Humble toast, a true essential of the English diet, is experiencing an artisanal foodie makeover on both sides of the Atlantic.
Amalgamating current food trends for heritage foods, real bread and a shift in focus to the honest and simple, the artisanal-toast food trend started creating a scene for itself in San Francisco, specifically, at the on-trend stripped-back The Mill bakery, with Acre Coffee and The Red Door helping the cause, gourmet informants say.
For $3.50 at The Mill you can munch on Dark Mountain Rye toast with cream cheese, salt and fresh ground pepper, Country toast with homemade Nutella or some Seeded Sesame toast with butter and house-made peach jam. There have been both outcries of shamefulness at pimping out such a basic, communal food to new pretentious standards, and heavy praise for these creative takes on simplicity. Proprieter Josey Baker told Bon Appétit that ‘I just wanted to create a way for people to eat my bread without committing to a whole loaf.’
And here in London, we are certainly not lacking. E5 Bakehouse, an East-London artisan bakery and coffee shop, has been championing local and globally inspired artisan loaves and toast since 2011, with their Hackney Wild, a white and wholemeal pain de campagne style bread, British spelt loaf and Rugbrøt, a Danish dark rye, to name a few.
The Modern Pantry have a toast and preserves offering similar to The Mill’s, with toasted sourdough with berry and liquorice or gooseberry and vanilla jams, kumquat marmalade, Manuka honey or Marmite, selling at £3.50, while Burnt Toast Café in Brixton Market provide guests with their own toaster for the table and bottomless preserves and peanut butter.
The trend has also turned to the toastie – that irresistible oozing mix of lightly charred bread, melted cheese, hot meat, or whatever you fancy. Earlier this summer, Indian restaurant Cinnamon Soho announced that it was creating a summer toastie menu, including the Kadhai Spiced Crab with crab, tomatoes and tamarind and the Keema Gotala, with lamb mince and scrambled egg.
But Cinnamon Soho aren’t the only ones getting creative with this simple comfort food; Bristol’s Pickle food truck, Manchester’s Volta and London’s Deeney’s are all jumping on the toastie train, helping to create a food trend that’s truly unifying and accessible.