Supplier Focus

Bath’s Artisans Old & New: Sweet Farewells
Bath’s Artisans Old & New: Sweet Farewells 1024 1024 mike@savouringbath.com

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 an 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 the last part (3 of 3) I’ve looked at 4 of Bath’s culinary artisans to whom we’ve said goodbye since the beginning of 2020…

Click the tabs to discover more about each of our culinary friends!

Beyond the Kale

Beyond the Kale in Green Park Station built their business alongside the success of their outlet at Chapel Arts. The offering was entirely plant based with a really lovely range of both sweet & savoury food & drink. It was a great stop during our tours where visitors were wowed by their colourful and tasty range of juices.

Beyond the Kale closed in December 2019 with an apparent intention of reopening in early 2020. Sadly this never transpired. There was always a lovely buzz in here and we miss them much.

Thankfully we do still have various other vegan outlets in the city. The fabulous Green Rocket Cafe at the opposite side of town is a lovely visit for any vegan and vegetarian needs!

Click here to read more about The Green Rocket

Phat Yaks

This is not such a sad story! Phat Yaks was the fledgling business of a younger member of the Gurung family who are well known in Bath. Things went pretty well to start with as they shared their amazing menu of street food here. This complimented their well established restaurant, Yak Yeti Yak in Manvers Street.

They developed a loyal following, but bigger opportunities came up on the festival circuit. So what was Phat Yaks has now become a mobile business serving great Nepalese style street food. Now known as Khana you can catch them at markets, festivals and events around the country. Phat Yaks former unit in Kingsmead Square is now a Lebanese street food outlet which opened in November.

There’s good news for all lovers of Nepalese cuisine in Bath however! That’s because Phat Yaks parent outlet remains hugely popular and isn’t going anywhere. Yak Yeti Yak is a well loved, slightly hidden, but well known secret in Bath!! It’s often listed in the top restaurants in the city. This stylish Nepalese restaurant has an amazing menu which is very reasonably priced. There’s a lovely family atmosphere, and it has a special place in the hearts of many Bathonians.

Click here to read more about Yak Yeti Yak

Comins Tea House

I think of all the outlets which have closed recently, this is the one many will miss the most. Laura & Luca (plus another Luca who was a silent partner) retailed luxury Italian food & drink here. It was special because it was mostly sourced directly from small producers across Italy.

They ran some wonderful supper clubs and events where we made lots of happy memories. They shared their passion for their products on so many visits, and Laura has remained a close friend to us. Luca returned to Italy to focus on his accommodation business but we’ve also kept in touch. We had a lot of good times with these guys at their old shop in George Street. It often brings a tear when I pass nowadays.

However, it looks like the premises may have a new occupant really soon. Watch this space!

Meanwhile, Avellinos continue IFH’s legacy slightly further from the city centre on Cleveland Place. They also have great range of Italian sourced food & drink products and have a loyal following in the city.

Click here to read more about Avellinos

The Cakery

There seems to be more than one person in Bath operating a bespoke cake business called Ella! The Ella in this case is a young entrepeneur who started her business with a stall in Green Park station. It eventually grew to become this friendly shop and cafe in Widcombe on the edge of the city centre. We used to visit with our tours on Saturdays for some of the best cake in Bath!

Sadly, it was not to be and after only a short time trading, Ella had to let go of her shop and cafe. There is another happy here ending though. Ella remains one of Bath’s culinary artisans as she is now back to making her signature cakes to order privately. The shop also got a new lease of life recently as the locally renowned Larkhall Butchers moved in and opened in November. They’ve brought another great offering to this much loved and less-visited part of the city.

You can still order Ella’s beautiful range of cakes online. She has an amazing selection including some surprisingly rich and tasty gluten-free, dairy-free & vegan options!

Click here to read more about Baked By Ella

Many of Bath’s culinary artisans have been affected by the effects of the last 12 months.  Many may still be adversely affected yet.  However, while we say fond farewells to so many, it’s always good to know that there are more to continue their legacy.  Bath is a melting pot of culinary entrepreneurs, making it an incredible place to live and visit.

Do patronise your local independent businesses wherever you are.  Supporting independent businesses through good times & bad, means people continue to innovate, always conjuring new ideas for us to enjoy!

Bath’s Artisans Old & New: Oldies But Goodies
Bath’s Artisans Old & New: Oldies But Goodies 1024 1024 mike@savouringbath.com

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!

