Bakeries we love in honour of GBBO
Bake Off is back on TV so time to drag out the food mixer. Can't be bothered? No, quite right. Here are some brilliant bakeries to satiate your pastry cravings instead.
Would it be weird to admit that every June, I turn to my husband and say something along the lines of, “Oooooh, only three months until Bake Off starts!” Probably. But there, I’ve just done it. GBBO is – by far – my favourite show on TV and the televisual equivalent of an open fire and hearty bowl of stew on a freezing February day. It warms the cockles, so it does. Anyway, I don’t know about you but now it’s back on the box, I’ve got a hankering for pastries and cakes with ‘a good crumb’. Here’s Muddy’s pick of the best bakeries in Bucks & Oxon.
Quince and Clover, Great Tew
In March this year, on the doorstep of Soho Farmhouse, the former Great Tew post office and village shop was being transformed into an artisan bakery and cafe. Then lockdown hit. Down but not out, the team behind Quince and Clover swiftly set up a takeaway and delivery service and the tiny bakery has thrived. Expect breakfast pastries (but get there quick), homemade cakes, savoury tarts, cookies and Cotswold Crunch loaves.
The Bakery by Knife and Fork, Oxford
Are you gluten intolerant and of the mind gluten-free bread tastes like pap? Well, so was owner of Knife and Fork home restaurant and award-winning chef Tanya Young until she started experimenting and creating gluten-free bread recipes that deliver on both texture and taste. The Bakery now delivers UK-wide and offers gluten-free cakes, brownies and granola as well as standard and more elaborate (cinnamon, orange and sultana, for eg) bread loaves.
The Orange Bakery, Watlington
Father and daughter bakers, Alex and Kitty Tait, deliver exemplary sourdough everyday along with other specialist loaves flavoured with such delights as miso and sesame, walnut and even Marmite. Pastries – including to-die-for cinnamon rolls – grace the shelves in the morning. For lunch, how about a wild garlic and chorizo swirls followed by a rhubarb bun? Tip: Get there quick to avoid disappointment.
If you are a regular at food markets in Aylesbury Vale, chances are you’ve already snaffled some of Zanni’s baked goods out of a paper bag, while still trying to look glamorous despite icing sugar covering half your face. They’re regular fixtures on the market scene in Marlow, Haddenham, Little Gaddesdon, Winslow, Tring and of course, Aylesbury. We’re big fans of their Chelsea Buns.
Rex Bakery – Little Chalfont, Bucks
These guys are serious about their bread. Multiple award-winners, the team hand make their loaves on site with quality ingredients, specialised know-how and a no-rush attitude. The results are pretty special, which is why they often sell out before their 2.30pm closing time. Fancy a pastry? Their almond croissants are normally demolished by 9am.
Darmon Deli, Amersham
New kid on the block Darmon Deli offers worldwide cuisine with a French twist – and you know what that means… *sounds patisserie klaxon*. This week they’ve got fig and pistachio tart on the menu along with large raspberry macarons. Dreamy. Plus, they offer takeaway and sit-in options although walking anywhere with that much cream and fruit in hand has got children’s TV pratfall over it.
Woodstock Artisan Bakery, Stony Stratford, MK
For an old fashioned bakery with the sort of charm you remember from your childhood, you could do a lot worse than turning up here. Expect traybakes, brownies, eccles cakes, flapjacks and tiny treats for the children such as gingerbread men. Speciality breads are produced for the weekend and traditional and continental breads line the shelves otherwise. Carby heaven.