(pictured: Co-owner Todd Laidlaw)

July is the time for sipping whites on patios and tasting reds on wine tours with friends. But after a glass or two, many of us get the urge to nibble on a fresh slice of rye or bite into a chewy baguette. Why not satisfy this craving with a stop at True Grain Bread?
True Grain Bread is one Vancouver Island’s greatest gifts to the Okanagan. The bakery’s flagship store is located in Cowichan Bay. In 2012, co-owner Todd Laidlaw opened a second location on Summerland’s Main Street, bringing with him his European style breads and baked goods – much to the delight of hungry foodies, families and flour connoisseurs.

Laidlaw fondly refers to shopping at his bakery as an unparalleled bread experience. Here’s why: when you enter, its warm and welcoming – a perfect place to meet for coffee or stop for a snack between wineries. Then there’s the aroma of delicious breads – many made with locally grown, organic heritage and ancient grains including Emmer, Spelt, Khorasan, Rye and Red Fife. You’ll likely hear the hum of a slicer or the traditional Austrian stone mill working away. Finally, feast your eyes on the thoughtful display of French croissants, almond croissants, pain-au-chocolat, cinnamon swirls and German pretzels.
“It’s not just about the final product. We want to share with customers the kinds of grains we’re using, how we’re using them and where they’re coming from. Not a lot of bakeries focus on ancient grains,” says Laidlaw. “When people hear our story – they understand how truly unique we are. Bread is the heart of what we do.”

Laidlaw says just like learning about how wine is made, people want to know more about the bread they’re eating. “Most bakeries order flour made in a big factory not really understanding how old it is. At True Grain, I’m milling organic flour today that the bakers will use tonight. The flour is most nutrient-rich when it’s just been ground.”

A visit to True Grain Bread really is an educational experience, and an ideal complement to your wine adventures this season. You won’t leave hungry or empty-handed. Now to find some local cheese and meats…

~ Erin Trainer