So, the first thing I write may surprise you. I am not into this whole celebrity chef thing. True. I do, as you may know, very greatly admire a lot of chefs for their dedication, hard work and the beautiful inspired dishes that they create. But, I am not into celebrity. Along with the beautiful chefs food, perhaps I am most taken by the relentless pursuit by top chefs for high quality ingredients. Which brings me to write about a dinner I attended this week…
I trust you are well. I have some exciting news, soon I will be hosting an intimate dinner to taste Kochi Yuzu on behalf of the Kochi prefecture in Japan.
As you know, fresh Yuzu is a much sort after ingredient. I’m so happy that it is now going to be available in Australia, it really is something that I have wanted for a long time in our local market… ”
And it came to pass, that the invitation from Tetsuya Wakuda san to an intimate dinner found me seated at the table with an orchard of Sydney chefs, with visiting Japanese representatives from Kochi prefecture on other tables.
In their presence I would feel inadequate to tell you what I thought about my first tasting of Kochi Yuzu. Better they tell you instead…
Yuzu Bath ~ Yuzu Ofuro
“Yuzu bathing” is the first thing I think when I hear Yuzu, the smell, fresh. My memory of my grandmom cutting fresh Yuzu and dropping it into the bath tub.
Here we are at Tetsuya’s enjoying Yuzu in many different guises: oysters were amazing, the Yuzu enhanced beautifully. Yuzu has an intense perfume aroma and acidic but balanced taste which adds another dimension and citrus taste to our repertoire!
Really feel very lucky to have Yuzu at Tetuya’s. The flavour of Kochi Yuzu is very fresh, very nice, not much bitterness, and really complimentary to seafood, in particular especially to the sweetness of Australian seafood.
Fresh from the tree
Kochi Yuzu has such a versatile flavour, complimentary with all Australian seafood. The Kochi Yuzu juice is like taking the fruit picked straight from the tree.
What is Yuzu?
Yuzu is a fruit from the citrus family. Each Yuzu fruit usually weights between 120 – 130 grams with a thick coarse skin. This type of citrus is well-known and much appreciated in Japan for its freshness and unique aroma. Though originally found upstream of the Yangtze River in China, Yuzu as imported to Japan 1300 years ago. The main areas of Yuzu cultivation in Japan are Kochi, then followed by Tokushima, Ehime, Oita and Miyazaki.
It is unknown when the cultivation of Yuzu in Kochi began, but with wild Yuzu trees growing in the mountains of the prefecture, it is clear that the climate in the region is ideal. The strong temperature variations in the mountains also help to develop a powerful fragrance in the Kochi Yuzu fruit.
In Japan, 20% of the Yuzu crop is sold as whole fresh fruit. And Kochi is the number one producer.
In Australia, Kochi Yuzu is now available fresh, for the first time.
Kochi Yuzu with ginger & olive oil
NEW ZEALAND JOHN DORY
ceviche, Kochi Yuzu with sea water & spring vegetables
Kipfler potato, pilu pilu, sea scallops with Avruga caviar
Black Pearl, eschallots & Kochi Yuzu
slow cooked with braised witlof & fresh nori
seared with seasonal vegetables
GRANIITA OF KOCHI YUZU
WHIE MOUSE WITH KOCHI YUZU
I feel a bit guilty sharing this with menu with you, a one time special menu at Tetsuya’s.
I do feel extremely honoured to be invited, to be seated with such culinary luminaries, to share the tasting experience.
While I might not have the palate and experience of my Kochi Yuzu dining companions, what did I think about Kochi Yuzu? Tasting fresh yuzu is different than when tasting yuzu that has been previously processed with vinegars or sugars. Fresh Kochi Yuzu sits somewhere between lemon and lime, it’s lightly tangy and has a small edge of sweetness, a lingering freshness.