Romania Country Bread – Richmond, BC


Romania Country Bread
3680 Moncton St
Steveston Village
Richmond BC
(604) 304-0170

I have a certain fascination for places that sell only one thing. You see this type of operation more often in other places in the world – Ramen-ya in Japan, Food stalls in South East Asia, Cheese, Yougurt, Sausage, and Ham makers all over Europe, etc. This type of specialization is quite rare here in North America where we value convenience when we shop for food.

bread01

Romania Country Bread is an extreme anomaly when you consider that this place is located in Richmond BC where strip malls, supermarkets and other types of convenience shopping abound. Romania Country Bread sells only one thing….their hearty Whole Wheat Loaf. (Well…they sell two things if you count a half-size version of this loaf.)

Nicolai, the baker, used to operate Transylvania Bakery on Broadway in the west side of Vancouver prior to moving his operation here a number of years ago. He bakes his bread in a magnificent woodfired oven that occupies nearly half the space. He lists his occupations as “baker” and “mason”…implying that he builds his brick ovens – an ideal combination of skills considering the end product. But Nicolai is also an anachronism: woodfired ovens are becoming exceedingly rare as city officials are now reluctant permit their construction due to fire-safety and air-quality concerns.

oven

Nicolai’s bread is made from organic, stone ground whole wheat. The dough is then slowly risen using a natural sourdough leavening: strains of wild yeast, lactic acid bacteria and other such microscopic beasties. This ecosystem thriving in the dough will ultimately impart a complex, sour tang to the finished bread. The texture also changes as the dough ferments – the crumb becomes  glossy, open (with large, unevenly sized bubbles) and chewy. The crust turns crispy (but not hard) and mahogany in colour under a layer of white flour as it caramelizes in the oven’s intense and even heat. The final aroma is a pleasant maltiness – a result of the complex biochemistry of this entire process.

shop

The final loaf weighs in at $11 dollars. Is it worth $11? I personally think it is (one loaf lasts me about three days).  As an avid baker myself, I know how much work and experience it takes to bake bread this good. No compromises or shortcuts were taken in the making of this bread. Nicolai does provide samples in his shop…have a taste before you decide to part with your money.

Romania Country Bread on Urbanspoon

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13 thoughts on “Romania Country Bread – Richmond, BC

  1. Wow – that looks fantastic. Good bread is definitely very hard to bake.
    $11 is a hefty price, but then again, better that than $5 for a mediocre loaf.

    Does he bake every day? And does he sell out by a certain time?

  2. I started baking bread almost religiously a few years back, and can really appreciate the work put it. While I agree that the price tag might be hefty, I find with artisanal items the market tends to sort itself out. Right?

  3. @foodosopher – He he bakes nearly daily (I think he skips the early weekdays).

    @raidar – Yes it does…he has been at it for many years now, so he does have a loyal market.

  4. I can recall strolling by this place not too long ago in the summer. A man was outside aggressively trying to draw passers-by in, but does not look like the fellow in your image. Sounded interesting, but I was on my way out of Steveston so didn’t pop inside. The outer facing of the building sure looked interesting though!

  5. I’ve walked by it but had plans for the next few days so didn’t think buying it at that time was the best choice. You mentioned the bread lasted for 3 days, after the first day, was it still “fresh” or was it hard and dry?

  6. It will still be fresh the next couple of days. Sourdoughs tend to stay fresh and edible much longer than regular bread (unless you count preservative, sugar, and fat -laced supermarket bread). The resultant chemistry in the bread acts as a preservative ( eg. the lactic acid and acetic acids that result from the fermentation).

    Cut the bread cleanly and wrap it in the paper bag it came in with the cut side down on the cutting board. You can also freeze it.

    Make sure you have cheese (or your favourite companion to bread) to go along with it!

  7. Being the baker I guess is my duty to say a few things.First I wanna say to the folks which apreciate the bread and understand the entire procedure of obtaining this bread ,work and price.Second to the folks which are in doubt or think that is over priced I want them to know that 5$ per lb (10 $ per 2 lb artisan bread ) is what even mass production ask for.So I do not see what is the problem.To obtain a batch of brick oven .wood fired, baked bread requires 24 hours .The mass production has reached the speed of 200 breds per minute.Thinking that prices per weight are allmost the same ,,What does not make you happy?

    • Hi Nick,

      Thanks for the comparison. I don’t think there is a problem – but $11 for bread is more money than people usually spend – i think it’s only natural to wonder about the price until people have gotten a chance to try the bread. Gastro, who wrote the original article, clearly believes it is a fair price because of the quality of your product. Im looking forward to trying it soon. Anyway, thanks for dropping by!

    • Hello Nick!

      Nice of you to drop by.

      If you plug in the numbers, $11 for a loaf is definitely a fair price for your bread.

  8. Pingback: Stevetson, Richmond : Steve and Don's Life of Gorgeousness

  9. Romania Country Bread.
    The price for a bread loaf written on the wall is $10.
    The person working there tells you that after 5 pm they always sell it at half the price ($5). When you go back after few days after 5 pm to get the deal, he tells you that “today is $10 because it is sunny, if you don’t like it go to Safeway!”. He is quite arrogant about it and he sells at the price he feel likes to whom he feels like, and plays games. When the bread goes on sale, it should be officially posted on the wall to replace the regular $10. That is a proper business practice for anyone in business.

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