The best meat in the world

Incredible things happen in Barcelona. Proof of that is Hiroki Ito’s recent visit from Japan. Ito represents the third generation of the Ito Ranch, located in Mie Prefecture, the only farm to supply Japan and the world’s most valuable meat: Matsusaka beef. Many people have heard of Kobe beef, which was first exported in 2014 and can only be found in seven restaurants in the entire Spanish state and few others around the world, but Matsusaka beef has remained relatively unknown until now. And that is because there is so little of it (just over 7,000 heads of cattle). It is so revered by the Japanese – those who can afford it, of course – that until last year, the Japanese government had not allowed it to be exported. Hiroki Ito first visited back in September, after the Akaneya Group became part of the Matsusaka Beef Association and the first foreign company to join this select club in 60 years. The group, which owns the restaurant Carlota Akaneya, on Carrer Pintor Fortuny in Barcelona and also has restaurants in Madrid and Paris, therefore now has the rights to import this meat.

Hiroki Ito returned to Barcelona at the request of twins Sergio and Javier Torres, two of the best chefs on the world stage, who have decided to incorporate this meat into the menu of their three-Michelin-starred Cocina Hermanos Torres in Les Corts. “It will be on the menu after the summer”, the brothers said, fantastically impressed by the taste and tenderness of this Japanese meat.

Matsusaka cows are reared for between 30 and 32 months, and the meat comes from virgin cows, which have therefore never given birth (in contrast with Kobe beef, which can come from cows that have given birth or neutered males). The most precious part of Matsusaka beef (the fillet) costs 5,000 euros per kilo. In Japan there are only three restaurants that serve it (one belonging to the Ito family, where the Japanese Prime Minister is a regular). The great news for those who have enough money to be able to indulge in this delicacy is that after the summer it will be available in two Barcelona restaurants.


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