A couple of months ago, a new baker’s opened in Ripon. Goodness, it was welcome. A baker’s shop as a baker’s shop ought to be.
Vanora and Andrew get up in the small hours, when all the world’s abed, to fashion and bake their loaves. The great pails of dough will already by then have been slowly proving and rising over a period of hours. This is sourdough, fermented from the natural yeasts present in the air we breathe, rather than using the commercially-available yeast usual in British breadmaking.
And oh – the bread it produces! A wonderfully chewy crust, and a loaf with a slightly sour, characterful taste. Riponians have taken this extra-special bread to their hearts, and ahead of opening time (only Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at present) an eager queue forms outside the door.
How this reminds me of our years in France. The first job of our day was to queue outside the baker’s for our morning bread, croissants or pains au chocolat. It was an unhurried task. We’d all stand cheerfully in line, catching up with neighbourhood gossip, swapping recipes: generally having a sociable time. And so it is outside Vanora’s. We meet old friends, make new ones, and once inside, are greeted by name by Vanora and Andrew as we take the time to chat to them too. This, we all agree, is shopping as it ought to be. Oh, and on Saturdays, Vanora makes croissants too. Don’t tell anyone in France, but …. these are the best croissants we’ve ever tasted. You could stock up on brownies, sausage rolls and pork pies too. These last two aren’t our thing, but I’m told they’re far and way the best in town. (Please note: I am not being paid by V&A for this shameless piece of advertising.)
This isn’t the only reason for my feelings of nostalgia though. Brought up in London as an Anglo-Polish girl, east-European-style sourdough loaves were as much a part of my life as baps, cottage loaves and wholemeal tins. Good memories.
This is an entry for Lens-Artists Challenge #75 – Nostalgic, despite the fact that I was limited to using my non-smart-smartphone to take my snapshots.