The bread is back
When Grana Bread stopped baking a couple of months ago, Rhonda Black said she “gasped and thought, ‘This cannot be.'”So Black, majority owner and operator of Catherine Store just east of Carbondale and a hard-core fan of Grana Bread’s products, did something about it.On Monday, Black confirmed that she has bought Grana’s baking equipment and starting Sept. 1 will lease the space in the Basalt Design Center that was the heart of Grana Bread, which closed this summer, disappointing fans of the artisanal bread.She also obtained Grana’s recipes and has hired its former longtime baker.Black declined to reveal the purchase price of the equipment and said she plans to resume baking the company’s highly prized bread and sell it from Catherine Store and perhaps wholesale to other outlets.What she did not buy was the name, which will stay with the smaller, still-operating store that Grana Bread opened in Carbondale earlier this year.Grana Bread co-owner Fiona Smollen said Monday that the Carbondale store will remain open, selling a small amount baked in a “tiny bread oven” on the premises, as well as the popular pastries and sandwiches that have become popular lunch fare for the downtown crowd.”We just want to do a few good things for a few good people and not try to make the whole world happy,” Smollen said. She said her husband, John, will continue working at the Carbondale store in the summers and teach skiing in the winters. She said she has turned over her bread and pastry recipes to Black to ensure the quality of the bread can be maintained.And as part of the deal, Black has brought in Grana’s longtime baker, Bario del Piccolo, and made him an equal partner with Black and her other partner, businessman Janpieter Scheerder of Basalt, in the new Catherine Foods corporation. Dario del Piccolo will oversee the kitchen operations, Black said.Black said purchasing the baking equipment and taking over the bakery space in the Design Center is part of a plan to expand the offerings at Catherine Store.”We are very committed to doing ‘artisanal’ food here in the Roaring Fork Valley,” she said. Ultimately she hopes to sell specialty cheeses, meats, breads and other prepared foods out of the store.But, she noted, “the [Catherine Store’s] old concrete block building is very confining.” The bakery space in the Design Center gives her the use of a commercial kitchen, something she has wanted to create in the old store but hasn’t been able to.Before the baking resumes, she said, the kitchen space will be cleaned and new equipment will be installed. She said she is not sure when the ovens will once again produce the food known since biblical times as the “staff of life.”Black said she has yet to think of a new name for the bakery and kitchen, and may hold a contest to see what the public can come up with.John Colson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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