Wagyu or Kobe Beef is not a native British Breed but has become world famous for the intense marbling present in the beef, which refers to the fine white layers of fat that run through lean beef and which intensify flavour and tenderness.
Originating from Japan where they were draft animals used in agriculture. Breeding animals were selected for their physical endurance and intramuscular fat cells (marbling) which provided a readily available energy source. The marbling in Wagyu Beef is so intense it has become world renowned for flavour, juiciness and benefit to human health, thus demanding a high market value.
The British Wagyu Breeders association states that, “With its healthy eating properties, Wagyu beef has no equal when it comes to tenderness, marbling and eating quality. Because of Wagyu’s genetic predisposition it yields a beef that contains a high percentage of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The marbling releases flavour into the meat when cooked. The fat in Wagyu has more monounsaturated fats and melts at room temperature, in fact at just 77F (25C), a lower temperature than any other beef and explains why Wagyu Beef melts in your mouth and is reputed to be the finest and most tender tasting beef in the world.”
The first Wagyu cattle arrived in Europe in 1996, and our Wagyu Beef comes from Ifor Humphries in Montmonthshire, Wales and has become the bestseller for Alternative Meats.
In 2006 Ifor imported Japanese Black Wagyu embryos and semen from the acclaimed Westholme Wagyu herd. Improvements in breeding and feeding since then means that the ‘grade’ of marbling in Ifor’s Welsh Wagyu is as good as imported Japanese Wagyu with much less food miles!
Ifor’s Welsh Wagyu are reared on clover rich pastures before finishing on a grass or hay and blended grain ration. Ifor says “Wagyu is higher in a type of fatty acid called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). This has been shown to have potent anti-carcinogenic properties, as well as being an anti inflammatory agent”.
In Japan, Wagyu were kept on small farms indoors in relatively cramped conditions. To maintain their muscle tone they were regularly massaged by their owners and in hot weather the Wagyu were fed beer to stimulate appetite.
Ifor’s maintain those traditions for his Welsh Wagyu by feeding Monty’s ale daily as they approach maturity. They also get the occasional massage to keep them happy and stress free, all contributing to the superior eating quality that is hard to find elsewhere.
Alternative Meats report that Ifor’s Welsh Wagyu is some of the tastiest, most delicious beef that they have EVER experienced. Over the years, their Welsh Wagyu has caught the attention of many high-profile restaurants and chefs, all of whom are known for their focus on outstanding quality and standards, including but not limited to Gordan Ramsay’s The Savoy Grill, with Head Chef Matt Worswick, and Michelin-starred chef Gareth Ward from Ynyshir Restaurant and Rooms.