Bread and coffee lovers in Galway breathe a sigh of relief as Marmalade Bakery opens their doors.
Located on Middle Street in Galway city, Marmalade Bakery promises fresh, homemade pastries, organic breads, and a warm, welcoming environment that aims to be a social hub for the community. Its sleek, Scandinavian-inspired interior with a large glass window allowing customers to watch the entire baking process sets the scene for this friendly bakery. Owner Michelle Crehan-Kavanagh tells IF&CR how the business started.
“There was never a grand plan to set out and start a bakery business. I already had a café in Galway, and thought initially it would be a suitable expansion for that, but when I stood back and really thought more about it, I knew pursuing the bakery business was the right move.”
Michelle’s much-loved café and restaurant, The Kitchen, serves delicious, healthy food on the ground floor of Galway City Museum that combines the flavours inspired by Michelle’s travels with the very best local ingredients. It was also Michelle’s European travels that inspired her to open Marmalade.
“Whenever I travel I always gravitate towards the home-grown bakeries where locals get their daily essentials, and I wanted to create that here. So often neighbourhood bakeries act as social hubs for locals. We live in such a travel saturated society, that most people love having a place that they can call their own and feel at home in.
“I wanted to create a place where locals could come, get their daily bread and stand at the counter with a cup of coffee and catch up with a neighbour.”
Marmalade has two daily bakes to ensure that only the freshest loaves are on the shelves throughout the day. In addition to organic sourdoughs made with top quality local ingredients, the bakery serves a selection of freshly-baked pastries, a convenient ‘grab-on-the-go’ takeaway breakfast and lunch offering, and freshly-roasted Red Eye coffee.
“We have a seeded sourdough which always sells really well, alongside our plain white sourdough which is also very popular. Our rye sourdough is also really popular amongst customers with sensitive stomachs.
“Our best seller by far is our cinnamon buns. There’s almost a punch up at the door every morning of people wanting to buy them! Our sausage rolls are also big sellers, and we use locally sourced meat with a special pastry made with crème cheese to give them a special edge. We never put additives or preservatives in any of our products, that’s really important to us.”
Over the last few years, there have been various changes in the Irish baking industry. For Michelle, the fact that many consumers are choosing to go ‘back to basics’ is a great sign.
“A lot of the products that big, industrial bakeries produce are starting to have negative effects on people’s digestive systems, and often the bread is not being fermented properly. With homemade sourdough, the customer can be sure that the bread has been fermented right, and it is generally much healthier for you. I think more consumers are starting to wake up to that, and I think many of us are going back to basics in the baking industry.
“I think there is a growing trend with people going back to basics with their food sourcing too, and choosing to get their goods from their local butcher or baker. Doing so also creates a real sense of community that you simply can’t get in the same way with big businesses and multiples.
“One of our biggest challenges at the moment is social media. We have to stay on top of it and be very active, making sure we are always optimising opportunities to use it to promote the business and stay ahead of competition. The advertising potential that you can now get through social media platforms and word of mouth is amazing.
“When Marmalade first opened, I thought it would just be the one. But as time continues and we experience more and more success with it, I can see the business expanding in the future. I always want to stay true to our roots, and be proud of where we’ve come from.”