4.19.2007

Living a "Kobe" Life



I simply couldn't let my recent Kobe experience at the Heritage Hotel pass without raving about\it. Admittedly, I can only count the times that I've had this in my life and the reason for this is obvious...it costs so much! Something I consider sheer luxury and indulgence. And because our Daddy dear looooves us so much, he surprised us with this treat! Kobe beef, hailed as the most exclusive beef in the world, is a type of beef that comes from the black Tajima-ushi breed of Wagyu cattle, raised according to strict tradition in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. Kobe is actually the capital of Hyogo Prefecture. Wagyu ("Japanese Cattle") are renowned for flavour, tenderness, and fatty well- marbled qualities enhanced by the traditional and well guarded methods of raising Kobe beef. Real beef connoisseurs, however, still refer to it as Tajima beef. This beef comes from an ancient stock of cattle called "kuroge Wagyu" (black haired Japanese cattle).

Today they are raised on only 262 small farms, most of which pasture fewer than five cows, and the largest of which run only 10-15 animals. Each animal is delicately pampered like a spoiled child. Their diets are strictly controlled and during the final fattening process, cattle are fed hefty quantities of sake and beer mash. And get this...each animal gets a daily massage. The theory is that mellow and relaxed cows make good beef. It's believed that the eating quality of the meat is affected positively by keeping the cattle calm and content. Daily massage + sake + beer = spoiled Kobe! So it's no surprise that this beef is very expensive. They're even more spoiled than most of us! The best way to prepare Kobe Beef is to cook it fast over a hot flame. The fat in Kobe Beef melts at a lower temperature than regular beef. It is best to simply sear it to seal in the moisture and flavor. If you overcook it, you risk having all the fat melt away. The fat is essential in providing Kobe the flavor and moisture for which it is famous. Quickly searing it over a hot fire, or in a cast iron pan, reduces the shrinkage and keeps in the flavor. The meat just melts in your mouth! Heavenly!

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