Yuzu: the fruit of the rising sun
Originally discovered as a wild fruit in China and Tibet, yuzu was introduced and cultivated in Japan and Korea around the 7th Century.
Unlike most other citrus fruits, which have spread around the world for centuries, this small fruit with bumpy curves, very little flesh and a lot of pips or seeds never left Asia until the 20th Century (with one notable exception: its export in the middle of the last century to Brazil, where it was consumed uniquely by the Asian community).
To get an idea of how recent the yuzu came to be known in Europe, it’s impossible to find it in most pre-2000 printed English dictionaries (Oxford, Merriam Webster, Collins) and it was only introduced into the French Larousse Dictionary in 2016. It’s a huge bonus for Scrabble players since the Y is worth 4 points and the Z a whopping 10 (in French, Y and Z both score 10 points).
Its delicate mixed fruity and sour taste, with flavor hints of grapefruit, mandarin and lime, is very refreshing and delights the most discerning palates as soon as they taste it. In fact, yuzu came to the West largely thanks to great chefs and pastry-makers who worked in Japan (in particular French culinary stars such as Alain Ducasse, Pierre Gagnaire, Joël Robuchon and Michel Troisgros).
Today, it is used in an increasing number of savory and sweet preparations and has become a favorite of a new generation of culinary creators and its future is as promising as a rising sun.