Premium vs. supermarket — we try to avenge our persimmon failings from five years ago.

Our writers here at SoraNews24 pride ourselves on having something of a refined palate when it comes to food, so much so that we regularly take part in ‘Gourmet Writers’ Rating Check‘ challenges. The challenge premise is simple; participants are presented with two versions of a food item, and using only their taste buds, have to pick which one is the premium, more expensive option.

So far, the Gourmet Writers’ Rating Check challenges have taken on the challenges of seeing if they can tell the difference between real beer and happoshu, or distinguish fresh tuna from frozen tuna. But while our writers have clocked many taste testing hours over the years, there’s one taste test challenge in particular that still haunts them to this day.  The story takes place around five years ago, when our writers were much wetter behind the ears.

▼ Back in 2017, the gang looked a little different

In 2017, the challenge was set — could the SoraNews24 team pick out the more expensive persimmon from the run-of-the-mill supermarket persimmon?

In a surprise result, every single participant chose incorrectly.

Such a devastating loss has haunted the SoraNews24 team ever since, and so today, five years since they first failed, they decided to avenge their past selves and attempt the challenge once more.

▼ The persimmons were purchased, and the participants prepared themselves.

This time, the two persimmons being used were Isetan’s premium Taishu persimmon, which cost 1,296 yen each (US$9.30) from Japanese department store Isetan. Taishu persimmons are said to be carefully chosen for their sweetness, so this really is a premium product.

Up against the pricey persimmon was a regular supermarket-bought persimmon, which cost around 80 yen. That makes the fancy persimmon more than ten times more expensive than the normal persimmon, but will our writers be able to spot which persimmon is premium?

All participants knew what was on the line here, and nerves were running high. Would they all pick the same? Would this year end in failure too? Let’s find out!

● P.K. Sanjun: B

P.K.: “I heard somewhere that cheaper persimmons don’t have seeds in them, so I was trying to find seeds. Neither persimmon had any seeds though, so I’m just going with which one was sweeter, which was Persimmon B. From start to finish, B was just sweeter. A was really delicious, but I can still taste the sweetness from B in the back of my throat now.”

● Go Hatori: B

Go: “There’s definitely a difference, but it’s hard to tell which one is more expensive. But B is a little sweeter than A, so I’ll go for B. A was ripe but not sweet. But B was firm and sweet. Something was mentioned about the expensive persimmon having more sugar content, so I’m picking the sweeter of the two.”

● Seiji Nakazawa: B

Seiji: “Actually, I remember how the expensive persimmon tasted last time, so I’m confident this time around. A was soft but slightly sour, B was firmer but not sour at all.

Anyway, I’ll trust my memory and my gut and go with B.”

● Ahiruneko: B

Ahiruneko: “There’s no way that A is worth more than 1,000 yen. These are two completely different fruits. The texture is totally different and B is much, much sweeter. So far I’ve gotten all of these fruit challenges wrong, but if I get this one wrong then I’ll lose all faith in my taste buds. This might be the easiest challenge yet.”

● Masanuki Sunakoma: B

Masanuki: “If you bought A at a really fancy supermarket, you’d feel pretty ripped off. But I’ve never eaten a persimmon like B before. A tastes like a persimmon your grandparents give you when you visit, and B tastes like a fancy fruit.”

● Yuuichiro Wasai: B

Yuuichiro: “‘A is delicious… but B has a totally different texture! How should I explain it… I don’t usually associate crisp persimmons with a sweet taste, but this one was crisp and sweet. Plus, I can’t imagine a fancy supermarket selling soft persimmons like A.”

● Mr. Sato: B

Mr. Sato: “I usually guess these challenges based on the texture, but I’m going to try something new today. Hmm… I’ll guess B. A has a soft, almost soggy texture, and not worth 1,200 yen. If I’d bought this from a fancy supermarket, I’d definitely complain. I can’t really tell anything from the sweetness, but I guess B is a little sweeter.

Plus, B was much crispier than A, so in the end I guess I’m going to choose based on texture again.”

● Yoshio: A

Yoshio: “I actually eat a lot of persimmons because my kids like them. I’m gonna go with A here, simply because it’s the one I liked more. A is juicy and B is crisp, and for me A is the one I want to eat again. I’d recommend A to others, so I’m going to stick to my guns here, even if it means I lose.”

So with Yoshio going with A, no matter what the result the team somehow avoided the dreaded “everyone is wrong” scenario they were faced with last time, which was a relief. With 7 ‘B’ guesses and just one ‘A’ guess, which persimmon would be the premium one? It was time to find out.

▼ Drum roll please…

The premium Taishu persimmon was…

Persimmon B!

With the whole team (except Yoshio) successfully guessing correctly, it’s safe to say their revenge on the challenge was a huge success.

Let’s look at each individual correct guess success rate, with a final comment from each competitor.

▼ Seiji Nakazawa (correct answer rate 84.2 percent) “B was crisp but not sour at all. ”

▼ P.K. Sanjun (correct answer rate 80 percent) “At any rate, B was sweeter.”

▼ Masanuki Sunakoma (correct answer rate 62.5 percent) “A was like my grandma’s persimmon.”

▼ Ahiruneko (correct answer rate 61.9 percent) “B was much, much sweeter.”

▼ Go Hatori (correct answer rate 60.8 percent) “I’ll go with B, which is crisp but sweet.”

▼ Yoshio (correct answer rate 52.3 percent) “I’m going to stick to my guns.”

▼ Yuichiro Wasai (correct answer rate 50 percent) “B is crisp but unusually sweet.”

▼ Mr. Sato (correct answer rate 47.6 percent) “If A was from a fancy supermarket, I’d definitely complain.”

You can check out the blind taste testing as it happened here —

So, with the exception of our poor boss Yoshio, the SoraNews24 gourmet writers managed to get their revenge on the persimmon challenge after five years. Here’s hoping the gang can keep on riding the victory train all the way to their next taste test, and see you again in five years time when the team take revenge on the overwhelming failure that was the cherry blind taste test challenge!

Photos © SoraNews24
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