Although I love Japanese food, I do miss crusty bread…
I often hear such laments from non-Japanese friends, especially those from western countries.
Why Crusty Artisanal Bread is Hard to Find…
In contrast to European breads with rich, chewy crusts and grain-brown crumb, Japanese bread is white, fluffy and slightly sweet throughout. This preference is inherited from the post-war period. During the war, people often only had hard, dark food for rations. Soft, light baked goods became a rare and precious experience.
When it became accessible, fluffy breads with soft crusts were the featured product of the bigger bread companies. This type of bread grew in popularity along with Japan’s economy. The preference has been passed to each generation of Japanese baker since. At least, that’s what I have heard…
But then there is Tsuki to Pielo.
A Hidden Treasure in the Noto
Tsuki to Pielo translates as “Moon and Clown.” Pielo is taken from French.
The shop is located in a no-man’s land a little over an hour away from Kanazawa in the Noto Peninsula, a geographically beautiful area already worth a trip on its own. I used Google Navigator yet still had trouble getting to this particular place.
At the bakery, there was a small sign for parking.
When we opened the door of the shop around 16:00, we could see an almost empty showcase. We weren’t surprised to find they were nearly sold out. They are so popular that even when they come to town to attend food festivals in Kanazawa City, they always have a queue.
Bread without Borders
The shop is part of a renovated house, and the cafe area has no music, only views of a garden growing wild. We bought several baked goods and pastries along with a coffee and settled in.
We didn’t feel the need to talk, only to sit with the moment and enjoy the fruits of the baker’s labor…
Oishii! It was so, so good! The texture and aroma were fresh, and it felt like the very spirit of the shop was in every bite. Good bread could not be categorized merely by country in that moment. I couldn’t help but smile.
When I inquired about their approach to bread-making, I found that same spirit. They consider baking a craft, like art, and one that takes heart and care to do well. Bread can change one’s life. Maybe bread can even change the world… Good food is happiness.
Morning is the best time to before they sell out of their selections. They’ll often have a variety: pain aux fruits, pain de mie, etc. It’s all delicious. Feel free to stock up; even on the second day, it’s still fresh and satisfying. Isn’t that also a sign of good bread?
If you can, go to Tsuki no Pielo. Whether you’re picky about your bread, traveling through the Noto already, just happen to be there by chance, or even if you need a little lift in your spirit, the taste will give you a smile.
website (Facebook page)
2-93 Hazaka, Nakanoto, Kashima District
70 minutes by car from Kaname Inn
photos by Nik van der Giesen