Special black cat-version also joins bakery’s awesomely adorable lineup.

Last spring, the geniuses at Japan’s Blue Jean bakery realized that there’s no reason a loaf of bread has to be the standard square shape. If anything, they realized, bread should be cat-shaped, because not only would it taste just as good, it’d be adorable too.

And so was born Ironeko Bread (neko being the Japanese word for “cat”). A huge hit when it went on sale at Blue Jean’s location in the lobby of the Hotel New Hankyu Osaka, Ironeko Bread is yet another example of the prevalent attitude in Japan that food should appeal to the eyes as well as the taste buds. Now Ironeko Bread is set to conform to one more expectation of Japanese foodies: a steady rollout of new flavors!

Going on sale next month is the Ironeko Bread +, which adds matcha green tea, chestnuts, and sweet red beans to the dough before baking for an enticing, and beautiful-looking, mix of sweet and bitter flavors. The new matcha kitty version can be enjoyed as-is, but Blue Jean also recommends lightly toasting it and spreading a pat of butter for a warming, mouth-watering treat.

Also joining the Ironeko Bread family in December is the Ironeko Brad Black, made with bamboo charcoal (the same ingredient that gives Japan’s famous black hamburgers their color). Unlike the unadorned matcha and plain versions, the Ironeko Bread Black comes decorated with white chocolate eyes, nose, whiskers, and smile.

Both new cat breads go on sale December 1, with the matcha flavor priced at 550 yen (US$4.90) and the black cat at 350 yen for a bag of five slices. They’re likely to be as phenomenally popular as the original Ironeko Bread, and since Blue Jean doesn’t take reservations for pre-orders, you’ll want to show up early, just like we did when we visited the bakry to get some cat bread for ourselves.

Bakery information
Blue Jean / ブルージン
Located inside Hotel New Hankyu Osaka / 大阪新阪急ホテル
Address: Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Kita-ku, Shibata 1-1-35
Open 8 a.m.-10 p.m.

Sources: @Press, Hotel New Hankyu Osaka
Images: @Press
[ Read in Japanese ]

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s totally onboard with any and all matcha baked goods.

[ Read in Japanese ]