Thoughtful Bakery

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
colonna small coffee
comins tea selection

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

Le Vignoble

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.

Bath Artisans Old & New: New Kids On The Block
Bath Artisans Old & New: New Kids On The Block 1024 1024 mike@savouringbath.com

Our city has a consistently changing landscape of businesses retailing and producing handcrafted food & drink.  Contrary to the trend in closures due to the pandemic, there are new Bath Artisans about to open.

For our Supplier Focus series, I’ve produced 3 blogs looking at a range of Bath Artisans.  There are 4 each of a selection those who’ve said goodbye, some well-established friends, and few new faces.  We’ll start with some of the most recent and upcoming additions to the city’s food & drink scene…

Click the tabs to discover more about each new culinary business!

Bath Artisans Bathzaar

Loqum: Bathzaar

Friendly couple Ahmet & Dijan, originally from Turkey, came to Bath via London. They bravely established their boutique in The Corridor in early November, retailing their selection of byzantine gifts and treats. The Corridor is an attraction in itself as it was Bath’s first shopping arcade in 1825.

Bathzaar serve a lovely Turkish tea and have also tapped into the rising interest in Turkish coffee. This is the most ancient way to serve coffee! You can hear the legend of the first cup of coffee on our Culinary Comforts tour.

Along with a friendly welcome, Bathzaar have a huge selection of beautifully photographable lokum/Turkish Delight, baklava, and near-Eastern inspired chocolates and gifts.

Click here to read more about Loqum: BathZaar

Nata & Co

This new outlet is set to open in the coming weeks and comes to Bath on their success in Cardiff. When I think of Portuguese, food one of the first things which comes to mind is Pastel (or pastéis) de Nata. These are custard/egg tarts, normally dusted with a little cinnamon.

Apparently, these sweet pastry bites arose from the 18th century Portuguese practice of starching nuns’ religious attire by using egg whites. This meant there were plenty of yolks leftover to make sweet pastries, which proliferated the baking trade. Can’t object to that!

Looking forward to seeing these and the rest of the range from Nata & Co when they open opposite the Victoria Art Gallery soon!

Thanks to @nataandco for the 📷

Click here to read more about Nata & Co
Bath Artisans pastel de nata
Bath Artisan Edgars

Edgars Foods

This is a new outlet coming to George Street. This is an area seeing considerably reduced occupancy at the moment so it’s great to see someone taking one of the nicest commercial units available.

Edgars Foods have a range of seafood products and high quality fishy treats plus a seemingly Italian-influenced range of luxury edible gifts. This is an exciting addition to the Bath culinary scene and especially welcome in this part of the city centre!

Click here to read more about Edgars Foods

Mjölk

If there’s anything I ever get really excited about, it’s often Swedish stuff! Mjölk (‘milk’) are in the process of moving into a former souvenir shop opposite the entrance to the Roman Baths. There’s no question these guys are going to be busy with tourists. But if the pics of their Skandinavian cakes are anything to go by, they’ll be popular with locals too!

I have a few vague, former connections to all things Swedish (boring story). I desperately miss Swedish culture and culinary customs so I reckon I might be here a lot. One of my favs which they’ve promised, are schokladbollar which we make at home fairly regularly. They’re made with chocolate, tons of butter, coffee, oats, rolled into balls and rolled in coconut… smaskigt! (‘yummy’).

Of all the new outlets set to open soon, I’m more excited about Mjölk than any other 😁

Thanks to @mjolk.cafe for the 📷

Click here to read more about Mjölk
Bath Artisans Mjolk
Bath’s artisans are a wonderfully diverse community of handcrafted food & drink producers…

We seem to generally have quite adventurous palettes here.  Though, of course, our visitor economy is particularly helpful in encouraging culinary diversity amongst Bath artisans!  Having new businesses regularly joining the melée is a wonderful way to keep us all on our toes.  It ensures there’s never a time when there’s nothing of interest in Bath’s culinary scene.  Even during tough times when our social lives are restricted.

Everyone seems to be trying out new ideas, innovating and developing.  Having new outlets to add to this pot, is one of the many aspects which I think makes our city so special.

Great places in Bath for great wine
Great places in Bath for great wine 1024 396 mike@savouringbath.com

As a city which was a major social destination in the 18th century, it’s hardly surprising that the trading of wine and its consumption has consistently been part of our culture for some time… in fact, the Romans first settled this area 2000 years ago and brought the idea of winemaking with them.  Our green & pleasant land today boasts far more wineries than it did then and Bath has continued to fulfil the needs of visitors & locals alike by ensuring there are some great venues offering interesting wines.  Here are just 4 of our favs!

