Kobe beef, yubari melons and a few other Japanese delicacies recently have joined the ranks of champagne, Darjeeling tea and the appellation supreme.
Did you know that champagne can only be produced in the Champagne region of France? Or that Darjeeling tea can only be grown in the Darjeeling province of India? These products have protected status so that no other food or drink can be marketed with the same name. This certification pushes up the prices and puts pressure on manufacturers to create a high-quality product that lives up to its luxury status. Japan recently added a number of foods to the list. They include:
KOBE BEEF: Raised in the Hyogo Prefecture, Kobe beef is considered a delicacy. It has a well-marbled texture, and is fatty, tender and flavoursome. After an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Japan in 2012, an international export ban was placed on the meat, but now that it has been lifted, chefs across the world are eager to serve the tasty food. Kobe beef comes from the Tajima strain of the Wagyu cattle and is the world’s most expensive meat. The cattle itself also has been granted protected status.
YUBARI MELONS: These melons are grown in small quantities in Hokkaido. Known as one of the most expensive foods in the world, they can be sold anywhere between $50 and $100, although one pair sold for $26,000 at auction. They usually are sold in perfectly matching pairs and are prized for their juiciness and pretty proportions. The luxury price tag also is due to the melons’ limited availability.
EDOSAKI PUMPKINS: These unusual pumpkins come from the Ibaraki Prefecture. Green on the outside and orange on the inside when ripe, they have been created loosely based on the butternut squash.
AOMORI CASSIS: This fruit is grown exclusively in Aomori, where it is used to create delicious jams.
YAME DENTO HON GYOKURO: This high-quality green tea is picked only once a year to ensure it is at its prime. From the Yame region, it is cultivated using traditional techniques and boasts a rich, unami flavour.
KAGOSHIMA NO TSUBOZUKURI KUROZU BLACK VINEGAR: A speciality from the Kirishima, this vinegar is created using rice, koji and groundwater. There is no fermentation process as is usually seen with other types of vinegar. and it has been made the same way for 200 years. It is truly a unique condiment. If you ever get the opportunity to sample one of the delicious cuisines, be sure to savour every mouthful. The high price tag and exclusive nature of the foods makes them luxury delicacies that cannot be enjoyed everyday.