Started in July 2001 in the hopes that it will become a shop of long-standing, bonne volonté is a charming little bakery at 荒神口Koujinguchi, popular among the locals and local foreigners alike as well as anyone who may pass by. The black stone kiln inside, visible thanks to the windowed front, catches one’s eyes as well as the shop’s white exterior set off with a beautiful teal color, a little bright for the sober coloring for which Kyoto is known. The bread is 天然酵母ten-nen koubo, or made from natural yeast, which explains why many of their breads tend to be crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside (my kind of bread).
It had been on my mind to go after I saw the bakery in a magazine for Kyoto shops and other establishments; that chance came on my way to kátte at the beginning of this month when I decided to stop in at the spur of the moment, especially because there weren’t many customers and the display case was full of bread…maybe the situation was due to the rain or I was lucky to arrive when batches of bread came out of the kiln which is fired up with firewood. I’ve passed it quite often these last seven or eight years but either the place was full of customers (meaning probably five to six people since it’s so small) or there was little bread left which did not encourage me to stop, especially if I was in a hurry.
There was a young non-Japanese male working the kiln when I arrived…I was curious about his story.
I was glad there was a customer before me because I needed time to decide because everything looked so good.
A cool yet polite female staff member wrapped up my bread but the female owner (not pictured in the pictures) who was also on hand was very friendly and we made very small chit-chat while I was rung up.
my buys: りんごのベーグルringo no behguru (apple bagel), ￥200, クリームチーズとブラックペッパーのパンkurihmu chihzu to burakku peppah no pan (cream cheese & black pepper bread), ￥220, and エビとバジルのパンebi to bajiru no pan (shrimp & basil bread), ￥200
There was no doubt bagels from here would be good…the bagel had a wonderful chewy texture and bits of apple, not too sweet at all, in it; I think I could have even used it as bread for a savory sandwich. The crescent-shaped bread that contained cream cheese and black pepper was by far my favorite because I love cream cheese, pepper is always a good condiment and the bread was chewy in a hard way, the kind that I’m always tempted to buy. The round shrimp and basil bread was as tasty as it sounds although the bread was softer than the first two.
The next time I’m in the area, I’ll stop by again to buy something different, as long as there is bread in the display case.☺
Update: Over two months later on my way to kátte, I passed bonne volonté and saw that the display case of bread was full and there were no customers; of course I had to go in.☺
The cool yet polite female staff member that I mentioned last time was manning the front…from the back I heard the owner’s son loudly reciting something with the owner (I think) commenting from time to time.
the black kiln at rest for the day
I got the cream cheese and black pepper bread (now ￥225 and the bread in the middle of the picture) again as well as a リンデンバームさんのソーセージ入りパンRindenbahmu-san no sohsehji-iri pan (LINDENBAHM’s sausage-filled bread, to the left in the picture), ￥235, and a 抹茶のフランスmaccha no furansu (green-tea French bread), ￥225.
Of course all the bread was chewy, and delicious, even more so because I could taste the natural goodness of the ingredients used in the bread. Too bad it’s a bit far the area that I usually frequent for me to go every day.