Monthly Archives: April 2012

Doughy Delights @ Bakerie

By Charlotte Dobson

Bread fans will love the Bakerie tasting store – just don’t call it a wine shop.

Picture this: mounds of bread, gallons of delicious wine and a line of punters determinedly queuing for their free tasters.

As one man wryly observes: “It’s like the war. This is an actual breadline.”

But this is no ordinary bread, this is the best bread you’ll get in Manchester courtesy of the Bakerie Tasting Store – the latest trendy delight to pop up in the Hive in the Northern Quarter.

The store’s no-messing strap line, ‘It’s all about the bread’ will not disappoint carb fans with a passion for the doughy-stuff.

We’re at the opening night and over by the ovens, you can watch and chat to the bakers as they kneed their magic into a selection of loaves.

Meanwhile in the corner, people are scrambling over each other to mop up some balsamic vinegar – the organiser’s did not see this frenzy coming.

Another dimension to the Bakerie is their impressive selection of quirky yet high quality wines. Whether you’ve a taste for a full-bodied Malbec or crisp Sauvignon Blanc, or (like me) you haven’t a fig about vino, Bakerie’s tasting sessions are a great place to start.

Bakerie store manager, Dale Meakin, explains: “It’s not a wine shop, it’s a tasting store. For us it’s all about finding great quality wine, no matter where it’s from or how whacky it is. For example, we’ve got a stunning Sauvignon Blanc from India, wine made from grapes grown on Mount Fuji and another from Cyprus.”

This is all new to a wine novice like me, stuck in the “I’ll get what’s on offer” state of mind.

Dale adds: “Because we’re independent, we’ve got a freedom in choosing what wines we have on offer without anyone telling us what we should be selling. It’s all about great quality wine.”

Next we shimmy over to the wine tasting session in ‘the Classroom’ – Bakerie’s bespoke contemporary arty space (it has proper primary school benches, the one’s you dropped on your foot in P.E lessons).

We’re welcomed by Peter Dawson and Dougie Lowe of Origin Wines & Spirits who top up our glasses with their finest.

First up is an Italian rose, Anima Rosa. I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of the pink stuff but this is beautiful. Light, dry and crisp – right up my street.

Next is up is a red made with a ‘very rare grape’ – La Crima and for red wine fan Amanda Dubrowski it’s a hit.

“It tastes like you’re drinking from the bowels earth, like frankincense – it’s beautiful.”

As we admire the legs on a Majorcan red, Dougie explains: “This Virat is an example of a more unusual wine and it’s named after a native Majorcan dog.

“The thing is, a lot of people tend to drink a lot of the same – if they like Pinot Grigio, then they will often drink that. But here you have the chance to try lots of unusual wines from places you might not expect.”

With it’s simple but addictive combination wine and bread, it’s clear the Bakerie Tasting Store is a big hit with Mancunians.

For more information go to:


Blackjack Beers starting up in Manchester!

Manchester’s newest Brewery, Blackjack Beers, will be unveiling its first brew in around a fortnight’s time.

Blackjack Beers, set up by Rob Hamilton, will be a 4.5 barrel micro-brewery located not far from Manchester’s Northern Quarter on Gould Street off Rochdale Road.

Based in a railway arch, the brewery will be using the old kit that was based in the Marble Arch pub for Marble Brewery before they expanded.

Rob has worked for Marble for almost five years, amongst other pubs including the fabulous Crescent in Salford, before venturing out on his own so his taste and skill is not to be doubted.

And those who are fans of the Marble brews should definitely aim to try some of his creations – there will be something for everyone! Preferring stronger and darker beers himself, Rob promises light, easy-going options too.

Unfortunately the project will be solely a brewery for now as opposed to a pub/brewery but Rob will be looking to sell his beers around the main good beer haunts in Manchester and will no doubt feature at the Marble pubs, Fringe, Port Street Beer House, Gas Lamp and New Oxford.

The first brew is around two weeks away as Rob, who came to Manchester 12 years ago from Wrexham to study and never looked back, puts together the final touches to the workings of the brewery.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

It seems that the majority of people think negatively about the term introvert and what it means.

