Milk Village is an ice cream parlour that is strictly for adults only (don't worry, this article is safe for work).
Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido is known for its dairy products. The cool temperatures and a flat lands make it perfect for raising cattle and processing milk. Because of this, Hokkaido ice cream is regarded as the best in Japan being creamier and richer than any other type.
It is unfortunate that the best ice cream should be made in the coldest of places. Whilst ice cream sales are sky high in the summer, they plummet during the winter. But one ice cream parlor has found a way that you can eat your ice cream and warm yourself up at the same time.
Before we talk about the ice cream of Milk Village we need to mention the décor. Just from the entrance this is obviously a different kind of shop to Baskin-Robbins. The door is decorated with handmade wooden signs and decorations. It looks very unstable and out of place, especially considering the stark department store it is located in, but it really captures the feel of the place.
The wait to get in can be long. The parlor is so popular that there is regularly a queue that goes out into the stairwell. This might seem inconvenient but they seat someone every few minutes so the line does move quite quickly. It’s also totally worth the wait.
The inside is just as odd as the door on the outside. There is not a lot of space and it is actually very warm compared to the streets of Sapporo so you might need some of their ice cream just to cool off. That being said, the cosy parlor has a kind of magic to it. They can fit a lot of people in and still have it feel private due to the subdued lighting and economical seating arrangement.
The parlor's signature dish is a large, and I do mean large, cup of ice cream and a selection of liqueurs that come in tiny glasses. The way you are supposed to eat it is by taking a large spoonful of the ice cream along with a tiny measuring spoonful of liqueur and then pour it on top. Finally eat your spoonful of ice cream topped with liqueur.
You can choose a selection of liqueurs. There are 100 different flavors ranging from mint to citrus fruits. Every spoonful has a different flavor and allows you to sample a range of different tastes from just one cup of ice cream, though you are entitled to a refill.
The owner of the ice cream parlor, Mr. Iwamura, had the idea for adult only ice cream when he returned to Japan after studying at a patisserie in France. He wanted to create an ice cream infused with orange liqueur but after trying various different types of mixtures and flavors decided that he couldn’t pick a favorite and that whole experience of finding the perfect combination of liqueur and ice cream was so interesting that he wanted other people to experience it too.
When you order the ice cream liqueur set, it comes with a few small extras as well. You receive a deliciously rich yoghurt pudding, a crepe, and a small cup of adzuki beans. You are encouraged to add these to the ice cream in the same way as the liqueur and put ice cream inside the crepe.
At the end of the meal you also get adorable biscuits in the shape of an animal. Everyone’s is different as they are all handmade, but they have pigs, cats, koalas and more.
You can find Milk Village on the sixth floor of the New North Star Building, in Susukino. This is the entertainment district of Sapporo and is also home to various bars, clubs and restaurants. The building itself is pretty drab and you could even miss it if you are not careful. Make sure to take the elevator up to the sixth floor and to look for the iconic signs on the door if you are unsure.
Ice cream and liqueur is a combination that might not sound too appealing to some, but they really do work together. Because you can choose your own flavors you get to tailor the dessert to your tastes. You can make it as sweet or as alcoholic as you like. If you are in Sapporo it is definitely worth a try.
Milk Village is nothing if not a unique experience.