Do expensive 10,000 yen Japanese cherries taste better than cheap ones from the supermarket?

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Blind tasting reveals expensive Japanese fruit might not be all it’s cracked up to be.

Recently, our Japanese reporters have been living the high life, blind-tasting expensive luxury foods alongside cheaper versions, to see who has the most refined palate in the office.

Now that cherry season has rolled around in Japan, it’s time for our reporters to test their chops yet again, this time pitting a 10,000 yen (US$72.71) punnet from a luxury fruit store against a 598 yen variety from the supermarket.

The expensive variety, pictured on the left in the image above, is called “Sato Nishiki“, and it was purchased from well-known luxury fruit purveyor Shinjuku Takano. At 10,000 yen for 300-grams, these are super high-quality cherries produced in Yamagata Prefecture, the country’s leading cherry-producing area.

▼ Each cherry in this punnet works out to be around 200 yen.

At the other end of the price spectrum, we have a 200-gram punnet of Beni Shuho, purchased at a supermarket for 598 yen. Taking the different weights into consideration, the difference iin price between these two punnets is tenfold. But would the difference in taste be equally noticeable?

Our reporters each took turns blindfolding themselves and taste-testing the cherries, which were marked simply as A and B for testing purposes. So let’s take a look at which one each of our reporters chose as the more expensive variety, and the reasons behind their choices.

P.K. Sanjun’s choice: B.

“I don’t know… A is a little sour, but it’s good. B has no sourness and is sweet. This might not be a case of cheap or expensive, but a difference in variety…? The peak sweetness level is almost the same. I felt that B had more skin on it… Well, this is really confusing. I expect that the more expensive one wouldn’t be sour so I’ll choose B. “

Go Hatori’s choice: B

“A is a little sour and has a large pit inside it. B has a small pit and no sourness. However, B has a slightly lighter taste…. A leaves a better impression, though. But would the more expensive one be so sour? Hmmmm…..well…let’s go with B.”

Yuuichiro Wasai’s choice: B

“Honestly, I couldn’t judge by the taste alone. However, when I touched the fruit with my hands, A wasn’t consistent. There were hard ones and soft ones. I don’t think there would be that much variation if it was the expensive variety. But still, I really don’t know. Both of them were delicious, though!”

Ahiruneko’s choice: B

“The first fruit I tasted in the A category was good, but the second and third ones weren’t. B was more compact, with the pit sitting firmly inside it. Either way, both A and B seemed sweeter than ordinary cherries. Judging by the texture, though, I’d have to say B is the more expensive variety.” 

Masanuki Sunakoma’s choice: B

“Argh, I messed up! I only ate one of the A variety so I completely forgot what it tasted like by the end. Well, the fact that I ate three of the B cherries didn’t help, but I couldn’t resist, they tasted so good. So let’s say it’s B.”

Mr Sato’s choice: B

“I don’t know. I have no choice but to rely on my taste buds, and they’re telling me that B is worthy of the high price tag. That’s it. Both are good, but I have to go with what my taste buds are telling me!”

Takashi Harada’s choice: B

“The texture and freshness of B was better. It was bigger too. As for the taste, it’s much of a muchness as they’re both good. When I was little, I used to eat cherries that were sent to us from Yamagata, but I don’t think I ever ate ones like B. I don’t think we would’ve received luxury cherries when I was younger, so I’ll say B.”

Yoshio’s choice: B

“A has a distinct sourness, but B has no sourness at all. It’s a sweet cherry. To be honest, B tastes more delicious. But…hang on, maybe I’m mistaken. Um, I think I’ll go with A. Nope — changed my mind again, I’m going to trust my first instincts and say B.”

As you may have noticed, the results were surprisingly unanimous, with every single one of our reporters believing B was the more expensive cherry. That means either all of our reporters had refined palates, or all of them had missed the mark entirely.

So which one would it be? Drumroll please….









…A !!!!!! A is the 10,000 yen Sato Nishiki!!!!!

▼ Our reporters’ reactions say it all.

Every one of our reporters was stunned by the result, looking down in shame at the revelation that none of them could tell the difference between an expensive cherry and a cheap one. It left them with a sour taste in their mouths, literally and figuratively.

Let’s cut to their individual reactions, shall we?

Masanuki, who now has 8 wins and 4 losses in these taste-test challenges under his belt:

“I wanted to support B!!!”

Takashi, with 7 wins and 4 defeats:

“But B was a cherry that I had never eaten!”

P.K., 8 wins and 5 defeats:

“I thought A was way too sour!”

Ahiruneko, 6 wins and 4 defeats:

“B was packed with fruit!”

Mr Sato, 6 wins and 4 losses:

“I’d pay 200 yen for a B cherry!”

Go, 6 wins and 5 losses: 

“B was fleshy!”

Yoshio, 6 wins and 6 defeats:

“This is contrary to my beliefs. I believed in my convictions with B.”

Yuuichiro, 5 wins 6 losses:

“I don’t know about the taste but by feel, I stand by B.”

If you’d like to see the blindfolded taste-testing as it unfolded, check out the video below:

With every member of the team wrong on the tasting, this was a resounding defeat for the aptitude of their taste buds. Or was it?

As we’ve seen before, just because something costs a lot, it doesn’t mean it’ll taste better than a regular everyday variety. And while expensive fruit from a luxury purveyor might be good for show when gift-giving, if you want to treat your taste buds to great flavour, you really don’t have to spend a fortune, especially in Japan, where even strawberries from a vending machine are great quality!

Photos © SoraNews24
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