White Birch Bakery Opening

Kristina Majowski and Shannon MacTavish have always held strong the importance of keeping traditions alive; honouring ancestors and remembering the cultures that have shaped their lives has always been a way to stay connected to family and community for both of them.

Kristina has participated wholly in the Slovenian community since her earliest years; she started dancing at the pavilion at the age of 9 and since then has held positions such as the Princess of the Slovenian Pavilion, Choreographer of the Slovenian Dance Ensemble Triglay, and Pastry chairperson. Shannon was born and raised in Thompson, Manitoba and as a young girl, she participated in Scottish dancing. After moving to Winnipeg in 1999, she discovered Folklorama through friends and instantly fell in love with the music, dance and entertainment. Now, both women appreciate Folklorama for giving children an opportunity to immerse themselves into culture, learn about traditions, dances, song and food.

Ever since they were little girls, they have held baking close to their hearts; something they watched their mothers and grandmothers do and were able to learn from them. Shannon connected with her Scottish heritage by cutting out gingerbread men with her mom and gramma and sampling her gramma’s shortbread, pies, and butter tarts. Kristina was introduced to her Slovenian culture through baking with her mom during special times of the year, like Christmas and Easter. She fondly remembers watching, then learning how to make Slovenian cookies as peaches (breskve), almond crescents (kifle) and apple strudel. These experiences fueled a lifelong love of baking for both of them.

Just over 5 years ago, the two women met through work and very quickly bonded over their passion for all things culinary. They bounced new ideas off each other and were constantly challenging themselves to create tastier products; their friendship, work ethic, and mutual passion for creating ultimately lead to their new business endeavour: the White Birch Bakery.

Kristina and Shannon are working on creating a warm and welcoming environment in the White Birch Bakery, with dreams of customers being greeted by the aromas of bread baking and buttery pastries coming out of the oven.

When asked about the meaning behind the name, they said “We wanted a name that would connect our two cultures and our home, Canada. The white birch tree is found in all three countries: Canada, Scotland and Slovenia. Ancient Europeans held the birch tree as a symbol of hearth and home. In the Celtic culture, the tree symbolizes new beginnings, renewal and starting over. Our bakery has been a lifelong dream and is absolutely a new beginning for both of us.”

The menu will include a strong cultural presence of both the Slovenian and Scottish cultures. Family recipes such as Gramma’s shortbread, Scottish tea bread, a daily dose of Shannon’s sweet and savory biscuits, gooey butter tarts, Chelsea buns and empire cookies. The Slovenian cultural presence will feature traditional honey cookies medenjaki, almond crescents, linzer cookies, Kristina’s apple strudel, and a variety of torte slices. Customers will be able to choose from a wide variety of products baked fresh daily, from naturally fermented breads, Slovenian buns (zemljice) and Scottish Baps. On the lunch menu, you’ll be able to find homemade soups and sandwiches, with a side of comfort pastries such as cinnamon buns, croissants, a variety of childhood favourite cookies, treats and more!

“Many of the items that will be in our bakery have been passed down from generation to generation.  We look forward to showcasing our cultural tradition through our products and sharing them with the public… Baking these cultural products always brings back wonderful memories which we share with each other constantly.”

The White Birch Bakery is located on Henderson Highway, just north of McLeod Avenue in Winnipeg’s East/North Kildonan neighbourhood. The bakery is anticipated to be open to public in the spring of 2020. The space is currently under extensive renovations but with the current Corona Virus, there have been some delays. Check our their website www.whitebirchbakery.com, or follow along on Facebook and Instagram @whitebirchbakery for news and information on their bakery opening!

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