The part I most look forward to reading in cookbooks often aren’t the recipes themselves, but the introductory pages. Where the chef tells his or her story– how they started, their influences, how they opened their first restaurant/bakeries, their adversities, etc. etc. I’m just immensely interested in their life path(s), and how they ended up to where they are today.
So I have the same habit for restaurants and bakeries in my city. Before visiting for the first time, I try to read up on the owner/chef/pastry chef, and how their business got started… it makes the visit more meaningful, and sometimes you can see the goods they create as an expression and reflection of who they are.
I first “heard of” Purebread through Instagram (how else). It was a very attractive picture of their goods, not unlike the ones you see here. However, at the time, they were only located in Whistler, and I thought it was a shame that Vancouver didn’t have a bakery that offered such a wide assortment of baked goods, freely flowing out all over the counter tops.
After doing a little reading, it turns out that Purebread is a family business that sprouted from the simple wish (and need) for good bread. The Lemming family started to make their own bread and baked goods because it just wasn’t readily available for them. Their belief is that there shouldn’t be any additives or mystery ingredients– just good, pure ingredients.
They started selling their goods at their local Farmer’s market, and amassed a lot of support… today, they have three stores in Whistler and Vancouver.
I entered the bakery early Sunday morning, and my eyes must’ve bulged like a few centimeters out of my socket. A carb lover’s dream.
You plan on buying one thing, but I’m telling you now, with their brilliant layout, it’s impossible. I think a large part of the appeal is in their variety and presentation– it’s a rare find in Vancouver.
I think that’s the secret weapon– you can’t leave without buying at least a few different things.
If you can walk in and walk out with only one item…….. you have serious willpower.
The store layout, display, ceiling, decor is just dreamy. Clean, spacious, bright, with natural wood tones. Large windows that let the light in. The seating is good for pairs, and singles (in a non-lonely way, since they can sit by the windows).
After a few minutes of debate, I decided on the white chocolate raspberry scone, the vegan coconut banana bread (how could I not), drunken apple blondie (I was intrigued by exactly how drunk it was), and the crack bar (because I’ve always wanted to try crack pie but NY is too far for me).
The scone and loaf were $3.75 each, and I think the blondie and crack bar were $3.25 or 3.50 each. So not exactly cheap, but reasonable considering their location, quality and variety. I also tried their flat white, which I can’t comment on because I’m not a coffee expert. All I know is that the barista just gave up on latte art that morning.
The scone’s texture was textbook perfect, tender, not dry, but dry enough so that the icing was a perfect complement. I thought it was sweet at first (it was the first item I tried), but compared to the other goods, it was the least sweet. I wish the tartness of the raspberries came through a little more, but otherwise, I would definitely order it again.
The banana coconut loaf. What it lacked in flavor it delivered in texture. I was hoping for a bam-wham banana flavor, or a bam-wham coconut flavor, but it was quite… reserved. It didn’t really resemble a banana bread at all (it didn’t have the brown flecks either), so the banana was probably in there to add moisture. But what I did love was the texture– it had coconut threads running throughout, adding a lovely chewiness. The loaf was perfectly tender and moist, too. You really couldn’t tell it was vegan (I feel like this shouldn’t have to be a compliment, but it is. I mean, replacing eggs imperceptibly can be tricky).
The crack bar was very sweet– a dense bar with a butter-tart like filling and a chewy oat base. I discretely shook off some of the icing sugar before eating it, too. I preferred it the least out of the four, because it was just sweet and chewy (and gooey), with nothing else going on flavour-wise (I’m all for flavour).
The drunken apple blondie was denser than I expected, and I was slightly let down by the lack of apple cinnamon drunkenness. I think the icing was overly sweet and sort of stole the show.
So in short, what really impressed me was the variety, display, cleanliness and overall atmosphere, and the consistency in their goods. However, there wasn’t anything (out of the four I tried) that made me wonder how I would recreate it, or blew my mind from the way they made it.
It just tasted like good, solid home baking.
As it should.