The Community of Food

Have you eaten anything lately which left you speechless? You know the feeling where you just want to take a moment in silence and really absorb what you are eating.

I love the fact that this happened to me a couple of weeks ago while eating a simple slice of bread. Let me explain:

Intending to make a panzanella salad with the last of the summer tomatoes from my Meuse farm weekly veggie box, to which I conveniently added a sourdough loaf.

Now, before I continue a few disclaimers here, I don’t really like sourdough, I totally get it, but I much prefer a ciabatta. Since moving to SA, I have not found a local bakery which makes me want to write home about.

Back to the bread, I knew the moment I held the Mount Elsewhere Bakery loaf in my hands that it is rather special. It is heavy, in fact after baking, each loaf weights a whopping 900g.

In the looks department, this is a very handsome loaf, the beautiful & unique individual botanical inspired scoring ensures that not one loaf is the same. Now for the ‘cut appeal’, ooh how I love the sounds of a bread knife crushing its way through the loaf, each slice is marbled with a generous scattering of almonds and seeds and I love the wholewheat colour.

But of course it is all about the taste, it’s good, it tastes rich, kinda caramel’y’ with a slight tang and a fabulous chew. I love the texture of the nuts and seeds.

Not knowing anything about the bakery other than the name and a telephone number, I felt compelled to congratulate whoever baked this, so I called and the phone was answered by Adri (my name nemesis) the absolute star baker!

When I heard that Adri is a self-taught baker I knew I just had to hear her story. I popped over to Hout Bay to meet Adri and her baking apprentice husband Deon, in their little home bakery deeply nestled in the Hout Bay mountains.

Here is Adri’s story:

Adri and Deon are foodies and their home is filled with cookbooks and cooking trinkets and I sensed that many fabulous meals have been shared around their dining table.

Adri’s sourdough journey started 2 years ago when she became intrigued by the process of baking her own bread, and soon she was baking not only for her family but friends around the neighbourhood too. She sees bread making as a lifelong learning commitment the true nature of an artisan.

When Covid struck Adri lost her full time job and she decided to use her passion for baking as a way to generate an income.

With one aim in mind, her passion for nourishing the community with her delicious and healthy sourdough is evident. She speaks often about community and by delivering every loaf by hand she can deepen the connection between her loaves and the people who bought them.

While her loaves are lovingly made using only four ingredients, salt, yeast, flour and water, lots of care is taken over each ingredient. Her starter (yeast part) is 3 years old and she uses a combination of stoneground wholewheat, wheat and rye flour (all Eureka Mills) to which she adds spring water to make her dough.

A combination of seeds including home roasted almonds which she fetches in Piketsberg and roasts, are added to the dough, the dough is left to rest ensuring a full flavour, Adri reminds me that every bubble in the in the bread is a pocket of flavour, she also bakes an equally delicious 100% rye loaf. The loaves are baked each morning for delivery the same day and sometimes this might mean a 3am start.

“Adri believes that food is part of our culture and identity and what better way to instil this by breaking bread together”.

Food connects us to each other and its brings us together as a community and I truly believe that food is the golden thread that ties us together.

In a world where food shopping has become increasingly depersonalised and our connection with ‘where our food comes from’ is fading fast, I encourage you to start buying and cooking differently and you too can start to see how your relationship with the food you eat and the people who create or grow it, will be much more real and much more personal.

Needless to say the sourdough never made it into a salad but rather we savoured each morsel as it was eaten fresh, then toasted and finally the last slice was nestled into a soup bowl to soften, bliss.

To order your loaf:

Ordering is via Whatsapp and Adri can be contacted on 082 784 2661 delivery is as follows:

Tuesdays: CBD shops @nudefoods and @local or in your @meuse veggie box
Wednesdays: Delivery City Bowl
Thursdays: Noordhoek & Vishoek
Fridays: Houtbay & Constantia