Bath’s Artisans Old & New: Oldies But Goodies
Our city has a consistently changing landscape of independent businesses retailing and producing handcrafted food and drink. Bath’s culinary artisans have become an integral part of our city, helping define us and our culture. Contrary to the trend in closures due to the global pandemic, our city is already seeing a number of new culinary artisans entering the fray.
As part of our Supplier Focus series , I’ve produced 3 blogs taking a look at some of the businesses who’ve said goodbye, some well-established friends, and a few new faces. In part 2 I’ve picked just 4 of our favourite, much-loved, and-well established artisanal businesses in the city…
Click the tabs to discover more about each of our culinary friends!
Eco-baker Duncan Glendinning started retailing ‘real’ bread to the people of Bath from Green Park Station. He’s become one of Bath’s best known culinary artisans and now has a shop in Barton Street. There’s also a bakery school, and a café with plenty of morning coffee & cake, lunch, and afternoon treat options. Even pizza has made it on to the menu with rumours of the café opening in the evenings in the future!… is there no stopping this man!?
Sustainability is key at Thoughtful and like many businesses in Bath Duncan had to adapt quickly when lockdown first hit. He avoided redundancies, closure, and staff mostly continued working their regular hours. That’s some achievement under the circumstances!
Bath Buns, amazing sausage rolls, sandwiches and dreamy doughnuts have continued to wow us from the counter regardless of restrictions. And, if you’re in Bath, deliveries are still available. Apparently the delivery driver is especially pleasant… some guy in a flat cap apparently 😉Click here to read more about Thoughtful Bakery
Colonna & Small's
Another well-known and much respected of Bath’s culinary artisans is Maxwell Colonna Dashwood. Maxwell and his team have continued to wow not just Bathonians but visitors from all over the world. This is due to their impressive range of speciality coffees, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of coffee.
The menu of different coffee beans in their Chapel Row cafe, changes regularly (sometimes daily!). It serves to remind us that coffee can be more than a quick consumable to get us through the day. It can also be something to savour and explore.
The cafe and the retail selection are a showcase of the talents of the Colonna team and their extensive range of coffees. They do this by constantly innovating, showcasing, and developing. This all combines to gently encourage us to take a fresh look at a product no longer so taken for granted as it once was.
Colonna Coffee is one of the many exciting products we’re privileged to have in Bath. Maxwell and the whole team at Colonna & Small’s rank amongst our city’s great Food Heroes and we’re proud to share them on our tours.Click here to read more about Colonna & Small's
Comins Tea House
And to another product long taken for granted! While coffee has been around since the 9th century (retailed in the UK since C17th), and is now allegedly the 2nd most traded commodity in the world… but tea has a much more ancient story. There are many legends about the first cups of tea from around 5000 years ago.
At Comins tea house, stories like this are part of the daily offering. Not just stories about how tea first came about, but stories about individual teas and the farmers who grow and process them. By sharing these stories, Comins connect us with the people who start the journey of the leaf from the plant to our cup.
The special ingredients here are passion and attention to detail. No cup is brewed without these. The leaf has an almost hallowed status and it is the differences between each, which tea-lovers flock here for on their regular pilgrimages.
Now, I understand that sometimes you might just want a cup of tea… but here, less speed and less haste is encouraged! Comins make it easy to enjoy their fine quality teas by savouring the moment and taking our time.
‘Taking time for tea’ has become an ethos which is becoming more alien in our fast-paced and demanding world. The Comins team understand this and apply the brakes beautifully. Long may it continue!Click here to read more about Comins Tea House
Yannick & Ele are wine lovers… wine’s not hard to love right? For wine merchants to patronise small vineyards by direct purchasing can often be tough. High overheads and awkwardly high price tags don’t make it easy. So how do you solve that? Get a group of wine merchants together, buy in bulk from vineyards, split the purchase and stock between you. Win, win!
That’s what the Vindependents cooperative does of which Le Vignoble is part. It gives them access to a regularly changing exciting range of wines. And it gives us something different to enjoy on each visit.
They’ve also put together a serving format which suits this ever changing selection, providing opportunities for lots of wine exploration. Their self-service machines store the wine at the optimum temperature and serve by the glass from 25ml upwards. You get you a clear update on what you’re paying/spending each time you serve yourself. So it’s easy to take it easy here!
This is all accompanied by great service, amazing wine knowledge (if you want it), and the most lovely chilled & peaceful atmosphere. Plus, there’s a range of tasting boards and nibbles with well researched provenance. Bliss!
Thanks to @levignoblebath for the 📷Click here to read more about Le Vignoble
This is just a small selection of Bath’s culinary artisans who’ve really welcomed and encouraged our tours, and who we love to work with.
All of them encourage us to ask questions about what we’re consuming.
Is it sourced ethically?
Is it sustainable?
What are the health benefits?
How does it taste/texture?
These are questions which some of us now take for granted and consider with every mouthful. Although, until recent years, questions like these were the reserve of food & drink connoisseurs and aficionados.
I find it exciting that so many of us now care so much about our food and drink. So much so, that we ask questions like these more regularly than ever before. Provenance has become especially important to us. These questions are providing us with the opportunity to weigh the benefits and costs of how we sustain ourselves.
In our world of diminishing resources, carefully considering the answers to these questions, is more vital now than ever before.