Guilty Pleasures

Corkage

Known for his harsh reviews, food critic called Jay Rayner, visited Corkage and apparently said “if I lived in Bath, I would come here a lot!”… which I always feel really sums this place up. Especially since, I do live here and I do like to come here a lot, but for Jay Rayner to say that was a big deal for these guys, and yet their standards have never dropped so Corkage remains a great place to enjoy great wine and great food. Marty Grant (former acrobat… yes!…acrobat!… hear the story on our tour!) and executive chef Richard Knighting originally started their business by taking over the lease of a friends failing bottle shop and it’s gone from success to success ever since. There is a wine list but the original concept was that staff ask you a few questions about your wine preferences, then provide advice based on their extensive selection, and they’ll even consider what pairs well with the food you’re ordering. There’s a regularly changing selection of small plates (3 per person works well for dinner, at around ~£7-13 per plate) all based on high quality, regionally sourced, seasonal produce.

Click here to read more about Corkage

Novel Wines

Ben Franks and Gyorgy Zsiga began Novel Wines around the same time Savouring Bath came into being so we’ve remained relatively close as our respective businesses have grown. Novel Wines originally were an online business, but they now have a shop not far from the city centre, though they still offer privately booked tastings at centrally located venues, occasionally in conjunction with other culinary outlets who will pair their products with the wines. Novel even offer wine tastings at your own venue within the region e.g. for parties at your home, or for groups at your accommodation. Their concept is based on wines from unusual locations, or from grapes you might not be familiar with, once again, encouraging us to step out of our comfort zones. The knowledge of the team is vast, as they regularly connect with the growers in order to get the lowdown on what’s going on in the wine production world. Ben & Gyorgy have travelled the world to source their wines, and Gyorgy has especially focussed on east European wines. Ben can often be found in the media either talking about wine on TV or radio, or writing about exciting developments in the wine industry in the press and online. There are regular tasting events at their shop and if you’re in that area it’s definitely worth dropping by to say hi and see what’s going on!

Click here to read more about Novel Wines
wines tasting

Le Vignoble

These guys have adopted a really curious way of serving their wines which you won’t find elsewhere in Bath. 32 wines are served by the glass in machines which dispense to your glass in measures from 25ml upwards so you can sample lots of different wines for relatively little. Each machine is themed (colour, region, variety etc.) and is activated by a card which you can pick up from a member of staff. Started in Plymouth by French/English couple Yannick and Ele, Le Vignoble is part of a co-operative of wine merchants who are able to buy in bulk from small farmers to ensure sustainability and get access to wines which are not so run-of-the-mill. They also have a simple menu of small plates, mostly dominated by some lovely cheeses and cured meats. What we love about Le Vignoble is that is situated in a fairly hidden and particularly quiet area of Bath where you can regularly find a chilled out space to relax and enjoy some lovely vino and great service!

Click here to read more about Le Vignoble

Beckford Bottle Shop

This is one of the newest additions to Bath’s vinoteca offering but has been with us now since 2018 having taken over 2 units beside Bath’s Assembly Rooms, which were previously a vintage tea-room and antique shop. There’s some great food & drink knowledge here with a regularly changing menu of small plates and a huge selection of wine, but one of the reasons we love this place is because it’s the best place for Bath Chaps which have developed something of a local following! Join one of our tours to find out more or get in touch to be sure you book the tour which includes Chaps… they’re a piece of the city’s culinary heritage which is largely lost but being kept alive with simple but innovative changes made by the BBS team, to satisfy our modern palettes and make them a real treat! They’re downstairs space is normally only open on busy days but it’s a beautifully appointed space with original architectural features and a lovely relaxing atmosphere. All in all, BBS is definitely in our top 4 favs!

Click here to read more about Beckford Bottle Shop

Wherever you choose to head for wine in Bath, remember that we normally include a visit to one of our wine bar suppliers on all of our tours (except “Local Flavours”) with food included in your tour ticket, and the choice to purchase wine if you wish.  Each venue has their own special story to tell, great advice for pairing their lovely selection of wines, a unique range of small plates from which we’ll provide a sample, and wonderful spaces to chill out and reflect on your tour with us.  Join us soon for a culinary experience of Bath!