The death of the high street bakery is perhaps the biggest casualty of our changing shopping habits and we only have ourselves to blame.
The fact that most people have long adopted the one-stop-shop approach to supermarkets means most of us are stuck purchasing mass-produced bread as part of the weekly shop. Hence, few bakeries survived.
A few years ago, I wrote to the Blackbird Bakery – one of few independent bakers in South London – owner asking him to expand his empire into Norbury.
I’m pleased to say that my wish has pretty much come true, with a new store newly opened up, just down the road in Streatham.
I was driven into the arms of the Blackbird owing to my fondness for sourdough bread and ordered a large one as soon as I’d arrived in Streatham.
I couldn’t help but notice the fantastic range of sweet and savoury treats available.
The bakery section is pretty much available across its eight stores and includes all the traditional savoury favourites that have experienced a resurgence in the past five years- pies, tarts, Scotch eggs and sausage rolls.
For the sweet-toothed among you, there are biscuits, doughnuts, slices of cake and even whole ones that you can pass of as your own handy work to visiting friends.
And if you’re gluten, dairy intolerant and vegan, the Blackbird has that covered too.
You can also sit in and make the most of the new kitchen, serving up all-day breakfasts, pizza and a range of soup and sandwiches.
I tried the chicken madras sandwich, a sizeable lunchtime snack, that was surprisingly light, largely due to the slow-rise bread. I loved it. It was a bit like coronation chicken but without the dried fruit (£4.80).
Paloma was not a guest of Blackbird Bakery, 10 Astoria Parade, Streatham, SW16 1PR. Call 020 8696 9000.