Cheese bâtard 53rd Aniversary





As I was walking along, I saw a huge campagne with a decoration saying [Cheese bâtard 53 yrs]. The bakery with this campagne is call Pompadour, a Yokohama based bakery established in 1969. Pompadour started as a small french style bakery in an area call Motomachi in Yokohama. Since Motomachi is a popular shopping area for the foreigner, Pompadour was not the only bakery in this area but soon became the No. 1 bakery in Yokohama.

Motomachi was a place to catch something new. It was a foreigner district in Yokohama, so therefore a hub for something new. This attracted a lot of young generation and became a place to come and hang around. Pompadour’s opening attracted the young and curious especially when they introduced a red paper bags to fit the freshly baked baguettes. The long red paper bags became a fashion icon, buying a french bread (which was not so common back then) was such an exotic & new things todo. A lot of pictures of these fashionable kids walking up and down the streets with this red paper bag became a buzz which attracted more people to this area. This red paper bag was then called Pompadour red and became the bakery’s standard.

Later on the creation of Cheese bâtard cemented it’s popularity. My husband told me that Cheese bâtard was a big hit. Before then, there were no bâtard with cheese inside. French must have hated it because it is not authentic at all but Japanese loved it.

Japanese loves soft breads and grown up eating soft rolled bread (table bread) as elementary school lunches. Kids will slice it in half and add butter (margarin back then) jams, etc. A lot of local bakery will bake with sweeten azuki beans, custard cream or even with curry sauce stuffings. It sounds like a doughnut but much lighter. Japanese people are used to a bread with something inside so when the owner of Pompadour came up with a cheese stuffed bâtard ( not a french cheese but more of an American processed cheese, which is also interesting) it was a big hit! It was like a “Why wasn’t this existed before ?” kind of a reaction and soon, everyone came to Motomachi just for this bread.

I myself was not brought up in Yokohama but in another exotic port city call Kobe (near Osaka or Kyoto) so I didn’t know about Pompadour until I moved to Yokohama. Kobe is famous for bread, it’s a bread city with tons of good (authentic) German and French breads. When I was first gifted Pompadour’s Cheese bâtard, I was like, what the f*** is this?? But when I actually tasted it, because the bâtard’s shell is not as hard as a authentic ones (which might upset the French) the bread blended really well with the cheese inside. I guess this is one of those French-Japanese hybrid kind of food. You know how Asians are good at adapting foreign culture and make it their own, I know, because I’m Thai and most of Thai are made up of these kind of genius creations LOL !


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