This summer, we had the joy of visiting Niseko, Hokkaido – for a taste of the Japanese countryside. While this town is bustling with activities and skiers from all over the world during winter months, it transitions into a sleepy village in spring and summer. Nonetheless, its landscapes are covered by acres of breathtaking farmland beauty, making it a worthwhile journey.
Niseko consists of many family-owned, quaint small-scale restaurants. Amongst the many choices however, Milk Kobo was by far our favorite and most memorable. Situated on a dairy ranch, the complex includes a restaurant, bakery, café and a farmer’s market.
Although visitors cannot come in contact with their cows and other farm animals, we are able to sample various dairy treats made from that day’s fresh morning milk. It was well past lunchtime, so we decided to skip their restaurant for the day and head straight to the bakery for their infamous pastries and cakes.
The range of freshly made refreshments is not large, but everything is of superior quality. It is difficult to put an authentic Hokkaido cheese tart into words – you would have to eat it to believe it! However, for now, we can tell you that its savory, creamy lava-like cheese filling perfectly compliments its crisp tart shell. Few baked desserts can come close to what the Milk Kobo tarts offer.
Other delicious treats include cream puffs, mini soufflés, traditional Japanese cheesecakes and egg pudding. Their cream puffs are highly recommended – light, airy puffs filled with rich milky crème. The soufflés are also notable treats, which can be best described as fluffy cakes with a cream filling.
Last of all, do not forget to taste Milk Kobo’s wide range of homemade ice cream flavors! For a mere 300 yen, you can select two different flavors, served on a crunchy cone. We opted for two very traditional flavors – Hokkaido milk and Japanese matcha. Unlike the gelato ice cream usually served in the West, Milk Kobo’s ice cream had a light, yet more organic taste.