Many, especially in retail, feel that being extroverted is beneficial in the workplace by giving you confidence and being fully able to show your talents.

Many think of an introvert as being quiet in the corner and difficult to get along with and almost talking about it as being closer to a kind of Asperser’s syndrome, which it is not.

Ask whether these three statements ring true or false with you:

‘I enjoy solitude.’

‘People describe me as soft spoken or mellow.’

‘I tend to think before I speak.’

If you answered most of those as true then you’re probably an introvert. If most are false then you are probably an extrovert and if you answered them evenly then you’re probably an ambivert.

What the terms measure is how you respond to stimulation. Extroverts need more stimulation, such as larger groups and louder places to feel alive to their fullest.

Whereas introverts do not need as much stimulation and would maybe prefer to be with family because they can socialise in a more easy-going environment.

However, it seems that being an introvert, as I mentioned earlier, is seen as a negative trait and even from a very young age we are, in society, encouraged to be more extroverted.

As soon as a child goes to nursery, and all the way through their school and university education, they are expected to communicate, play and socialise in large groups.

It permeates through every aspect of society and we are constantly tuned to be extroverted because it is seen as the only way to be successful.

However, neither is ‘right’ and studies have shown that the best businesses work with a team which is a mix of introverts and extroverts.

But nowadays society and business is lopsided towards the extrovert and author, Susan Cain, says: “What we have had, in our financial culture, is one that favours a very risk-taking extroverted style of behaving.

“It’s a style of thinking first and acting later and extroverts seem to be really great at seizing the day but the flipside to that is that they don’t see warning signals as easily and they take greater risks.”

Possibly an explanation of the financial crisis is that too many extroverts as at the top and taking unnecessary risks in the banking sector.

It is shown that extroverts also get into more car accidents than introverts because introverts tend to be more cautious and spot the warning signs quicker.

I think I’m probably an ambivert but I guess it’s difficult to tell when you’re judging yourself as you’ll probably always pick what you feel is the ideal rather than the truth.

Famous introverts include JK Rowling, Barack Obama and Steve Wozniak, so you don’t have to try to be extroverted to get along with people or get ahead in life, just be yourself!

What do you think you are and what experiences have you had in business that ties in with any of these topics?

Gig Review: Fun Lovin’ Criminals @ Hard Rock Cafe Mcr – March 28

The Fun Lovin’ Criminals dissed Coldplay as they brought love to Manchester’s Hard Rock Café, all for a good cause.

The notorious trio were in a jovial mood, which was made even better by the superb weather in the week and played a crowd-pleasing set for the Bombay Teen Challenge charity which 100% of the ticket sales was donated to.

“We’ve been coming to Manchester and getting into trouble for a long time,” Huey joked to rapturous applause before the band kicked off the evening with a crowd favourite ‘The Fun Lovin’ Criminal’.

He continued to thank the crowd throughout for donating money to charity by buying tickets for the gig and for taking place in the auction held before the band took to the stage.

Signed t-shirts and guitars were up for grabs with many items going for over £100 and a signed guitar for over £600.

Despite the seriousness of the cause there was always going to be time for laughs and jokes and the front-man took it upon himself to have a sly dig at Coldplay front man Chris Martin.

“God bless you for coming out for such a worthy cause, a lot of bands don’t do shit like this,” he said.

“We’re not like Coldplay doing all this fair trade. I guarantee everyone’s got something from China on them. Nice try dude. This is going to get kids off the streets,” he added.

It was a show for the true Fun Lovin’ Criminals as they played a host of classic tracks as well as covers found on their albums too.

A particular crowd favourite was King of New York and, of course, Scooby Snacks during which the band encouraged a full on crowd sing-a-long.

The New York threesome were impressed with the unusually warm temperature in the North West last week and said they’ve enjoyed their time in Manchester, Huey said: “I’ve seen blonde girls with a tan that don’t live in Essex.”

In fact, Huey spoke a lot between songs and, slightly merry on the beer anyway, the band downed tequilas in honour of, keyboard player, Brian’s (Also known as Fast) 40th birthday.

The band signed off with ‘We Have All the Time in the World’ after agreeing to play another few tracks as a special birthday present!