LaHave Bakery

We travel to Nova Scotia this week, continuing our summer culinary road trip. But before we get there, I wanted to share my personal road trip into town. My sojourn to pick up milk and bread, takes me through the little village of Baltimore (Ontario, not Maryland). In the heart of this sleepy hollow is an old mill that has been standing vacant for a long time. The outside looks pristine but I’m curious to see the inside – does it still have the bare bones of a beautiful vintage building? Check out these websites for the history behind Ball’s Mill.

My curiosity was inspired by reading LaHave Bakery: The Building, the Baker, and the Recipes that Revitalized a Community by Jane Morrigan and Susan Ivany. This is a heartwarming and inspirational book that chronicles the remarkable story of LaHave Bakery, a small enterprise in Nova Scotia (southwest of Halifax and just beyond Lunenburg) that has become a beloved community hub. This book is not just a collection of recipes; it’s a rich tapestry of history, personal anecdotes, and community spirit that showcases how food can bring people together and breathe new life into a community.

The book is beautifully structured, weaving together three main elements: the history of the building, the journey of the baker, and the recipes that have become synonymous with LaHave Bakery. Morrigan and Ivany do an excellent job of balancing these elements, ensuring that readers are equally engaged with the narrative and the culinary delights.

The history of the building is particularly fascinating. Originally a ship chandler in the 19th century, the building has seen various incarnations before becoming the bakery it is today. Morrigan and Ivany delve into the architectural details and the various transformations the building has undergone, highlighting the resilience and adaptability of this historic structure. The authors’ meticulous research and vivid descriptions make it easy for readers to imagine the building’s past lives and appreciate its current role as a bakery.

The personal story of the baker and local powerhouse, Gael Watson, is equally compelling. Watson’s passion for baking and her commitment to the community are evident on every page. Her journey from a home baker to the owner of a thriving bakery is filled with challenges, triumphs, and valuable lessons. Her dedication to using locally sourced ingredients and traditional baking methods not only results in delicious baked goods but also supports local farmers and fosters a sense of community. Her story is a testament to the power of perseverance and the impact that one person can have on a community.

The book includes a handful of recipes developed by Gael and used in the bakery. Each recipe is carefully curated and presented with clear instructions, making it accessible for bakers of all skill levels. From hearty breads to delectable pastries, the recipes reflect the bakery’s commitment to quality and tradition. The inclusion of personal anecdotes and tips from Watson adds a personal touch, making readers feel like they are part of the bakery’s extended family. We’ve provided you with Gael’s Cheddar Cheese & Herb Bread in our Recipe section. A hearty addition to any meal!

Complementing the book is the LaHave Bakery website: which serves as an excellent companion piece. It features stunning photographs that capture the charm of the bakery and the beauty of the surrounding area. This digital extension of the book allows readers to stay connected with the bakery and continue their culinary journey online. You can purchase a copy of the book at their website or enter to win this inspiring tale in our Giveaway section.

LaHave Bakery: The Building, the Baker, and the Recipes that Revitalized a Community is a delightful read that celebrates the power of food, community, and resilience. Morrigan and Ivany have created a book that is not only informative and engaging but also deeply inspiring. Whether you are a history buff, a baking enthusiast, or someone who appreciates stories of community spirit, this book is sure to resonate with you. The accompanying website enhances the experience, offering a virtual connection to this special place. Together, the book and the website provide a comprehensive and heartwarming look at LaHave Bakery and its role in revitalizing a community.

Contents and images used with permission by Nimbus Publishing. Copyright © 2024, Jane Morrigan and Susan Ivany.