Most bakeries are wonderful. What’s not to love? Some bakeries are exceptionally wonderful: a couple of landmark places in Paris come to mind, with gorgeous cases full of prissy, divine little poufs of sugary delight. And then there is my personal favorite: Companion Bakeshop, 2341 Mission Street, on the North end of Santa Cruz, CA. Not prissy. Not sugary. Only one glass case. Kind of straightforward and no-nonsense. But oh, my, for those of us who love real, freshly baked sourdough bread, this is the place. They use several different kinds of locally sourced organic grains, and their loaves of semolina, walnut, or seeded sourdough bread are the stuff foodie dreams are made of.
We stopped in this morning for a little fortification, and loved watching the loaves being readied for the wood-fired ovens.
They use wheat from Pie Ranch, here in Pescadero, which is grown from heritage seed the folks at Pie Ranch had to look all over the place to find: if you follow the news at all, you know that most commercially grown wheat grown today bears no resemblance to the wheat that was grown on your grandma’s farm. It’s a different critter, and not in a good way. Pie Ranch had to import a special hand-made wooden mill for the wheat, too, which is a work of art in itself, just so people like the Companion Bakeshop folks could make real bread out of real wheat. Worth the effort? For the answer to that, you just have to taste.
And then, as if that weren’t enough, they make special teacakes, scones and croissants, quiche and brownies out of that fabulous flour and real butter from actual cows and eggs from extremely happy, well-adjusted chickens. Plus, of course, the kind of one-cup-at-a-time coffees and teas worthy of baked goods like these.
We love it that there are still people in the world who think a perfect loaf of sourdough bread or an apricot ginger scone are worth doing with absolute devotion, patience and persnicketyness. Check out their website: #CompanionBakeshop.com, and don’t miss a chance to sniff it for yourself if you’re in Santa Cruz.
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