There really is nothing better than being passionate about one’s job. Apart from keeping you inspired it inspires everyone else as well! Having spent half an hour talking to David Nelson about his recently opened organic bakery in Barcelona I feel full of life! Oh and full of bread as I‘ve just eaten some of the most delicious wholegrain spelt loaf I’ve ever tasted! BarcelonaReykjavik is as far as I know the first fully dedicated organic bakery in town and it has arrived not a minute too soon. It is the creation of David Nelson (Barcelona) and his partner Gudrún Margrét (Reykjavik) who met whilst studying industrial design at Barcelona’s Massana art school. Alongside working as a carpenter and a sculptor, respectively, the pair have spent the last three years researching organic and biodynamic bread making with the aim of bringing new ways of baking to the Barcelona masses. Last week they achieved that when they opened the doors of their beautiful bakery to the public.The inspiration behind downing tools and taking up kneading dough was because of Gudrún’s wheat intolerance and their frustration with never being able to find alternatives in Barcelona. The bakers here have never heard of spelt and if they say the bread is Rye then it’s surely mixed with wheat too. All the bread is made with organic flour that comes from the Albacete region of Spain. This bread is definitely part of the slow food movement – where time and effort are paramount. The bread takes a full 24 hours to makes from start to finish. They make their own raising agents, rather than using yeast from a packet; one interesting one uses dried peas and gram flour. They use the biodynamic method of fermentation which David explains helps bring out the lactic acids in the dough and therefore making the bread easier to digest. They have been speaking to bakers all over the world, from Spain to Iceland and Denmark to Ireland in order to learn all the different ways bread can be made.
Everything that David and Gudrún have learned about bread making they want to pass on to others. No one employed in the bakery is a baker; everyone who comes to work there will start from scratch with out any preconceived ideas of what bread should be. David says everyone will be, on rotation, making bread and serving behind the counter so that they really understand the product they are selling. David's enthusiasm for what he is doing is catching, he is particularly excited about the new gluten free bread he is trying to make using a corn based raising agent, but the product is really what is going to have the loaves flying off the shelves. The smell when you walk into the bakery is intoxicatingly delicious and it's not the smell that supermarkets pump into the air so it’s smells like fresh bread – this really is fresh bread! As David tells me their primary concern is to produce the best bread they can make. The fact that it is organic according to him is because that’s the best ingredient he can find. He says for him ‘good’ and ‘organic’ are one and the same thing. We’d have to agree. When I explain that TreeHugger’s mission is to reinterpret eco-design and sustainability as something cool, accessible and mainstream David's eyes light up and he said, "Yes that’s just what I am trying to do here in my organic bakery" :: BarcelonaReykjavik, 12 c/Doctor Dou, Barcelona.