Purebread bakery opens permanent Vancouver location

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Classic bread.

Gluten-schmuten.

On Monday, Purebread bakery opened the doors to its much-anticipated Vancouver location at 159 West Hastings (at Cambie).

I first fell in love with Purebread last November. I was in Whistler for Cornucopia, and I got up early one morning and set out in search of breakfast and coffee. I stumbled upon Purebread, right across from the Olympic plaza.

The selection of pastry, bread, and baked goods was a little mind-boggling–but what a delicious dilemma! I ordered a nutella brioche and a flat white, and was pretty sure I’d died and gone to heaven.

Purebread is the success story of Paula and Mark, longtime Whistler residents, who set out to do a favour for a friend. One of Mark’s friends had developed a balsamic reduction, and the couple tasted it while out for dinner one night. They encouraged their friend to bottle it and sell it at the local Whistler farmer’s market. But he needed something to sample the vinegar on, so Paula offered to make bread. The balsamic reduction was a hit, and Paula was overwhelmed with requests to purchase her “sample” bread.

“We couldn’t get good bread in Whistler,” Paula says simply, as I interview the couple in their new sunny location on Hastings, just around the corner from Meat and Bread. Paula was a pretty astute home baker, and so she put the recipes she’d developed over the years to good use, and they started selling at the Farmer’s Market. Just bread at first, but Paula has one of those classic artistic personalities: she gets bored quickly, and was constantly creating new combinations.

They opened the space in Whistler Village to great success, but were dealt a difficult blow after being open just five months. While the couple was away on vacation, a fire broke out in the apartment upstairs from the bakery, and Paula and Mark were out of business, leading into Christmas, the busiest time of the year. They continued to sell out of the tiny space in front of their commercial kitchen in Function Junction, at Farmer’s Markets, and out of a pop-up in the Village.

Driving down Hastings one afternoon during a trip to Vancouver, Paula spotted the location they have just opened up, and they immediately knew it was “just right.”

Next week, they start work re-building the Whistler location.

Purebread celebrates the things that made you happy as a child, sitting down to a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies still hot from your grandmother’s oven, after school. These are recipes that are sweet, indulgent, and full of delicious, delicious carbs. They will make you immediately happy.

They have about 100 products, the most popular of which are on the menu all the time, but there are some 50 or so that rotate through. Favourites include the Buckwheat Sour Cherry Scone, any of the brownies, meringues as big as your head, and the aforementioned Nutella Brioche.

But, “we also love putting weird things together,” says Mark. “We like to play off of our customer’s curiosity.”

Those options include a brownie made with lemon and goat’s cheese, and a lavender Earl Grey scone.

“The farmers’ market is a great testing ground,” he confesses. “If it flies there, we’ll put it in the store.”

The farmers’ market is also an endless source of inspiration. The couple will often trade bread and baked goods with the farmers, and then last week’s apricots become next week’s scones.

While there are gluten-free and vegan choices, for the most part, Purebread is all about sentimentality and simplicity: time-honoured recipes that you may have found at your gramma’s house, but with today’s crazy lifestyle and schedule, you don’t have time to make on your own.

It’s nostalgia. Purebread is pure pleasure.

Purebread

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Rebecca Coleman Rebecca Coleman is a blogger, teacher and social media marketing strategist. She runs a recipe blog, Cooking By Laptop, and loves to experiment in the kitchen. She blogs at Vancity Buzz about restrictive diets. Connect with Rebecca on Twitter @rebeccacoleman..
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