Stepping into the interior of Transilvania Peasant Bread is like stepping back two centuries in time. The rustic blond wood interior and almost empty shelves are reminiscent of a more idyllic time when the highlight of the day was a highly unlikely accident involving a rutting goat.
Remember those stories in which the evil king throws the prisoners into the dungeon with instructions that they be fed nothing but bread and water? Well, this is where that king goes shopping. Transilvania Peasant Bread sells nothing but bread and water. Only one kind of bread, and only one kind of water.
The bread is a traditional Romanian peasant bread, a dense whole wheat bread with a thick, hard crust. It’s the real deal; freshly baked in a hand-built wood-fired oven, in the traditional 2 kg full loaf and 1 kg half-loaf sizes. The loaves are stacked on the shelf on their ends, like particularly crunchy books.
Visiting this store is an educational experience. When you discover that the bread costs $10 for a loaf, and $5 for a half loaf, you understand why the peasants were in poverty (except, presumably, the ones that owned bread stores).
Enough with the talking and on with the eating. I ordered a half a loaf, which was placed on the counter with a solid clunk. I walked home comfortable in the knowledge that if I were to be mugged, I was ready for it – armed, as I were, with a house brick cunningly concealed in a plain brown paper bag. The bread would have been pretty dangerous too.
So what does a $5 half-loaf of bread taste like? Does it live up to the hype? Do angels sing as you take your first bite?
I had to find out. As soon as I got home, I whipped out a bread knife and began to saw hopefully at one end. Two minutes later I finally managed to hack off a piece. I think I need a new bread knife. I closed my eyes and took a cautious bite. There was no singing (thank goodness, it’s been getting annoying lately). The taste was like… well, you’re not going to believe this. It tasted like…
Brown bread. Yep. Plain ‘ol brown bread.
Location: 3474 West Broadway (West Broadway and Collingwood)
Photo courtesy of Roland.
Last modified: February 11, 2006