Within a few days of arriving in Bristol I found this gem of a place, my local bakers, The East Bristol Bakery.
The East Bristol Bakery is a PALL – Plastic A Lot Less – paradise. There is barely any plastic in sight. They lovingly wrap each loaf in soft paper. (Which, is great to use after to wrap the compost, rather than using a plastic bag.)
Although it´s an amazing place to shop PALL, that´s not the main reason I keep going back. The main reason is the bread is bloody delicious! I´m getting a bit addicted to the baguette….
When I pop in to get a loaf, I also get a glimpse of what they´re up to due to the open kitchen. Depending what time of day, I see different stages of baking. Which in itself is interesting.
I´m in and out in minutes – if I need to be. People talk of convenience of big shops, which I don´t get. There is nothing more convenient than popping in here! They´re even open till 7pm so it´s easy to pop in on the way home from work if you work 9-5.
As well as a wide range of traditional breads, they also make a range of tasty cakes.
In fact, they just won Bristol Good Food Awards – best local cakes!
The cakes they put into a paper bag. They don´t have large plastics bags either. So it´s a case of bring your own bag, or carry the bread in your hands. We managed for years this way, it´s refreshing to see, we still can!
They also stock local free range eggs, I can take the boxes back and they´ll re-use them (when I remember…) and locally made jams. As well as flour, in case you fancy a spot of baking at home.
I went along with my camera and to ask a few questions. I wanted to know whether the lack of single use plastic is a conscious decision, and how they find not using it.
They explained, it´s obvious to not use plastic for fresh bread.
Condensation is the enemy of crust.
They are thinking about the quality of the bread they make, and making sure it stays as fresh as possible for their customers. Not finding the cheapest packaging.
We aren’t sure if plastics bags would be cheaper, but to us it just doesn’t make sense even if it is. It isn’t good for the bread or the environment.
One bread they do sell in plastic bags though is the Rye bread. They explained, “Rye has a longer shelf life, and actually improves with age. So we allow it to totally cool before bagging it (no condensations issues), and the plastic bags give them a little home to live.”
I´m no bread expert, I wonder if it could have another home to live rather than a single use plastic bag? I just stick to buying the other loafs, there´s plenty of other choice, but I suppose not if you couldn´t eat wheat… You could always ask them to take the bread out the bag and give it back, in the hope they´ll re-use it. But still, only one product in plastic. That´s quite incredible!
They accepted the Bristol Pound from day one, over 3 years ago. Yes, Bristol has it´s own currency! This is the kind of independent thinking people in Bristol are. It basically means, when people spend their Bristol Pounds here, The East Bristol Bakery in turn need to shop somewhere that accepts the Bristol Pound. Keeping the money in the local community, and local independent businesses. Amazing hey!
The East Bristol Bakery spend quite a lot of their Bristol Pounds at Essential Trading. Which is where they buy everything other than flour, and is just up the road!
As well as a dedicated team, they´re a friendly bunch of people. Which baffles me seeing as they´re at work at 4am. Ouch! That´s a bakers life.
I found out this week just how dedicated. When Alex started the bakery in 2012 he literally worked around the clock for months to get it up and going. Polly, the co-owner was originally a solicitor, but hated the office life so became a baker! One lad moved to Bristol from Reading especially to work here. The other lad found out about the bakery while finishing his travels in New Zealand, and Leonie, decided she wanted to work here while traveling in the Amazon Rain Forrest!
This team of people are dedicated bakers. They are all here for the love of bread, and you can feel that when you visit.
This is something I´ve noticed since I started to PALL. I appreciate things in a way I might not have before. I don´t just run in a shop and pick up a loaf of bland “air” bread. I visit a bakers, or in Portugal the Farmers Markets. And as a result, I get to know the people making it, I make the connection. and I eat much tastier, healthier bread!
Obviously the reason I´m blogging about The East Bristol Bakery is I can shop PALL here – Plastic A Lot Less. But don´t go for this reason, this is just a happy by-product of this local artisan bakery. Go to experience both the place, and their wares!
Remember, every refusal adds up!
All photography by and copyright of Cassar Photogrpahy
Find more information on East Bristol Bakery here.
and more information on the Bristol Pound here.