Lindsay and I have spent many Saturday Mornings at the Farmers Markets in Vancouver, and Purebread is definitely one of the highlights—sometimes we even reconsidered heading to the market if we discovered they weren’t going to be there. We always arrived, immediately joined the long line for Purebread, and began our excited chatter about which treats and loaves of bread we’d choose.
Purebread is a bakery based in Whistler, BC and it’s a shop we’ve always wanted to visit. Setting out on FEAST seemed like the perfect excuse, and upon arriving in Whistler we discovered they’d opened a new shop in the Olympic Plaza just three weeks earlier. We made our way past a skateboard demo and excitedly entered Purebread’s beautiful new shop. We were pleased to arrive and see that the store’s aesthetic made us feel just as though we were at their market stall.
Paula and Mark Lamming are the owners of Purebread and we were able to speak with Mark the day we visited the bakery. Neither he nor Paula have a background in bread or pastry, and Purebread developed out of personal interest and hobby baking. Mark explained it was the alchemy of taking just a few basic things—potato, flour, yeast, and water—and turning them into something amazing that initially inspired them to bake bread.
In 2007, they started supplying Nonna Pia’s Gourmet Balsamic Reductions with loaves to use for sampling, and found that customers were asking just as many questions about the bread as they were the vinegars. They started baking for various farmers markets using the ovens at a local high school. Their continued success led them to open up a bakery in Function Junction in May 2010, which later became a bakeshop in December of that year. With the new shop in Olympic village, Mark and Paula now employ a total of 51 people.
Purebread produces 22 different breads in total as well as a number of innovative sweet and savoury treats. Mark explained that part of their philosophy of food is not to compete directly with others. For example, instead of claiming to have the best chocolate chip cookie, they simply strive to have the only cookie in a particular style, such as sour cherry and chocolate. Purebread makes everything from scratch, using a wide variety of organic grains, and they aim to create unique and interesting flavour profiles. Mark described Paula as the flavour master; she successfully pairs interesting combinations in just the right proportions. Some of Purebread’s winning combos include cranberry-ginger, lavender-earl grey, blueberry-white chocolate, and lemon-basil-blueberry.
Purebread bakes 7 days per week in both their locations. Additionally, they bake for an average of 4 markets per week, with Mark and Paula personally attending as many of these markets as possible. What these people have been able to accomplish in just six years is utterly impressive.
Over the past few months, we have tried over a dozen of their breads and baked goods, and there isn’t a single thing we haven’t loved. On this particular day, we tried the sour-cherry buckwheat scone, cheddar jalapeno scone, lemon chevre brownie, their ‘outrageous’ brownie, and a savoury pie with broccoli and cheese. Their truffle-like brownies are the close to the best we’ve ever tried, and we rolled out of there quite satisfied.
Big thanks to Riverside Resort for generously putting us up in our of their cabins during our time in Whistler!
A song by Vancouver's Wake Owl to celebrate this Wild Country: