Baking is a labour of love, especially when the ovens are the beating heart of a boutique business where small-batches of breads, pastries cakes and other treats are crafted with care and made from the best ingredients.
A few days ago, French President Emmanuel Macron made headlines after joining bakers in their call for French Baguette to be given UNESCO “intangible heritage” status. Neapolitan pizza received such honour last December. Closer to home, the humble Waterford Blaa enjoys Protected Geographical Indication status from the European Union. The point being, the art of baking is worth safeguarding.
Luckily for us, the number and quality of artisan bakeries in Ireland is on the rise. From traditional Irish to francophile boulangeries, from artists that craft show-stopping cakes to inventive operations offering great products with a difference, the options when it comes to baked goods have come a long way from white or brown.
Below, some of Ireland’s best boutique bakeries. Don’t call them baked goods, there are baked awesomes.
Husband and wife team Rory and Laura Gannon returned home to the Marble City after learning the secrets of authentic French patisserie in prestigious kitchens across France and London. They make unique, beautiful cakes that are as aesthetically pleasing as they’re tasty. They use unusual flavours and classic techniques to create exciting desserts. They also have a range of artisan breads, and in their inviting Kilkenny shop, you’ll also find light lunches and great coffee.
More information: cakefacepastry.com
Kelly Ging opened her boutique cake business in 2012, in a corner of her family’s hardward store. She specialises in bespoke cakes for weddings and other celebrations, but thanks to the popularity of his bakes, she also offers portions, cupcakes, macarons and other sweet goodies in her two Kelly Lou Cafes in Portlaoise. She bakes everything from scratch sources Irish ingredients as much as possible for her creations.
More information: kellylou.com
This award-winning, innovative and high-end bakery was founded in 2012 by Linda Johnson. You can find her beautiful cupcakes and treats at the Saturday Food Market in Tullamore or order directly. Linda is also a dexterous sugar artist, so her novelty and wedding cakes offer both style and substance. Among her ingrediensts of choice, you’ll find authentic Madagascan vanilla and Belgian chocolate.
More information: vanillabeanbakery.ie/about-us/
At Firehouse Bakery, they take their bread seriously. No additives nor preservatives are part of these handmade loafs, made with extended proofing times to ensure more flavour and the perfect texture. Their sourdough is the real deal and all their breads and sweet treats follow the same ethos. The bakery, which also offers pizzas and an unforgettable bread making course in their bread school in West Cork, was founded by Patrick Ryan and Laura Moore.
More information: thefirehouse.ie
One of Ireland’s best wedding cake artisan business, Cove Cake Design was founded in 2013 by Suzanne Brady. A scientist with a PhD in biochemistry, Suzanne discovered her passion for baking and contemporary cake design and went on to study her new trade. She works closely with each client to offer something truly unique and her stunning creations have graced the pages of numerous wedding magazines in Ireland and abroad. She also offers private classes for those wishing to learn her delicate technique.
More information: covecakedesign.ie
What begun as a very popular pizza truck in Greystones is now a lively bakery, café and pizzeria on Clanbrassil Street. Their brioche is outstanding and their freshly baked croissants are some of the best in town. They also bake crusty, spongy sourdough and gorgeous madeleines. To sweeten the deal (as if we needed!) they also brew great coffee.
More information: facebook.com/GaillotGrayP
A Dublin institution, this bakery has been in business since 1870. While they now produce from a larger facility on Harold’s Cross, their original site in Portobello remains open, and in there you’ll find an inviting coffee shop and bakery. They bake a variety of breads both Irish and from different parts of Europe, including sourdough, granary loaf, Italian Tortano crown, and French style Pain de Campagne, just to name a few. While they’re relatively big, they still manage to retain the great quality and artisan values that set them apart.
More information: bretzel.ie
This multi award-winning bakery and school was founded by sourdough pioneer Joe Fitzmaurice and Julie Lockett. Located in Cloughjordan Eco-Village, they focus on producing breads without any industrial additive of chemical, exclusively using organic flours and natural ingredients. Their courses will give you the secrets to making real sourdough with no shortcuts and are suitable to different levels of expertise, including beginners. They also sale organic flours and baking equipment.
More information: riotrye.ie
This small artisan bakery in Raheny quickly became a favourite in its area since it opened in 2015. Founded by retired accountant Simon May, it focuses in organic bread with no additives, made from scratch the traditional way. Their sourdough and baguette are award-winning and besides a wide range of breads, they also produce delicious pastries and sweet treats and cakes.
More information: facebook.com/breadnaturally.ie
This Francophile bakery and patisserie is the place to go for mouth-watering croissants, the freshest cream treats, enviable choux pastries and colourful fruit desserts. They also bake artisan breads, which you’ll find fresh every morning including, of course, traditional French baguettes!
More information: facebook.com
This prestigious organic bakery is the brainchild of Frenchman and self-described “bread purist” Thibault Peigne. His range of breads is made with stone ground organic flour, water and sea salt, and in some cases, a little yeast. While they’ve managed to become a wholesale producer, their breads are still held to artisan values, free of additives and allowed a long period of time to slowly develop flavours and texture.
More information: tartine.ie
This bakery is located in the Dingle Peninsula and produces a range of traditional Irish and European breads from scratch, finished by hand and baked in stone-floored deck ovens. You can find their creations in several local restaurants, or at the Tralee and Dingle Farmers Markets. For those with a sweet tooth, they’ve also bake a small but tasty selection of confectionery.
More information: bacus.ie
This artisan bakery is run by Moray Bresnihan and named after American 20th century feminist Rose Schneiderman. All their loaves are naturally leavened and hand shaped. They bake a range sourdoughs and other breads such as ciabatta, focaccia and spelt baguettes. Find them at their stall in the Coal Quay market every Saturday from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm.
More information: breadandroses.ie
This charming artisan bakery and Irish language café in the heart of Galway’s Gaeltacht offers pastries, cakes and breads baked in-store daily. Among their speciality breads you’ll find baguette, red pepper cumin loaf, olive focaccia, cinnamon buns, treacle bread, sourdough rye and brioche.
More information: builinblasta.com
This microbakery specialises in 100% organic sourdough breads. They work with heritage English flour from Shipton mill and produce breads free of any commercial yeast, soda and any other chemical or additive. Find them at Rathcormack market every Saturday.
Moe information: facebook.com/sligosourdoughbakery
The tradition of the Waterford Blaa can be traced back to Medieval times and the bread is the only Irish baked good that enjoys Protected Geographical Indication status in the EU. Hickey’s bakery sells homemade blaas both soft and crusty, and they’ve been in business since 1958. Run by Ryan Hickey, 3rd generation of the family, they supply several retailers in the areas of Waterford, New Ross and Kilkenny, but if you can enjoy them freshly baked at their own premises, don’t miss the chance to do so!
More information: hickeysbakery.ie
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.