So, as I’ve always liked doing, I decided to pick a destination for something foodie, and cycle there — only made that much more exciting because it was the inaugural ride for my As-Yet-Unnamed new bike.
Today’s expedition? A quest for Fry’s Red Wheat Bakery.
Included in this post are photos taken between Fry’s and my home of James Bay at the end of the night. All told, I cycled about 15 kilometres, which is an hour cycling at a leisurely pace.
Let me be clear: Fry’s Red Wheat Bakery is deserving of being a destination ride, okay, people? Let me tell you about this God of Breadmaking.
Byron Fry ain’t your ordinary craftsman baker. Byron is descended of bakers. He has doughy awesomeness in his blood. His family’s been baking small-batch breads since 1897 using Canada’s heritage red wheat. That’s right, 115 years of wholesome wheaty goodness.
I heard about Fry’s at the end of 2012, and it’s only now I’ve been able to get there, because it’s on a bike path and I needed to wait for the new bike before I could tackle destination cycling again.
My favourite “alone” days are spent doing just this — cycling to some neat place for a great ingredient, and plotting out the scenic route there and back. Like when I ride to Charelli’s Cheese Shop and the Whole Beast Artisan Salumerie in Oak Bay. It’s a good thing it’s a 20km round-trip because I EAT after that day of cycling, my friends. Sausages and cheese and bread, oh my. Bring me my wine, garcon!
So, needless to say, Fry’s was on my list for places to hit once I could start cycling for recreation again. Because: BREAD.
And what a great cycling destination, too.
No matter where you live in Victoria, it’s a great ride, because it’s just on the other side of Banfield Park, which is on the Vic West side of the Selkirk Trestle, what cycling fans of the wonderful Lochside & Galloping Goose Trails know takes you to the last stretch, the infamous Blue Bridge.
Just cut through Vic West side’s park after you cross the trestle (or before you can cross it, if you’re already on the Esquimalt side of the tracks) and just after you pass the playground, you’re at a little strip of shops where you can grab your bread at Fry’s and fetch a coffee next door. Here’s a handy link to a map of the bike route I took between James Bay & Fry’s Bakery in Vic West.
Fry’s use of red wheat gives a really nutty, hearty flavour to the bread, and it might not be for everyone, but I really like the rich, almost malty flavour his bread had with my salad earlier.
It’s chewy, and when you look at the inside of the bread, it’s loaded with bubbles and has that shine that only true aficionados know how hard it is to achieve. So much kneading! Beautifully constructed bread made by an obvious master.
My two “buns,” which were a cross between ciabatta and French bread, large enough for a generous sandwich, ran $1.25 each. They and my big 1.5-pound loaf of “rustic” bread came to $7.50. Considering how much the higher-end bread sells for at my neighbourhood store, the idea of paying maybe 15% extra for bread I know is from non-GMO wheat, grown organically, milled by hand, and baked by a master baker, who pumps money back into the local economy…
Well, the math adds up for me, so I’m happy to pay up and support yet another great crafts baker in this bread-loving city. Fry’s belongs in the pantheon of great Victoria bread bakeries, along with Wildfire Breads and Fol Epi.
Next time you’re looking for an excuse to spend a Saturday night watching movies, eating incredible bread, and drinking wine, it’s probably a good idea to justify the indulgence with a bike ride on Victoria’s great trails and ending up, purely by accident of course, at the fabulous Fry’s Red Wheat Bakery in Vic West.
Tell ‘em Steff sent you.