My comments and tips about Lyttelton may seem a little too enthusiastic to you, and now I have finally come to the point telling you what I absolutely hate about this place - apart from my neighbours with the cats and the dogs ;-)
I was so close to recommend having a coffee at the Bakehouse, as they have added a little seating area but after my today's visit I changed my mind and tell you the story of Lyttelton's ridiculous bread history.
You know, I have no English background or forefathers, and so as a non-cotton-ball-white-untoasted-sandwich-eater I am very critical about bread. And even more so as a person born and bred in Germany where we have more than a hundred kinds of tasty breads and rolls and pretzels.
My expectations in a former English colony are not high. But at least I would expect of a bakery to bake and sell bread every day of the week, and not just sweet calorie-bombs covered or drowning in a kilo of caster-sugar icing.
They could even have kept up my mood if they had had those nice little custard tarts. But not even this was available although I arrived in the early morning hours.
As I could not believe that a bakery would not have a single loaf of bread on the shelves I asked the shop assistant if they had no bread today, and she said: "Only on Sssssssday." And I asked: "Sorry, could you repeat this, please?" And she said: "Only on Ssssssssday." And a second later: "Saddddddday." Which obviously meant: Saturday.
All other days are what she said: "Sadddddddddays". Sad days.
So I went to the supermarket. But there was no fresh bread on the shelves either. Again I asked if they did not sell fresh bread anymore. The assistant said: "Only on certain days." She could not go into details but after she had told me that the supermarket company owns the Bakehouse it was clear to me that those certain days were only one day: Saddddday. I decided to boycott both shops in the future.
A sad History
The whole bakery history of the past some years is a sad one.
First we had no bakery at all. Then the bakery opened and one day a baker started baking the most wonderful white sourdough breads and rolls, topped with nothing, sesame or poppy seeds. They were so delicious, you could not stop eating. They were so popular that they were sold out if you arrived after 10am.
Then the baker got into a deal with the supermarket, selling his rolls in his shop and the loaves in the supermarket. So you had to go to two shops for two different items. And queue twice. So we only bought rolls, and if the rolls were sold out, we had bread. And queued twice.
Still I went to the bakery because they also had absolutely delicious apple scrolls. One day they were suddenly topped by the famous artificial pink kilo of icing. I bought them and scratched the disgusting sugarhill from the scroll, and threw it out.
Then, one day the baker stopped making the rolls instead of baking more, and only made bread. I gave up and waited for a change of owner.
It happened, perhaps more often than I can recall because I only found out by coincidence, as I had boycotted the shop for quite a while. I remember a Scottish baker who made fantastic savoury scones. I only went there for those scones. One day they had no more. The baker said the people in Lyttelton did not particularly like them - but he baked 20 or more for me when I asked him, and I put them in the freezer, so could always defrost one when I wanted one. Then the baking Scotsman left.
Finally I rediscovered the bakery and its delicious sourdough loaf, and the tiny custard tarts. This delight was over rather fast. We will get our fresh bread from the city on all sad days. Just not on Sadddddddays.
Update March 2009
And could you believe it?! At the moment we have neither a bakery nor a supermarket. The supermarket closed down last year and is still empty, and one day we also found the bakery deserted. No idea why Lyttelton is losing its bakers all the time although the place has become so popular over the past years.
Update 20 May 2009
But you will surely believe this: We have a new baker! The bakery is open again! Be quick to try the delicacies before they close down again... ;-) And soon a Four Square Supermarket will open next door.
Update 24 December 2009
Just wanted to tell you - as a kind of Christmas gift - that the baker is still there, and the supermarket has opened. It is no Four Square but a "fresh'n'easy". And it even comes with a bakery department. But I have not seen any bakeware there yet.
Update 18 January 2011
The Fresh'n'Easy supermarket closed down after the 4 September 2010 earthquake - and has now reopened as a Four Square supermarket. The bakery department has not opened. But good news: The baker next door is still open ;-)
Update 21 June 2011
Two earthquakes later the bakery and the supermarket in London Street are still standing but were damaged and closed in February. BUT - the bakery has been resurrected in a portacom at the corner of Norwich Quay and Canterbury Street, at the former and now empty site of the Royal Hotel. A surprisingly neat place with quite a good selection of bakeware. In nice weather you can sit outside, there are a few tables, chairs - and an old low wall to sit on.
Lyttelton always has something going on whether it be a visit from The Love Boat (in the photo) or from a Russian ship that can't afford to feed its crew.
From these ships comes a variety of people that give Lyttelton a level of colour and vibrance plus a major cosmopolitan feel. A visit to the British pub will include you hearing accents from all corners of the planet (if you get there on a good day) while you sip your poison.
Lyttelton may be small but it has a very different feel to it than its close neighbour over the hill!!
Te Whakaroupo..the Harbour of the bullrush weeds, in Maori, has been home for the Maori for over 1000years. then it was sighted by the Europeans in 1770...Capt. Cook and his ship Endeavour landed here.
the natural Harbour with its calm waters and surrounding, sheltering hills, these days it's very inviting for boating, sailing, fishing and also swimming....a Dragonboat Race is held each year here in Lyttleton
Fondest memory: the Township of Lyttleton a quaint spot, the Victorian Cottages perched around the hills, the step, very step streets needing a little driving finesse. and the openeness as well as friendlyness from the Locals makes this place worth spending a day or two.
on the weekends Quail Island is a choice spot ..good swimming and boating, many come with there own boats. but you have to bring everything, maybe not the kitchen sink, but nothing to buy here!!
first ferry leaves Lyttletonat 9:00am and the last leaves at 6pm from Quail Island, if not that, then
the surrounding hills make a great days mountain biking or walking the Bridal Pass and see what the first Settlers had to endure!
As we say in Australia "the things you see when you haven't got a gun"
Over here, if a cop saw that, you'd be off the road immediately and fined, and told to get it fixed.
Maybe somebody should just shoot it and put it out of its misery! Hehe
of yesteryear..walkways have these wildwest style roof protection, dry feet appriciated...and the new hairdo not japardised. along the way you can shop for lunch and dinner, get the new shoes, the postoffice is on your way too,
or take a break in the many cafe's
Fondest memory: a boat trip too the historical and facinating Quail Island and Ripapa..at Ripapa, the german Admiral Count Felix von Luckner had to sit out the rest of WW I as a Prisoner of War
Favorite thing: Lyttleton Harbour is quite large and I would have liked to have had time (and better weather) for a closer look, since this area pre-dates the settlement of Christchurch.