New bakery opens in Tarboro

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Franca Gilbert brushes cinnamon on to the dough to make cinnamon raisin bread Friday at Alimentaire Wholesome Breads in Tarboro.


Staff Writer

Monday, February 5, 2018

TARBORO — Local residents looking for some fresh baked goods might want to check out a recently opened bakery in Tarboro.

Alimentaire Wholesome Bread Co. opened on Jan. 12 at 600 Trade St.. The bakery is owned and operated by baker Franca Gilbert and her husband Steve Gilbert, who runs the financial side of the bakery.

Franca Gilbert, who is a native of Belgium, said the name of the bakery comes from a French word that means food and nourishment.

Gilbert, who was a French instructor in Wake County Public Schools, has more than 20 years of experience in baking bread. Gilbert initially started her baking business from her home in Youngsville in 2015.

Gilbert said her inspiration for bringing a bakery to Tarboro came from her relationship will fellow local business owner, Inez Ribustello, co-owner of On the Square Restaurant and Wine Store, Tarboro Brewing Co. and Tarboro TBC West Taproom & Tacos.

“I met Inez at a benefit fundraiser event and we hit it off,” Gilbert said. “She mentioned to me that we really needed a bakery in Tarboro. At that time, I had heard the name Tarboro, but I had never been here, so I decided to take a trip and check it out. We came and I fell in love with the town. It’s so quaint, charming and the people have been very friendly.”

Before opening her bakery in Tarboro, Gilbert did sort of trial run to test her product in the area. Gilbert came down a little over a year on Saturdays to set up a space to sell her bread at the Tarboro Brewing Co. Also, a Farmers Market was established by a group of local citizens for a short while that allowed Gilbert to showcase her bread. 

“I had a great turn out and people enjoyed what I brought to the market,” Gilbert said. “I had been toying with the idea of opening a store front, and we thought Tarboro was a perfect fit for our family. Somebody later informed us on the location, which used to be a hair salon. We signed the lease with the building owner in October. We’ve been open for two weeks and everyone has been great, receptive and welcoming.”

Gilbert said her philosophy behind baking is providing healthy and wholesome things to eat. Her bread selections include such choices as crossisants, cinnamon knots and Belgium waffles.

“I don’t use any chemicals, so my yeast is natural and our flour is all organic,” Gilbert said. “I do a sourdough recipe and no one anywhere close here does that. The reason for that is that’s the most authentic way to make bread.”

With Alimentaire Wholesome Bread Co. being the only bakery in town, Gilbert’s goal is provide authentic food made by real people.

“As a business, we want to have fun as we do it,” Gilbert said. “We want to be sustainable — that means we try to get food that’s distributing in ways that contribute to the local economy.”

Alimentaire Wholesome Bread Co. is open 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. More information on the bakery can be found online at www.alimentairebakery.com.