Fans of Wild Buns Bakery’s artisan Scandinavian buns will be thrilled to learn about the new bricks-and-mortar store that’s just opened in the Oltrarno.
Comforting cinnamon aromas entice as you turn the corner into via di Camaldoli, the residential street leading to piazza Tasso. A simple black-and-white signage marks the spot where Estonian Robert Marrandi has opened a bakery after four years of supplying his handmade delights to the likes of speciality coffee bars Ditta Artigianale and Coffee Mantra.
Back in 2020, when we spoke one cold winter’s morning during a Wild Buns Bakery pop-up at Eataly, Robert told me his dream was “one day to have a nice Scandinavian bakery with amazing pastries, bread and Swedish-style fika, with full Scandi-vibe decor”. Now in 2022, the young baker has accomplished his dream with a bijou location on the south side of the river.
Is Robert still having to wake up at 2am to bake his buns? “The beauty of having my own place is that I can get up at 5am and bake all day in front of the customers, so they get the very best product. The aromas coming to your nose left and right. That was the main idea since the beginning. For me, the pop-up was good, but it was missing something: interaction with customers.”
Hygge rules in the former pizzeria-turned-bakery with whitewashed walls, filament bulbs, wooden ledges, metal stools and splashes of greenery. The main draw is the open-plan kitchen, where ever-smiling Robert brushes egg wash over the brioche buns he’s baking for popular hangout Reburger opposite. While I’m there, a neighbour from Pasticceria Buonamici pops by to collect some sourdough bread. (I later find out why, slavering some avocado on a hunk of the acidic leavening loaf that’s utterly unique for Tuscany: it’s divine.)
Although the speciality coffee and Oatly milk are equally tempting, Robert pours a matcha that transports me back to Kyoto (“it’s come via Estonia and Germany”) and hands over a warm peach, cardamom and custard Danish that simply begs to be devoured. Considerable willpower is required to resist new additions like the savoury brunch buns boasting a whole egg, bacon and cheese.
How does an international baker reconcile Nordic flavours and local ingredients? “Some of the ingredients come from Tuscany, like Parri flour, near Siena, but since this is a Scandivanian bakery I get the cardamom and some of the sugar from Sweden. It’s the small details that make the buns authentic.”
Robert enthuses about the renovation as he shows me around. “Other than the extraction hood, there was nothing here. I designed and did it all myself, with the help of my friends when I locked in my own head. I wanted to do it in two months, but in the end I did it in three because I wanted to open in September.”
At the back there’s a storage area, but eventually the plan is to run baking courses and tasting events. Yes, the buns and the sourdough are reason enough to make a trip to the Oltrarno, but there’s more in the works from Wild Buns. Watch this (heavenly scented) space!
About Wild Buns Bakery
Via di Camaldoli 1C
+39 055 0202597
Closed Monday + Tuesday. Open Wednesday-Friday 8.30am-3pm, Saturday-Sunday 9am-3pm
Scandi breakfast drop-in with The Florentine
Drop by newly opened Wild Buns Bakery in the Oltrarno to pick up a freshly baked copy of October’s The Florentine, enjoy a Nordic bun and say hej hej to our editors.
September 30, 9.30-11am
Tell us you’re coming: firstname.lastname@example.org