It ain’t easy eating cheesy cake.

Here at SoraNews24 we’re often sampling and reviewing all kinds of food, from high-class restaurants to potato chips. In order to do that, we must always be honing our culinary senses to ensure fair and accurate reporting.

And what better way to do that than by copying the premise of a popular Japanese television show with another installment of Gourmet Writers’ Rating Check. This is where our staff must blind-taste two of the same food item from opposite extremes of its price range and determine which is which.

▼ Here are the participants for this round.

This time, everyone’s taste buds will be subjected to baked cheesecake. In one corner, we have Satsuki from the luxurious Hotel New Otani, a long-running cheesecake that sells for 592 yen (US$4.39) a slice. In the other corner, we have some mass-produced cheesecake sold at the pastry chain Chateraise for 220 yen ($1.63) a slice, which is less than half the price of Satsuki.

▼ Cheesecake from Hotel New Otani and Chateraise: Can you tell the difference?

As in past Gourmet Writers’ Rating Checks, each writer will sample a bite of each cheesecake – labeled A and B – and choose which one they think is the more expensive one. In the end, the correct answer is revealed and those who chose wisely will have it reflected on their cumulative score.

So, without further ado, let’s cheese it!

P.K. Sanjun: “B”

P.K.: “This is a hard one. Should I choose A because it tastes better, or B because it’s using good ingredients? That’s tough… Which one? I’m worried that I’m on the right track but I wonder if it’s B because of the quality ingredients? Should I focus on the end product or the stuff that went into it? B has a sort of orange flavor too… I really don’t know, but I’ll put my faith in the quality of ingredients and go with B.”

Go Hatori: “A”

Go: “Hey, hey, hey, this wasn’t at all what I was expecting… But eating B I felt – and I’m sorry to say – it tasted like fruit-flavored Calorie Mate bars. B also had a spongier texture. I guess it’s possible Hotel New Otani sells spongy cheesecake that tastes like Calorie Mate, but the more I think about it, A is probably from Hotel New Otani. It’s difficult though…”

Seiji Nakazawa: “A”

Seiji: “Which one to choose… Maybe A? B felt like the cheesecake I used to eat as a kid. The first bite of A had a stronger cheese flavor but that might not have anything to do with it. B also felt kind of dry, like a pancake. B feels more like a standard Chateraise thing than something I ate at Hotel New Otani.”

Ahiruneko: “A”

Ahiruneko: “I’ve never actually bought cheesecake myself. A was less sweet than I expected, but what did I feel from B? I guess the texture of B felt slightly cheaper. Considering that, I’d say A was more elegant, or rather it didn’t feel cheap. B was a little dry too. I guess you could say A had a certain aura about it that modestly showed its superiority.”

Masanuki Sunakoma: “A”

Masanuki: “I eat a lot of Chateraise because there’s one near my home, but huh…this is tough. Still, I’ll go with A because it went down smooth. On the other hand, B felt a little coarse and lacking in smoothness. B had some nice tricks to it, but still, A is the one I think would be served at a hotel.”

Mr. Sato: “A”

Mr. Sato: “All right! Time to get out of the bottom rank… This is a hard one, though. I think the more expensive one is A. Sure, I chose that before I even started, but would the cheaper one have such a cheesy feeling? B was cheese-like too but the texture was different. Did B come from a factory? I could see it coming from a factory. A had a lingering cheese aftertaste, but B felt like something from a factory.”

Yoshio: “A”

Yoshio: “I like cheesecake, but I don’t eat the classics much these days. Hmmm, this is a hard one… But I’ll have more of A please. That being said, B also had a stylish taste to it. A was my favorite because it had a richer flavor and melted in my mouth. Its aftertaste was also fresh. B had a darker taste which wasn’t to my liking. Basically, the one I want to eat again is A.”

Takashi Harada: “A”

Takashi: “I don’t really eat sweets, but A is like no cheesecake I’ve tasted before. Still, after eating both it’s A. A had a feeling of pure cheesecake through and through. B was a little dry and felt like it stuck in my throat. To put it simply, A is more delicious. Considering that I liked it better and that A felt more like a full cheesecake, it has to be A.”

Will all the votes cast, we’re left with a very lopsided 7-to-1 vote, with P.K. the only dissenting voice who felt B was the superior cheesecake. Even P.K. admitted that he liked A better but will his keen senses that have gotten him to the top of the overall rankings so far pay off again?

Everyone bowed their heads in anticipation of the answer, which is…


P.K. was correct in assuming that quality ingredients are the hallmarks of a luxury cheesecake, regardless of one’s personal leanings. As such, he has further cemented his lead in the overall rankings, which are as follows:

P.K.: 26 wins / 6 losses (81.2-percent correct rate): “B had the better ingredients!”

Seiji: 20 wins / 6 losses (76.9-percent correct rate): “But B was so dry!”

Ahiruneko: 17 wins / 10 losses (62.9-percent correct rate): “B felt cheaper…”

Go: 18 wins / 11 losses (62-percent correct rate): “B tasted like fruit flavored Calorie Mate.”

Masanuki: 19 wins / 12 losses (61.2-percent correct rate): “B definitely had some good tricks…but I’d serve A at a hotel.”

Yoshio: 14 wins / 13 losses (51.8-percent correct rate): “B tasted stylish, but I’d rather have A.”

Takashi: 15 wins / 14 losses (51.7-percent correct rate): “A was more of a cheesecake.”

Mr. Sato: 13 wins / 13 losses (50-percent correct rate): “But I could imagine B coming from a factory… A factory!”

Before you go thinking our writers don’t know jack about quality food, it’s no accident that this was an especially difficult Gourmet Writers’ Rating Check. In recent episodes, the job of selecting foods has been handled by our own Mariko Ohanabatake, who has been choosing the hardest-to-distinguish pairings possible in order to trip up our team.

Stay tuned to see who can keep up and who will be steamrolled by the increasing difficulty next time on Gourmet Writers’ Rating Check!

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