trader Joe's frozen pineapple chunks and a bottle of Cool Coconut Amazake in the blender ...
And voila! A tropically delicious way to start the day!
After decades of enjoying this delicious beverage, I finally got a chance to visit Grainaissance to see how Amazake is made. I was greeted by the lovely Leah, office manager extraordinaire! I've spoken with her many times and was delighted to meet her face-to-face.
I was immediately overcome with the intensely sweet smell of brown rice cooking, as soon as I entered the production area. Amazake is made by a natural malting process. Whole grain rice and filtered water are brought to a boil, and the rice is cooked until tender. The rice is then cooled and cultured rice (called "koji"), is added, causing enzymes to break down the carbohydrates into simpler sugars. As the mixture incubates, the natural sweetness develops, creating a smooth, creamy, nectar-like beverage. Finally, fruits, nuts, and natural flavors are added to produce a variety of flavors like Chocolate Almond, Vanilla Pecan Pie, and of course, Cool Coconut.
How exciting to see the entire process, and then be able to enjoy a bottle right off the line!
I've heard all kinds of strange pronunciations for Amazake, but the correct way to say it is: ah-mah-zah-kee. But something so completely delicious, rich, and creamy that is also dairy-free and gluten-free* should be called the Amazing Shake! You can find Amazake at most natural food stores, but if yours doesn't carry it, ask them to start. This is an all-natural treat that you'll not only enjoy, but will feel great about giving to your kids. Visit the Grainaissance website for recipe ideas, money-saving coupons, and more information. And you can follow them on twitter. Oh, and did I mention that Grainaissance also makes Mochi? I'll write more about this amazing little gluten-free puff pastry in a future post.
*All flavors are gluten-free except Mocha Java, which contains barley.