Japan has officially launched Wagyu beef imports to the UK as it seeks to establish its product as the pinnacle of the intensely marbled meat.
Keiichi Hayashi, ambassador of Japan, and Mr Yasuhiro Ozato, parliamentary vice-minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries last night hosted a reception to showcase the quality of the Wagyu produced in Japan.
Wagyu literally means "Japanese beef" and is famous for its unique Wagyu aroma, which is rich and sweet.
The exclusive event showcased the quality of the product produced by pedigree cattle raised in Japan and guests were welcomed by the ambassador to a seminar to explain the way the cattle are reared, Japanese food security measures and the qualities, taste and the nutritional profile of Wagyu beef.
The seminar and carving demonstration was followed by a range of tasting dishes prepared by chefs Yoshinori Ishii of Umu in London's Mayfair, Arnaud Bignon of the Greenhouse and Yvonnick Lalle of Morton's Club in Berkeley Square, London. They worked with the embassy's private chefs to give the guests a sense of the versatility of the beef, introduced by Jun Arima, director of JETRO with the words "tasting is believing".
The menu included canapés of mini croquettes with Miso simmered Wagyu (from embassy chefs Makoto Nishikawa and Kunijiiko); Wagyu fillets, mozzarella, olive and rocket (Bignon); Wagyu Tartar, broad beans and parmesan and lightly smoked Wagyu, poached quail egg and summer truffle (Lalle).
The main dishes were Wagyu Sirloin steak (embassy chefs); Charcoal and straw grilled Wagyu Tataki with summer vegetable terrine and sesame sauce (Ishii); roasted Wagyu, pickled girolles, watercress and horseradish (Lalle;) and Carpaccio with Wagyu fillet, aubergine, coriander and tomato (Bignon).
The launch hosted in conjunction with the Japan Livestock Industry Association (JLIA) and the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) supported by the Ministry of Agriculture will work with exporters Nippon Meat packers UK, Zen-Noh and Nice to Meet BV, Starzen Europe, and ITOHAM via ANZCO Foods.