The other day, on the first basement floor of the Isetan department store in Shinjuku, we came across a curious display case of bread. Nestled in amongst a whole bunch of delicious looking baked goods was a loaf that stood out like a sore thumb, making it clear that something was just…different. Why? Well, because it was black bread. Like, super black. Pitch black. Blacker than the blackest black.
The bread’s name is Aisumi, which means “indigo wax” in Japanese. Aisumi indigo wax is shaped like an inkstick so it can be used for calligraphy, and while this bread contains no indigo wax, it’s as dark and rectangular as an Aisumi, only about a hundred times bigger.
At 1,059 yen a loaf, this bread is not exactly cheap, but the sign in the showcase purported it to have health and beauty benefits. Being a limited-edition item, and an unusual one at that, we couldn’t resist its charms so we purchased a loaf and brought it back to the office for a taste test.
The moment we took it out of its bag, we were immediately overwhelmed by the smell of black sesame seeds. It smelled so goooood…. Seeing as the reason for the bread being so black comes from the use of black sesame seeds and charcoal, it’s only natural that the bread would have such an intense sesame aroma. Mix in the scent of wheat and it’s enough to get anyone drooling.
While we were already convinced this bread was going to be delicious before we’d even tried it, there was still a small chance that it might taste, well….like it looked. But after just the first bite, we could really taste the presence of the black sesame, which went well with the sweetness of the wheat and gave a real depth to the taste. Furthermore, the texture of the bread is so light and fluffy that it’s delicious enough to eat on its own.
The outside is completely black. The inside is completely black too.
To keep things fair we also bought some "Gold Bread" from 7-Eleven to compare it with, but the poor white bread didn’t stand a chance when matched up with the overwhelming deliciousness of the black bread. In all honesty, Gold Bread isn’t a bad bread by any means; usually it’s quite tasty. It’s just unfortunate that its opponent was too strong this time.
▼ ‘Gold’ bread vs black bread. As you can see, the black bread isn’t that big.
▼ There were other varieties too – this one is a chocolate bread.
On the inside, the sweet chocolate-rich dough revealed itself.
Both dark breads were surprisingly delicious, and had us conjuring up ideas for toppings like jam and cream cheese to enhance their beauty. Incidentally, the breads were bought at a shop called Point Et Ligne and upon further investigation, the shop was a pop-up store in Shinjuku’s Isetan that ran until Dec 10.
We asked if there would be a chance to buy this super black bread after the 10th. The reply: “We’re not sure, but it may be sold at a Marunouchi store in the future. If that happens, we’ll post it on our homepage.”
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