At Luxury Cheshire we are partial to the odd slice of gateau. Or éclair. Or steak pie, for that matter. So, it was with the delight of small children on Christmas morning that we entered the doors at one of Cheshire’s premier bakeries – G. Wienholt in Alderley Edge.
Wienholt (pronounced Ween-holt, thank you for asking) is a family business, established in Cheshire for 80 years and still adhering to the principles upon which it was founded. The staff here are trained in Lucerne, Switzerland and everything is made on site, from scratch, by hand from the very finest ingredients.
Behind the shop area we find the bakery kitchens, spread over three floors of the building, where a team of pastry chefs is busily engaged in various stages of rolling, baking and decorating.
As with any commercial kitchen, the equipment here is on a super-sized scale, including a cavernous eye-level oven and a fleet of gigantic mixers. But unlike a home kitchen, taking centre stage in the Wienholts’ kitchen is a large conveyor-belt. This is used for making mille-feuille, the micro thin layers of pastry for their famous vanilla slices.
Starting at 6am (yawn!) the kitchen runs to a precise schedule so that every recipe which requires different stages of preparation can be completed in steps and not a minute wasted. For example, quiche cases are prepared, baked blind (empty) and later filled and baked again, and this fits in neatly with the preparation of other items.
In the run-up to Easter, the shelves, fridges and ovens are stocked full of mouth-watering temptations including rows of chocolate eggs to be decorated, boxed and ribboned, cakes to be iced and freshly glazed hot cross buns ready to be taken into the shop.
When to visit
The bakery’s shop counter is open Wednesday through to Saturday, closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. And while many might assume that the staff spend these two days on the golf course, they are in fact busy behind the scenes preparing goodies for the next few days. Saturdays are particularly busy, when the queue of customers extends out of the door and around the corner of the building.
What to buy?
Gugelhoph (or Gugelhupf) is a light, yeasted marble cake, traditionally baked in a distinctive circular Bundt mold. It is popular in a wide region of Europe, including southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland and Alsace.
The steak pies at Wienholt are renowned locally for their superior-quality steak and rich gravy. These have been on the menu since the business began, when founder George Wienholt insisted on the finest ingredients at any cost, using prime steak meat and not compromising by using a cheaper cut.
This is a traditional Swedish layer cake or torte consisting of alternating layers of airy sponge cake, pastry cream, and a thick-domed layer of whipped cream. This is topped by marzipan, giving the cake its characteristic smooth, rounded top. For Easter, the Princess Cakes at G. Wienholt are charmingly decorated with ribbons and chicks.
- G Wienholt Bakery Ltd, 25 London Road, Alderley Edge, Cheshire, SK9 7JT
- Telephone: 01625 583275
- Website: http://www.gwienholt.co.uk
- Open 9-5, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat