MONCTON – A fresh, hand-rolled croissant and coffee every morning isn’t out of reach anymore for residents of downtown Moncton. Co_Pain has opened as a full-fledged bakery and coffee shop on 98 Bonaccord St.
“Early morning rise, a good shot of coffee and croissant or baguette, and off you go,” says co-owner Elki Imbeault.
Before, head baker Tanguy Jacobs, chef Nicole Collins and Imbeault made bread and pastries from the kitchen of daycare Roche Papier Ciseaux across the street. They were sold to parents of the children registered there, and at the Farmers’ Market in Moncton and Shediac. Imbeault and his wife, Nadia Bedard, started the daycare more than six years ago.
The limited space and equipment at the previous daycare kitchen were challenging. The oven only held 10 loaves of sourdough bread at a time, slowing Jacobs down. The security of the daycare also meant customers couldn’t simply walk in to buy the products.
The bakery is now a lot larger, has more modern equipment and can produce up to 300 pieces of bread per day. It’s still on the first floor of a daycare, because Roche Papier Ciseaux expanded to its second building. But Co_Pain has a separate entrance.
“[The bread and pastries] are the same as they always were. If we want to make bread taste the way bread should, we require time, quality ingredients and technique. Technique, everybody can have. But time, not everybody has,” Imbeault said.
Co_Pain sells fresh, hand-rolled, hand-kneaded croissants, chocolatines, raisin rolls, sourdough bread, oat loaves and others. Now it also sells baguettes, focaccias and other artisan European breads.
It uses organic, non-bleached flour milled in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, using wheat from Saskatchewan or Quebec. It also uses only 10 per cent of the yeast generally used in industrially baked bread.
To complement the staple offerings, Co_Pain also makes sweet treats like carrot cakes, muffins, scones and date squares, as well as cheese, soups and coffee-based beverages. It now offers business-to-business service to restaurants, too.
Imbeault said there are now a total of 25 staff at the daycare and bakery. Two of the bakers, including Jacobs, are from France. Imbeault also brought in Lea Gouez, whose family used to own a creperie in France, into the team of co-owners. Gouez focuses on the coffee shop and front-end customer service, while Bedard and Imbeault focus on business development.
With the expansion of the daycare, there are now 150 children registered at both buildings, with another 15 expected in the new building in September. The new daycare includes a community room with a stage.
“The raison d’etre of Roche Papier Ciseaux was a daycare for 0-5-year-olds. But the children still need after school care because when they go to school, they finish early,” Imbeault said.
For him, the passion for bread ran deep in the family. Not only did Imbeault’s family own a pizzeria, his great-grandfather also had a bakery in 1929 in Trois-Rivières, Que. Imbeault later found out his grandfather, who took the academic path, would have wanted one too.
“At first it was always a romantic idea that we were going to get fresh bread and everything, but you wake up to the realities of business,” he said. “I would have only done this if I have someone as strong as Tanguy [Jacobs], who has all the skills and knowledge and who wants to grow and learn how to be in business.”
Co_Pain is open on weekdays from 7 AM to 7 PM, and at the Moncton Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.
Here’s what Co_Pain’s new space looks like: