Sunday, December 05, 2004

regional bread culture, part i & a holiday blend

long-time readers recall that i regularly post bits about global regional coffee cultures -- that's a truly fascinating subject. i mean, who would have thought that the middle-east is currently in the thrall of dulce de leche flavored lattes? but when you think about traditional honey-laden and cooked milk sweets eaten in the region, it suddenly makes sense. . .

thus today i'm thrilled to post verbatim a report on something many of us home bakers might not think of: regional bread cultures. this eyewitness report is brought to us by the fabulous joyce goldman, who has the pleasure of living in japan, and has done so for many years, working as a translator.

and you thought japan was a only a rice culture? ho, apparently that's as dated as thinking it's still a tea culture:

  1. (Ginza1-chome (main street,Ginza)
  2. Le Notre (basement of Seibu, Ikebukuro Station)

No. 1 is the Japanese branch of Dalloyau. Their white bread with sesames is like cake! And their candy displays are not to be believed, particularly at Easter. Dalloyau is also really convenient, as it is in the heart of Ginza.

No. 2 is for anyone traveling through Ikebukuro Station, which is like something out of the Matrix! Corridors appear and then vanish again. Hands pop out of doors in walls --- the whole bit. Luckily, Le Notre is in the basement of the station, providing nourishment for the whole Ikebukuro experience. Their orange bread with glazed topping is addictive.

Almost every houseguest I have had has later written to say that their stay was nice, but that bread was memorable! They also have very nice walnut bread. When school lets out in the summer, they often make a huge bread tortoise they keep under glass (so it won?t go after the orange bread???), and I admit making more than one detour through the station just to visit it.

No. 3 is the most decadent of all --- a 'cake house' located in Shizuoka, an hour from Tokyo on the bullet train but well worth making that trip! The 'Master,' as they call him, trained in France and does not water-down his confections for Japanese tastes. How good is Zoree? Well, Akihiro and I once pulled out of a funeral procession and into their parking lot. I don't remember exactly who had died, but I will remember the peanut butter-chocolate torte forever!"

her story above just makes me think of j. itami's famous comedy, the funeral.

this weekend's weak winter sunshine was augmented by the arrival of jessica's batdorf holiday blend. not that i'm trying to imply it's a bright coffee, because it's not.

making some up this afternoon in the cafetiére (a.k.a. french press) with the usual 32 oz. water, 55g of fresh ground coffee and a 4-min. steep-time, i have to say i liked it! long-time readers know i'm going point 'em to the scaa flavor wheel here. . .

jessica's holiday blend is now 4 days old, which is just as well, because these batdorf coffees bloom like mad in the press. so to prevent massive overflow, i always a day or so after i receive it to prevent unseemly foam accidents that require extensive kitchen clean up.

the coffee appears to me to be what i would call technically a mélange, comprised of different coffees roasted separately and then mixed together. i think it's made up of 3(?) different beans: some of which are roasted in the manner familiar to lovers of their dancing goat, and the rest darker, with about a quarter of the bean surface covered in oil.

this full coffee offers a flowery, fragrant, green-spicy feeling in the dry grounds, what i would call nearer coriander than cardamom. when i broke the crust of this coffee, i was immediately enveloped with a honeyed roasted-nut sensation from the steam -- and maybe a pinch of wet earth?

due to the dark roast some of the beans carry, there's a certain pungent, turpeny feeling in the aftertaste, with a long finish that dries out the back of your mouth and calls for a sip of water.

the press gives the coffee a wonderful thick body, which i very much enjoy personally. it's a low-toned, mellow blend that i believe a lot of people would like for breakfast.

with cream and sugar, a slight cocoa flavor emerged. if i have time tomorrow i'm going to make this in the vac pot, before going on to my stash of gillies fresh yemen. . .

posted by fortune | 10:55 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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