Wheat cultivation was encouraged by Horace Capron, who was invited from America to assist with Hokkaido's development. Bread was introduced to the diet in 1871. Flour mills were established in Sapporo. Starting from seed that was imported and cultivated, wheat growing expanded. Sapporo was a main production area. Ishikari, which includes Sapporo, and Sorachi were other main production areas. Sapporo spring wheat, a hard wheat suitable for bread, was produced in large amounts. In the 1920's, however, the main locations for wheat production shifted to Kitami and Tokachi, where land for wheat cultivation was being expanded. Also, Sapporo spring wheat mostly disappeared. Wheat cultivation came to attract attention again in the 1990's, when the spring-sown Haruyutaka variety became a success because of united efforts in Ebetsu.
Ear emergence and blooming of Haruyutaka
Haruyutaka debuted in 1985. It has good flavor and is ideal for bread and ramen noodles. Production was very limited, however, due to the difficulty of cultivating the variety. The harvesting time of early August was quite rainy, which caused problems. It was the city of Ebetsu that noticed the situation surrounding the production of Haruyutaka. Although Haruyutaka was originally sown in spring, repeated trial and error resulted in technology that allowed cultivation by sowing around November, just before snow covers the ground. The technology made it possible to extend the growth period and to harvest the wheat when there was little rain. Success came in 1992.
A field of Haruyutaka in early December, after sowing.
Wheat producers, businesses and universities in Ebetsu united to form the Society of Ebetsu Wheat, which lead to reliable harvests of wheat. Then Ebetsu Wheat Noodles debuted. They're made from 100% local wheat, including Haruyutaka, Horoshirikomugi and other varieties. The noodles have a novel texture and a rich flavor. They can be tasted in lots of dishes at restaurants around town. Ebetsu has come to be known as "the village of wheat".
Ebetsu Kanboshi (winter-dried) Wheat Noodles, Miso Flavor (168 yen per serving) is a popular product of Kikusui, the producer of Ebetsu Wheat Noodles.
The cultivation of wheat extended beyond Ebetsu. Only two wheat varieties are grown in Ishikari: the spring-sown Haruyokoi, which was developed from the Haruyutaka variety, and the autumn-sown Kitahonami. Great effort has gone into developing noodles and other local delicacies. Examples are the Ishikari burger, and Ishikari noodles with a "salmon sauce" broth. The Haruyutaka, Kitahonami and Yumechikara varieties are produced in Tobetsu. The wheat is popular and the varieties are used singly or in combination in soba noodles, pizza and pasta at small, homey restaurants in town.
Source: Sapporo Bunko
Famous for original dishes using Ebetsu Wheat Noodles. Ebetsu Wheat Noodles with a thick white sauce of nonfat milk and Ebetsu champon, which won a second-tier cooking competition, are much talked about. (Upper photo: Tamakasu stew (840 yen) uses Ebetsu Wheat Noodles and the lees of local saké. A dish made of local ingredients and eaten locally.
A unique blend of wheat flour, mainly of local Haruyutaka, is used. The udon noodles have a springy texture. The superb stock uses no chemical seasonings. (Upper photo: The rich stock of Heartily Topped Udon Noodles (780 yen) is sure to satisfy your appetite.)
Taste soba noodles made from wheat and soba flour produced in Tobetsu. Pizza made from a blend of Yumechikara and Kitahonami can also be enjoyed. A "vegetable sommelier," certified by a private association to make vegetable recommendations, is always on hand at the restaurant. Seasonal local vegetables are used in abundance.
(Upper photo: The "soup curry" set, which consists of additive-free handmade soba made from soba and wheat flour produced in Tobetsu, simmered SPF pork produced by Asano Farm and "soup curry." 1,550 yen.
The ingredients for the curry are produced in Tobetsu and simmered thoroughly with 20-some-odd spices and herbs. )
(Lower photo: Tobetsu Fureai Pizza (980 yen). The dough is made from a blend of Yumechikara and Kitahonami produced in Tobetsu.)
Below we introduce various dishes of Ebetsu, Ishikari and Tobetsu that are made from wheat produced in each town.
Sourdough breads are displayed. The wheat is 100% Haruyutaka. Kita-no-Renga Pan ("Northern brick-shaped bread") is named after Ebetsu,which is also known as "a city of brick." The bread is a major product of this shop.
Kita-no-Renga Pan is made from two doughs: a brown-sugar dough inside and a rye dough outside, coated with miller's bran. Enjoy their different flavors.
The Ishikari burger is a specialty of this café. The ingredients are produced in Ishikari. The bun is made from spring-sown wheat of the Haruyokoi variety, produced in Ishikari. Handmade karinto sweets of the Ishikarin brand (315 yen) have been introduced. They use Ishikari Salmon Sauce and Kitahonami wheat from Ishikari.
In addition to the Ishikari burger, you can also enjoy the loco moco burger (600 yen).
Both of the restaurants mainly offer pasta and pizza. The wheat is of the Haruyutaka variety, produced in Tobetsu. The vegetables are also from Tobetsu, when available.
Eat here! Kamihikoki Tobetsu Café
Springy raw pasta is served with the sauce of the day. The sauce features seasonal ingredients. The dish is served from 17:00 at the Sapporo branch.