Hidden behind a thick hedge of holly on the corner of the Gov (Government Hill to the uninitiated) and Broadway in Nakusp, Holly House Bakery has quietly undergone major changes in the last six months.
The house’s transformation into a bakery was within sight of recent history but the business changed hands more recently when Marise and Dana Giles took it over October 1 of last year.
Since then, the couple has been working hard developing new recipes and baking up a storm. Although not new to the art of bread, baking as a business is a new venture, Marise told the Arrow Lakes News.
“I baked at home,” she said, and has always enjoyed it, working with dough. Now both she and Dana are honing the craft, learning new recipes and techniques and bringing their results to the shelves of the homey bakery-coffee shop.
When they heard Honeybear Bakery was closing down and selling their equipment, the couple considered jumping into the baking biz. But they weren’t the only ones and Charles and Terry Maxfield snapped some up and opened up the Holly House Bakery.
But as fate would have it, Dana and Marise were given another chance when the Maxfields put the business up for sale. Thanks to some help from Community Futures, the duo decided to give it a go, and have been bringing French Canadian specialties to Nakusp ever since.
Did I mention they have tourtière, a French Canadian meat pie that changes from region to region but is generally fantastic? Yes, they do. Hailing from Lac St. Jean, Marise brought her mother’s recipe with her, a savoury mix of meats and spices baked in a delicious pastry crust.
There is more than tourtière to tempt your fancy: Napoleons and Coquilles Saint-Jacques are two more specialties you can find at Holly House these days, along with a variety of breads (cheese, white, whole wheat, cinnamon raisin, nine grain, herb, sourdough) produced through the week. Marise and Dana are open to suggestions and will fill orders too.
“The best cinnamon buns in town,” Elisabeth Dostaler, a regular at the cafe, volunteered from a nearby table.
The atmosphere of Holly House is intimate and cozy, and has an intriguing connection to the past. Built in 1923, the house incorporates some of the wood from the old Phoenix Hotel, and the dark boards give the cafe a distinguished and welcoming feel.
Tables in the front room offer a view of the garden, and you can get a latté to go with your wireless connection too. If you don’t have time for a sit down treat, the drive through is open in the alley between 6 a.m. and closing time at 5 p.m.
The Dostalers at the table over have been captured not only by the cinnamon buns but Marise and Dana’s very curious and gregarious son Calvin, who was definitely a hit with everyone coming in to the café.
Marise laughed and invited people to come be charmed by the curly-haired tyke.
“Come see Calvin,” she said, the main act at the bakery. And eat some tourtière while you’re there.