My First Wagyu (and the 1st Birthday)

Sorry for the long absence. We moved within Stuttgart and didn’t have internet for a long time (thanks, Alice!), and I didn’t feel like blogging from an obnoxiously expensive internet café. But food vagabond has been eating and cooking all the time!

Wagyu Buttheart

We didn’t have this Wagyu dinner exactly on food vagabond’s 1st birthday (which was August 7th), but it sure was fine enough for the occasion.

Our friend A. and I had been discussing Wagyu for a long time. She had her first bite of Wagyu a couple of months ago in SE Asia and had been pestering me with the idea of cooking it at home ever since. Yes, we have very annoying friends. Finally I surrendered and she ordered this most expensive piece of meat I have ever eaten on the internet, which was delivered to her office the day before we had planned to cook it. Of course we had prepared a deserving dinner around the core-piece, the wagyu.

Serrano Appetizer

K. prepared this great appetizer (Serrano ham on grissini, with thyme and flower decoration – yes, men can have taste in such things!), which we devoured with some champagne.

foie gras creme brulee

I prepared this crème brûlée de foie gras (no, I don’t speak any French either, but that recipe is pretty straightforward) from the newest 3-star female chef in France, Anne-Sophie Pic, without the apple espuma of the original version (I used dried apple slices instead).

Sauternes Bastor-Lamontagne 1979 Sauternes - amber colored

We drank a 1979 Sauternes with this. A colleague of T.’s had given him the bottle with the words “I am cleaning out my cellar and I know you are a wine-lover, maybe you will like it, it is lost completely on me”. Like it? We loved it, how often do you get a perfectly kept almost 30 years old bottle that goes perfect with foie gras?

Wagyu Striploin

We had two different cuts (striploin and buttheart) which A. and I prepared two ways: simply seared (above), and according to an herb-laden recipe from Stefan Marquard, one of Germany’s “young & wild” chefs (below).

Wagyu Buttheart with herbs

I personally liked the buttheart/simply seared combination most; almost all of us agreed that the striploin was tougher (of course we are fussing on a very high level here, it still was more tender than most other meat); most liked the herb-preparation a lot, too. The buttheart was really melt-in-your-mouth, with a distinct lamb-like, or gamey, taste. While preparing the steaks, A. and I had slow-melted some fat cut from the striploin edges and tasted it as is, which had even more of this lamb-ish taste, which we liked.

French Rabbit

J. had thought this fine wine would go well with the delicate steaks… Seriously, please keep clear of this new fad, this wine doesn’t even deserve the name, and life is really too short to drink stuff like this. We actually accompanied the Wagyu with great South African reds from K.’s cellar.

Cherry-Chocolate Clafoutis

Poor R., who couldn’t eat any of our very rare Wagyu (she is pregnant and we refused to waste any Wagyu by cooking it “done” – she had her own shoe sole “regular” steak), made a lovely cherry-chocolate clafoutis, served with balsamic filled raspberries (a revelation!) on creme patissier, if I am not wrong. This was a worthy end (after some cheese) to a great luxury dinner.

So will I eat Wagyu again? I liked the taste and the texture a lot. The price is rather high, although you could get a buttheart steak for 25 Euros, which is not a lot more than what you would pay for a normal steak in a good steakhouse. So that might be an option. I missed the foie gras-like taste a lot of eaters have reported, and I sure won’t order any Wagyu in a restaurant in Europe or USA, where it costs well over 100 Euros. But I might try it once again if I ever go to Japan, just to see the real thing (As real Kobe Wagyu is not being exported anymore, ours was an American Wagyu). In the meantime, I do prefer to eat a local (Bavarian) bison, where one kilo of locally raised, tender bison fillet costs around 40 Euros.

8 Responses

  1. Sauternes 1979 with “crème brûlée de foie gras” ? it’s great!
    Thank you for the link to “Assiettes gourmandes” !

  2. ooooo Wagyu Beef!!! I had the Kobe Wagyu in Singapore, when I was working in a Japanese restaurant and one of the policies there was making the staff try the menu so that they could make good recommendations. (damn good policy if u ask me ;))
    The dish was simple, mixed greens with thinly sliced raw Wagyu and a dressing of sesame seed oil, peanut sauce, kirin and soysauce.. but it was heavely.. :P Now i am getting homesick…

  3. Chantal33,
    thanks for being my recipe source for the foie gras preparation. And the sauternes was really good with it.
    I envy you! A simple salad-like dish with the Wagyu was one of my considerations, we ditched the idea later for the described preparations. The policy in that Japanese restaurant is great, I strongly believe that the waiters have to know what they are offering. Only so can they answer detailed questions.
    I was shocked a while ago as I read of a cook in a 3 star restaurant who didn’t know what the dish she prepared many times everyday tasted like (and therefore questioned it). I realize in a 3 star restaurant the ingredients are extremely costly and they can’t let every employee eat the whole menu, but they should at least know what they are cooking!

  4. hande, thanks so much for dropping by. your turkish experience sounds ‘delish’. glad to have discovered your blog too. will make sure to link to you (and of course, rss, inevitably)
    SO jelous about the wagyu!

  5. I am SO jealous! I have never had Wagyu beef before. I’m going to research prices right now!

  6. Andreea, SteamyKitchen,
    well, as said above, Wagyu is really not cheap. But if you can somehow afford it, do try it. I think it makes a real great steak at home for not more cost than going out to eat.

  7. I have never tried wagyu (although hope springs eternal…!). Your meal sounds fabulous and I’m thrilled to hear that the South African wines paired well with the meat :)

  8. Jeanne,
    I do admit I still know pretty little about SA wines, but what are friends for? ;-P

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