Bild på bullar och bröd.
Foto: Lisa Söderholm

Varberg's own coastal bakery

Dawn is just breaking in Varberg; people are coming awake in their beds. But at Skeppsgatan 10, the frenetic activity has already started a few hours earlier. It’s where Kustbageriet (coastal bakery) is located. The aroma of freshly baked bread is in the air. The shelves are groaning with goodies – from Leavain and Schwartzbrot to Strandråg and Kustbröd. There’s all manners of freshly baked buns, baguettes and croissants to satisfy the most discerning bread lover. It’s been eight years since Kustbageriet set up shop and today it’s a favourite of both Varberg residents and visitors.

Written by Lisa Söderholm
Lisa Söderholm Redaktör och friluftsälskare

Niklas Gustafsson had always been interested in food and food and after his initial schooling in Varberg and a couple of trips abroad it was time to go to Grythyttan’s restaurant school. After spending several years working in restaurants in Stockholm, he wanted to try his hand at baking. So he went looking for a job at the wildly popular Riddarbageriet in Stockholm and he got it.

“I went there with my bag of chef knives and after just two minutes I realized I could not do anything. But a year and a half later I found that I was actually a baker.”

One summer, in the mid-2000s, Niklas decided to spend the summer in Varberg with his girlfriend. The plan was to combine the holiday with a bit of baking. They put in an ad in the local newspaper that they were interested in renting a cottage and they got something in Sällstorp just outside Varberg. The first thing they did was call master flour producer Bengt at Limabacka mill for his famous freshly milled flour. After some experimentation with the oven in the cottage they started selling their bread in Varberg’s square, two days a week.

En person står och håller en papperspåse som är fylld med baguetter.
The baguettes are an all-time favourite at the Kustbageriet.
Photo: Kustbageriet

“It was crazy. We moved to an apartment right at the square. We got up at 6am every morning and got busy with the baking. Then we would go down to the square at 9am laden with freshly baked bread that we sold out in 2 hours flat. In fact, there were people who missed us because we were only there until 11am. ”

At some point, while all this was going on, the idea of starting their own bakery slowly took root. In fact, they were both happy and terrified when they finally moved from Stockholm to Varberg. And with good reason too as they had no home to live in, and no bakery to bake in.

“We were naive in a strangely wonderful way. We moved down to my granny’s summer house in Apelviken and lived there in the dark throughout the winter. We went around looking for a place and found one that used to be a fish canning factory. “

The place was a little rough around the edges but they saw it’s potential and decided to take the plunge. They had no start-up capital for renovation so they rolled up their sleeves and got down to it themselves. After spending countless hours tearing up the place, putting in new furniture and giving it a fresh coat of paint, they finally had a working bakery to show for their efforts.

“It was tough and we’d like to give ourselves a pat on the back that we actually did it. And without taking a single kronor as a loan.”

Porträtt på Niklas Gustafsson
For nearly eight years, Niklas Gustafsson has been running Kustbageriet.
Photo: Coastal bakery

When Niklas opened doors to Kustbageriet, it was still a rarity to find a craft bakery in Halland. Using local and organic raw materials, freshly ground flour and making everything from scratch also means that the price are a bit on the high side. At first, people would wonder why a croissant that cost 20 kronor elsewhere should cost 28 kronor at Kustbageriet.

“It was tiresome having to explain why we were more expensive than others. So finally I started giving them a croissant to take home and compare. Thosoe who did almost inevitably came back for more. So eventually I did not have to explain any more. “

Today, Kustbageriet is one of the most popular bakeries in Halland. Although it’s location is a bit out of the way, down in Varberg harbour, it’s not a problem for enthusiasts of baked goods. From morning to evening there is a steady stream of customers who either want to buy breads and buns to take home or just sit down and enjoy their offerings with a cup of coffee.

Bröd på brödhylla
The selection of bread varies from day to day at Kustbageriet.
Photo: Lisa Söderholm

Given that Niklas always had a fascination for the sea, the coast and harbours, it’s hardly surprising that he chose and a decrepit fish canning factory as a location for his bakery.

“There is something romantic about ports. It’s like the last outpost. If you depart from there from there you can go wherever you want.”

And this passionate baker has done just that with his craft bakery in Varberg’s harbour.

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