bread and salt and wine and ...
April 18, 2006 12:54 AM   Subscribe

A friend of mine is moving into a new house and I'm planning to bring her bread, salt, and wine on my first visit. Where do I find primo artisan bread in Los Angeles and what reasonably priced wine would the hive mind recommend to go with a meal of bread and salt?

I'm aware that I'm changing the traditional meaning of the gift of bread and salt since I'm not actually welcoming her to my neighborhood but I'm willing to live with that. I was also thinking that I might throw in something like olives or cheese to make the bread a bit more enjoyable. Any thoughts?
posted by rdr to Food & Drink (17 answers total)
And... I'm not tied to actually eating the salt so I'm really asking what's a good bread, wine, and whatever combination.
posted by rdr at 1:13 AM on April 18, 2006

With the bread - dip it in good olive oil and dukkah
posted by slightlybewildered at 1:32 AM on April 18, 2006

For a yummy loaf, I'll direct you to a recent comment, recommending Bay Cities in Santa Monica. (Come to think of it, you could find everything you mention there!)
posted by rob511 at 2:20 AM on April 18, 2006

Love the gesture, make sure you get the best salt you can get - I would recommend a small pouch of 'fleur de sel'.
posted by ouke at 2:44 AM on April 18, 2006

Derail: any pointers on backgroun on this tradition/gesture? Or similar things?
posted by NucleophilicAttack at 3:16 AM on April 18, 2006

I first heard of it the bread and salt housewarming tradition from Germans but I think that Russians do it too. I'd say, based on no evidence at all, that it's probably pretty widespread in Eastern Europe.

The google results for "bread and salt" indicate to me that I may be headed into heavier symbolic territory than I thought at first. Apparently, some cultures use a meal of bread, salt, and wine to celebrate a marriage. That's all I know. It's likely that someone out there can tell us more than my limited personal experience and google skills.
posted by rdr at 3:42 AM on April 18, 2006

Bread -- La Brea bakery is world class. I don't mean the crap they ship all over the US though -- the original one that's part of Campanile on La Brea. Also, there used to be a guy at the Hollywood Sunday Morning Farmer's Market that was phenomenal. Dont' know if he's still there.
posted by mrmojoflying at 5:14 AM on April 18, 2006

This is an Armenian tradition, as well. I think it stems from when a priest used to bless a new home, he would also bless the couple's salt, bread, and water as those were basic elements of survival. It's explained a bit more here.

The bread Armenians use for this tradition is typically (dry) lavash.
posted by jdl at 5:29 AM on April 18, 2006

Just get any good wine; bread is a neutral flavor that wine doesn't have to "go with" (which is why it's used to cleanse the palate between sips of wine at tastings). You might go with champagne for the festive aspect, but if so, please get a real (French) one (I love Bollinger myself, but tastes differ)—for god's sake don't get knockoffs like Freixenet.
posted by languagehat at 6:17 AM on April 18, 2006

Breadbar makes great baguettes, and other baked goods. Although they seem to sell out of the baguettes early so its best to call ahead on weekends.
posted by Spurious Packets at 8:42 AM on April 18, 2006

Where did this custom come from? I've never, ever heard of this.
posted by agregoli at 8:55 AM on April 18, 2006

second on springing for fancy salt
posted by nanojath at 9:00 AM on April 18, 2006

Where did this custom come from? I've never, ever heard of this.

I don't know either, but whenever I hear of someone doing this, I remember the scene in It's A Wonderful Life, when Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed give these gifts to a family moving into a house that Jimmy's bank gave them a mortgage on.
posted by marsha56 at 10:05 AM on April 18, 2006

It's not even close to LA, but for others searching and perhaps you (since it's easy, quality stuff, and a really cool place) there's always mail-order Zingerman's.
posted by kcm at 10:19 AM on April 18, 2006

Google for "bread salt welcome" and you'll get some background. I don't get the It's a Wonderful Life connection, though. I wouldn't have thought Russian customs were widespread in the 30s/40s, but maybe it was a Prairie/Plains thing. I thought it was interesting that a gift basket company offers the It's a Wonderful Life basket.
posted by acoutu at 1:56 PM on April 18, 2006

I agree, La Brea is great. I've also heard a broom is an appropriate gift.
posted by 6:1 at 2:23 PM on April 18, 2006

Thanks everyone. I have no idea which ones to mark as best answer.

I'll try all the bakery suggestions between now and when her house is ready. I'm definitely going for the fancy salt and dukkah sounds delicious. Zingerman's looks like it'll be a great source for goodies in general.
posted by rdr at 3:04 PM on April 18, 2006

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