I have eliminated bread from my diet since the beginning of this year. Not because of being gluten intolerant as am not a sufferer (that I am aware of yet) but simply because have felt better with it not in my day-to-day diet, and it’s been an interesting exercise coming up with bread substitutes particularly at breakfast and lunch times. The conclusion, without a doubt is that it is possible to live without bread. My vigilance towards this cause was most recently tested in Europe, as this is the home of the most unsurpassed best baked bread available on the planet. Everywhere you go they are staring you in the face, on every street corner and the aromas to match of the highest standard, those crusty, freshly baked baguettes. Every meal you order in every restaurant, arrives with a lovely little cloth satchel full of fresh, warm bread. For the first few days of my visit in Switzerland I tried to ignore this and pretended like they just weren’t there at all as I didn’t want to offend the European waiters by asking them to take them off the table please and testing my will power. It didn’t last long, I soon fell for the indulgence and the experience was nothing short of divine. I consumed bread everyday in Europe from that moment as it was impossible not to. Mind you I still ate small indulgent amounts (not devouring the entire baguette) savouring every mouthful, dipped in local organic olive oil, no butter – I drew the line there.
Like all good travel adventures in life, they come to an end eventually and you must face reality, but the good news is there are always more on the horizon. Upon arrival back in Sydney from this European Music and Food adventure, I found myself craving freshly baked, sweet baguettes with equally sweet olive oil together. The olive oil was no problem, sourcing some from Adina Vineyard in the Hunter Valley. This vineyard is run by my parents and supports the biggest olive mill in the lower Hunter, processing most of the olives grown in this region, so they know what they are doing and without sounding too biased, the Adina Olive Oil is truly scrumptious.
Now, to find the bread to match and this is no easy task. Forget Coles ‘Baked Today Sold Today’ baguettes, but the fine print says made in Ireland? No thanks. Even Bakers Delight, as much as their products may delight some people, I just find it completely doughy and too sweet, the MacDonald’s of bread. My trusty IGA, with all of its market sourced delicacies available, the bread just didn’t excuse the pun, rise up to the occasion.
I did manage to find a small French bakery in the Greenwood plaza in North Sydney who were selling some wholemeal baguettes, which thought would give a go. Sprinkled them with a little water (a trick I learned in Bordeaux to freshen the bread up) before popping in the oven for five minutes. And, voila. Tore some pieces up, dunked them in the olive oil mixed with the dukkha (also from Adina) and just like that bread is back in my life. For now…