Waiheke Island has lost the wonderful Ringawera Bakery. The last bake was Sunday, and like many islanders I now have a freezer full of Patrick Griffiths bread which is going to have to do me for some time. That’s it for now. After nearly 8 years, the quirky café and bakery much loved by locals and travellers lucky enough to happen upon it has closed its doors.
Patrick, a true artisan baker, threw in the towel after the towel caught fire – literally, last August. A fire in the bakery, caused by oily teatowels combusting though sunlight pouring in through glass, caused damage to the café, and although the bakery limped on, it’s spirit was dashed. Shame! The breads are some of the best I have eaten: lovely long slow ferments developed gorgeous tangy flavours in sourdoughs sporting crusty tops and open crumb, and sticky sweet textures in rye loaves, and there was Maori bread, poppyseed dusted sweet and soft honey loaf which toasted a treat, and reliable pide and ciabatta loaves and much more. Then there were the flaky croissants, the Easter hot cross buns studded with plump dried fruit, (not last year’s leftover dried stuff), and the award-winning lavash (Cuisine magazine artisan awards).
Patrick has lived on the island for 18 years, but his association is much deeper than that. His grandparents lived here and his parents are residents. He’s spent practically every summer of his life here. Onetangi beach is in his blood, and let’s hope the beach, his family and the island’s good will, will bring him back soon.
The island has been spoilt for choice with good breads as we also have Franco’s Bakery in Ostend (Franco’s ovens will be fired up furiously trying to absorb the trade), and smaller bakeries doing gluten-free and vegan loaves.