As we have discussed in our previous blog, wagyu has become a catch-term for any marbled beef when really it refers to the Japanese cattle. Wagyu has become very popular in Australia and over the last few years or so, it has also made its way into the UK supermarkets.
Wagyu used to be a very well guarded breed of cattle by the Japanese and it was only produced there. In the 1990's a wagyu farmer sold some of his cattle to an Australian farmer to breed. The Japanese wagyu organisation did not like this and revoked his membership.
Lately, the Japanese are more relaxed and many wagyu farms outside of Japan use a mixed breed with Japanese wagyu cattle. The result is a beef we would call wagyu but the difference in quality is visible. The visible difference would also translate into taste, aroma and price.
It's not only the amount of marbling in wagyu that makes it special. It's also the quality of the fats that gives it the melt-in-the-mouth texture and the unique aroma.
Photo credit: The telegraph
(Top: Japanese wagyu. Middle: British wagyu. Bottom: Welsh wagyu)
The grade of wagyu is determined by the fat quantity and quality, and the firmness and colour of the meat. We will go further in-depth about the different grades in the next blog.
To the Japanese, the most important quality of wagyu beef is how beautiful the shimofuri--the marbled fat is. The standard of quality control in Japan is very high so only the best cuts of meat are sold. Real Japanese wagyu has the 'wagyu' sticker of approval which you can see on the wagyu that is now available in our store!