Local Lives 19

The slow baker
Photographs and story by Mark Lyndersay.

Zabouca Breads, the baking craft shop of Chris Marshall, has been operating in T&T for the last three years.
Marshall made the move to his location on Tragarete Road two years ago when the business clearly began to outgrow his home at Flagstaff.

“There was an accident early one morning with a customer,” he recalls, “another Easter again, and I realised I had to make a move and find a place.”
He’d begun his adventures in cooking while working as a mechanical engineer in the US, when his wife sent him off to a French culinary school.

“That was it,” he remembers. “Now, my wife and kids are in Grenada and I’m here, working.”
“Easter,” he repeats, shaking his head.
He’s at the bakery with new assistant Jamal Williams, a Hotel School student before dawn on the Thursday before the long Easter weekend and it’s becoming clear that their hot cross buns won’t meet demand even as they work on this third and final batch.

At least part of the reason is time.
“We don’t just put some water and flour and icing and push some buns out.”
What begins as flour and almost a dozen ingredients mixed and sprinkled and massaged together into an intricate sourdough mix eventually takes almost six hours to prepare.

Long after Zabouca opens its doors, customers appear, vaguely hopeful that their buns might be ready but already resigned to waiting.

On my way out the door, I take a tentative bite into the hot bun and it’s clear what the fuss is all about.
The bread may take long to prepare, but it’s worth waiting for. It’s rich and tasty with a hint of spiciness that demands a certain amount of relish with each chew.
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