Beautiful and delicious, both inside and out.
The prevalence of square watermelons in Japan is greatly exaggerated. Sure, if you walk into the fruit-as-gift sections of high-end department stores you can find them, but it’s not like people regularly buy them for themselves. Not only are they several times more expensive than a normal watermelon, aside from the shape, there’s nothing really special about them.
So when we found ourselves with a little extra cash burning a hole in our pocket and a craving for watermelon flavor, we decided to skip the cubic fruit and treat ourselves to something even more unique: a loaf of watermelon bread. Officially called Suika Pan (literally Japanese for “Watermelon Bread”), this unique baked good comes from Japanese bakery Bo-Lo’Gne, but can be ordered through department store group Daimaru Matsuzakaya’s online store.
The product ships in a cube-shaped box decorated with a watermelon rind pattern, which is actually a pretty good description of the bread itself.
Slice off a piece, and the vivid red inside reveals itself, along with bits of chocolate subbing for the seeds you’d find in an actual watermelon (Japan, in general, isn’t into seedless varieties).
The visual recreation is so thorough that it takes a while for your brain to process what it’s seeing, and your taste buds will likely also need a few moments to come to grips with what you’re eating. Bo-Lo’Gne’s Suika Pan is made with watermelon juice, and between that and the chocolate taking a bite causes some momentary confusion as your mind tries to slot it into the category of bread, dessert, or fruit.
But while it may straddle those three classifications, the watermelon bread is undeniably tasty. In contrast to its attention-grabbing looks, the flavor is on the mild side, providing refreshing sweetness without overloading your flavor receptors or making you feel bloated.
And while it’s delicious as-is, the Suika Pan gets even better when you toast it. We popped a slice in the toaster, and as it heated, the soothing aroma of watermelon come wafting out of the kitchen appliance. You’ll want to use a light setting to keep the chocolate intact, but make sure to toast the slice long enough so that the “seeds” get moist and melty. That will also give you a nice crisp outer layer, but leave the center layer soft and chewy.
At 2,592 yen (US$23), the Suika Pan’s price falls somewhere between that of standard and square watermelons. It feels more special than the former, though, and it’s arguably an even better conversation piece than the latter, though, and if you’re looking to enjoy a culinary crossover for yourself, or simply can’t get enough of watermelon-flavored goodies, orders can be placed right here.
[ Read in Japanese ]
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[ Read in Japanese ]