By Akira Matsuo
In the center of Matsumoto, Nagano, just a few minutes walk from Matsumoto Castle, is Laboratorio Cafe & Shop. Laboratorio is in an old brick building with the shop on the first floor and cafe on the second. Inside the shop, there are wooden baskets carefully woven as if made from straw, as well as minimalist wooden bowls and plates, all handcrafted by the owner of Laboratorio. You will also find ceramic Japanese bowls, cups, and teapots, and even organic made clothing in the shop.
On the second floor is Laboratorio Cafe with high ceilings, large wooden casement windows, plastered white walls, and old wooden floors from days bygone. The specialty at Laboratorio Cafe is the English muffins, baked right at the cafe with domestic flour. The lunch special is offered until two o’clock, and comes with an English muffin, vegetable and bean soup, a fresh green salad, a vegetable side dish, and a small dessert. The English muffins come in three choices; ham and cheese for a classic sandwich, butter and honey for a simple taste, and camembert for a rich flavor. Each English muffin is topped with a surprising sweet flavor of pink pepper. The soup is chocked full of seasonal vegetables and beans, seasoned with a delicious mouthwatering aroma that fills the cafe. The summer 2015 menu offered a soda jelly dessert with fresh kiwi, blueberries, and mint that popped in your mouth with every spoonful.
The bright, sunny cafe offers a tranquil space for people to open their favorite novel to escape, or for creative minds to work at their leisure. Laboratorio also has a bookshelf filled with design magazines and books from around the globe. It’s the perfect place to grab a stimulant of hand dripped coffee or calm yourself with one of their herbal teas.
Adjoined to the cafe on the second floor is a smaller shop with more affordable prices. Here you can find ceramic ware such as Japanese teapots and Japanese teacups, minimalist designed glasses and cups, wooden spoons, forks, and knives, woven baskets and hats, and more handcrafted items to stock your kitchen.
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