WHY is bread called the staff of life, anyway?
For starters, most loaves just aren’t suitable to be used as a stick or a pole.
Crack open some Mother’s Pride and try to use it to traverse a stream. Go on. You’ll look a right wally, and the bread will get soggy.
And the life bit? Have you ever tried to use bread in a medical emergency? It’s of limited value, believe me.
Oh sure, “staff of life” is supposed to be a symbolic phrase. Bread, one of the oldest foodstuffs, has sustained humans throughout history.
But in modern times a boring old loaf doesn’t seem so vital, not when there’s a Sainsbury’s up the road packed with tastier options.
Bread is irredeemably boring…that is until you visit the Mhor Bread Bakery and Tearoom in Callander.
I had just bitten into one of their fine sandwiches when it became apparent the best bit wasn’t the crisp lettuce, zesty tomato, or the generous layer of avocado.
It wasn’t even the faultless bacon.
The highlight, oddly, was the bread. Mhor Bread is a functioning bakery and they like to boast about using only Scottish-milled flour, water, and salt to make their loaves.
My BLT came sandwiched with two slices of slowly-fermented sourdough and, by jove, what a revelation. It had a lovely hint of acidity to it. Beautiful.
My companion for the day enjoyed her Mhor Melt –sourdough toast with local ham and slathered with mature cheddar – so much that she immediately marched next door from the tearoom and bought a loaf to take away.
You can see why the Mhor Bread Tearoom (there’s a Mhor chippy up the road) is busy on a sunny spring afternoon.
The bread, as well as a range of outrageously good handmade pies, is probably why there’s a queue nearly out the door when we arrive.
In the tearoom we eventually squeezed into a table between a group of cyclists on a tea break and a day-tripping family.
The wait for a table, and slightly bustling atmosphere, means it’s not the most chilled out café experience we’ve ever enjoyed.
But ultimately it was more than worth it – those sourdough sandwiches linger long in the memory.
Our scone was also handmade at the bakery, and everything was in the right place.
The outer edges were darkened, and the well-fired lumps of fruit gave our scone a slightly caramelised taste.
The butter and strawberry jam paired very well, and the scone rounded off a very tasty lunch.
As for the takeaway sourdough loaf, you don’t have to worry about how long it takes to go stale.
You’ll have eaten it long before then.