Wildwood is the niche bakery from an ex-El Bulli chef wowing Preston and Thornbury

Published on 7 December 2021

Photo: Wildwood Bakery's glorious duck pie.

Its delivery footprint might be small, but this is one mighty bakery.

Wait, did somebody say duck pie delivered to your doorstep? Just when you thought Thornbury and Preston couldn’t get, you know, any more Thornbury and Preston, along comes a bakery so niche, it bakes for subscribers, only covers two suburbs, and delivers just once a week, on Saturday mornings.

If that sounds so niche that it borders on the precious, rest assured that it’s more about keeping it manageable in a work/life/kids sense for founders Toby Lee and Anna Topalidou than being sniffily exclusive. Oh, and the goods are really something. Maybe not quite enough to have you thinking about moving address, but definitely the kind of special that will get you dropping unsubtle hints to any friends you have who call the 3071 or 3072 postcodes home.

There’s the duck pie, of course, an airy, buttery dream of a thing that really should wait for lunch but is very easy to eat for breakfast. Then there’s the crumpets – sourdough, to be precise, and as ready to be slathered with smoked fish and crème fraîche with Champagne or cocktails as they are buttered for breakfast. Every single sweet pastry is a gem, and the bread (a sourdough subscription no less, made with heritage grain) is a long way from an afterthought.

The selection at Wildwood is drawn from Lee’s background doing the chef thing at the high-flying likes of El Bulli in Spain, and from Topalidou’s time working front-of-house at a bevy of leading Melbourne restaurants. "So it kind of ends up being a combination of the contemporary and the classical," she says.

"And you know, what's popular, and what do people love to eat?"            

Lee’s caramel, sticky apple and peanut Danish, meanwhile, one of the best-liked items on the sweet side, comes from further back still. “It's something that I kind of took from my childhood, from yum cha, actually, believe it or not,” he says. “A little dessert, like a little Chinese mochi thing.”

During the pandemic, creating Wildwood helped the couple connect with their community. 

"All of the normal connections had been cut off,” says Topalidou. “We felt like it helped us maintain a community and create friendships during this time.” 

The pair are also committed to sustainability and are conscious of their environmental footprint. 

"Things like packaging, we've taken a lot of time to make sure everything's recyclable. Everything's compostable. Even the stickers are compostable. We don't do like one off, we don't do single-use paper bags, we sort of have an option of using a tote or leaving a box out."


By Tyler Wright

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