I went to the bakery today. Photos are delayed by circumstances within my control. It is looking good, open especially for today, and then opening for good in about 3 weeks. The transformation from when I last peered through the window was quite remarkable. Some expense has been incurred in the fitout, and it is a commercial looking enterprise, but it maintains a bit of the Convent’s otherworldliness to set it apart. It was thronged with Taste of Slow folk today, but it is going to be a good place to get breakfast on weekends, and should be placed firmly on the recreational cyclists’ list of coffee en route options. I bought some bread, heavy dense stuff which retained its just-out-of-the-oven heat for over an hour. Its success is critical to the financial viability of the Convent. There is ample outdoor seating with an aspect inferior to Lentil As Anything’s, but nevertheless pleasant, a front room with bread and sandwiches and pastries, and a back room which seems to concentrate on coffees. They’re That gives onto the bakery room, theatrically stocked with a large pile of firewood and a long wooden paddle used for getting the loaves out of what is obviously a very large oven. What I think they need to do is start delivering hot freshly baked weekend bread on a horse-drawn carriage (along with milk with cream up the top in glass bottles and croissants, and vegetables and beef bones chopped ready to be boiled into stock). Wait. I’m going to trademark that idea. I like the idea of recently arrived Sudanese migrants (that’s very Convent you see) setting down white milk in the grey of dawn.
This is what the brochure says:
“Nestled within the walls of the Convent Annexe or Kitchen Wing are 2 magnificent woodfired masonry ovens built in 1901 which were used by the sisters of Good Shepherd to bake all the food served at the convent.
The Convent Bakery will once again light the fire in these historic ovens to produce a wide range of old fashioned woodfired artisan breads and pastries using only certified organic flour.
The Cafe will serve traditional fare, rustic sandwiches and organic coffee while the Pastry Kitchen will create a daily array of cakes & tarts.
Come and see the team from Melba Coffee roast organic beans every weekend, enjoy the tranquillity and children friendly surroundings, a place where the city meets the country, discover the rare combination of heritage, history, culture and landscape that is the Abbotsford Convent.”