If you give a German bread…

sunflower seed bread

Sunflowerseed bread from Boulangerie Friandise

…she will love you forever. Having spent a good part of my life in southern Germany, I love a hearty, crusty bread made of whole wheat, rye, nuts, and seeds in any combination. It can be heavy and too healthy-looking, but it has to have a dynamic texture and pair well with both cheese and jam. My father, having the same opinion and finding no decent bread in the states, went so far as to build a wood-fired oven in our backyard in Oregon.

Coming to Japan, I find the only bread most Japanese eat is white, fluffy, and without crust. Even the little crust that is attached is usually cut off on a sandwich (and I do think Japanese sandwiches are great, though more of the tea time than the lunchtime variety). Not having an oven decent enough to experiment making bread like my father, I’ve come to exploring the bakeries of Kyoto. I enter a bakery, scan all the shelves, and head for the location most likely to have hearty, crusty bread, though that location is sometimes difficult to discover among the elaborate displays of pastries.

Nevertheless, I would like to announce that I’ve been moderately successful in finding good bread! With no further ado, let me present the bread in the above picture. It’s made at the Boulangerie Friandise, which although its not my favorite bakery in Kyoto, has wonderful pastries I'm told. There are four locations throughout Kyoto, and I found this one loaf all alone in the Imadegawa shop

After scanning the shelves, I almost bought only a sweet roll topped with chocolate chips as a consolation for not finding anything spectacular. But as I approached the register, I discovered a small sunflower seed-topped loaf suffocating in a plastic bag. Considering its small size, I was amazed at the weight it had when I picked it up off the shelf. So, I rescued it, took it home, cut it open, and discovered a beautifully nutty center. It went perfectly with a creamy camembert, but its strong flavor overwhelmed my delicate peach jam. Nevertheless, it was a small gift of memories from home.

On the side, the chocolate topped sweet roll was also deliciously chocolaty, with a filling of creamy chocolate with chocolate chunks. The soft, white bread was not too sweet, but complemented the chocolate filling and topping well. It went perfectly with my afternoon cup of coffee.

Boulangerie Friandise, Imadegawa Shop

フリアンディーズ 今出川店

Address: 京都府京都市京都市左京区田中関田町
Directions: East of the Kawabata Imadegawa intersection, on the north side of Imadegawa.
Phone: 075 – 724 – 1172
Hours: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm

Other shops at Kitaoji-Horikawa, Karasuma-Ebisugawa, and at Nijo station.

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