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Living in an era of globalisation, traditional bakeries which are rooted in the rich culture that India has, are gradually fading into oblivion. Bangalore, however, is that city of India which continues to hold onto the legacy and experiment with the items. It is absolutely not an exaggeration that Bangalore is a hub for iconic bakeries of our country. These bakeries are symbolic of the traditions we possess. Over the years, these bakeries of have preserved the very traditions or adapted through vicissitudes of time, helping us trace the rich heritage of Bangalore’s food culture. Each Bakery has it’s own vast history and influence the food culture in a number of ways. We ask a bunch of such bakeries about how they have been able to preserve the richness of our culture via Bakery items.
The Excelsior Bakery in Bengaluru’s bustling Shivajinagar Market don’t need any introduction. The aroma of their freshly-baked bread lead people there without roadmap. It’s been more than 92 years, people have been queuing up at Excelsior Bakery for cakes, milk bread, biscuits and an array of Bakery products.
Saipreeth, Sahadevan’s great-grandson and his father, Muralidharan are running the Bakery in the bustling Shivajinagar Market of Bangalore. He shares with kitchen Herald, “We have a customer base which is the third and fourth generation and our customers come back for the same products year after year and for the same taste and same recipes. Most of these recipes have not been touched and we have been following the same process since years. Our milk bread is especially famous. It’s a comparatively small loaf of bread of what you see in the market but it’s made with milk and extra soft in texture. In fact, a few months ago a customer came to us and said to pack the milk bread well so that they can take it to the US. Interestingly, this customer’s wife back in the US was craving for the bread as she grew up eating the same milk bread here in Bangalore. So, yes we feel overwhelmed everytime such people come in. Another product that is very popular is our Japanese cake. It’s basically cashew nuts textured biscuit filled with cream. Today, you won’t see any other newbie bakery making this product. It is extremely time consuming and skilled people’s job. Not a lot of people know how to make it and that’s precisely why we are unique and people love it. The cashew nuts base has to baked overnight at a low temperature and then the next day cream is filled inside. And lastly, our Rum cakes which are very popular during the Christmas and New year times. People come to us from every nook and corner of the country and not just from Bangalore to buy our special Rum cakes. People from Tamil Nadu come for instance very early morning and then they go back by the afternoon train after buying the Rum cakes. Again the process is time consuming and laborious as we mix the ingredients in rum before a month or so before baking.”
Albert Bakery, started during the British Raj is another iconic bakery of Bangalore. It is believed that the owner liked the idea of naming his bakery ‘Albert,’ a British name and thus the bakery is called Albert bakery. Currently owned by Mohammed Nawab Jan, it will soon be taken over by Mohammed Sabir Faizan, a fourth generation owner.
Mohammad Nawab Jan got candid with us and opined ; “Albert Bakery is a must for any festival we fondly associate with assorted food items. Hot cross buns on Good Friday, marzipan eggs on Easter Sunday, non-alcoholic plum cakes for Christmas and mutton brain puffs for Ramzan are only a few to mention. Their regular specialties include mouth-watering items including choco lava cakes, chicken swiss rolls, tarts, quiches, banana and grape muffins, chocolate croissants, donuts, and pizzas. We believe that what’s important is to understand the taste of every age group. We have stood the test of the time over centuries and we believe that we have been successful to cater to the needs of nearly every age group. That’s our USP too.
O.G Varier & Sons, another popular bakery in Bangalore has been able to keep up with the changing times in the most humble way. People going crazy over their delicious menu is a fact established now. It has still kept its humble ambience and quick service intact over the years. You will have a gala time peeping inside the bakery area and watching the bakers prepare their goodies fresh in front of you. When you’re here, o try their signature Milk Biscuits which will just melt in your mouth. You can also try their Chocolate Cakes which are spongy and have a sweet jam filling in between.
Govinda Variar, says, “Our bakery is popularly known as Variar bakery and is famous for mouth-watering, delicious puffs and biscuits. People from all over the city come here and buy bakery products like bread, biscuits, puff and cakes regularly reason being that we uses the freshest of ingredients which are of a high quality. We do not use any kind of colouring or preservatives in products. This makes it extremely healthy even for daily consumption. Such is the popularity of our products that sometimes we see more than 3000 customers a day. The bakery in a day produces over two tons of biscuits and rusks. We only have 2 branches.”
Simpli Namdhari’s is a name synonymous with vegetarians go-to outlet. Meals like wood-fired pizzas, creamy pasta, wholesome salads, Asian rice meals and dumplings and most of all an amazing array of bakery goodies prepared without eggs. Yes! From freshly prepared soft loaf of garlic bread, chocolate croissants, red velvet cake, apricot danish to apple pie you can delicious bakery goodies all prepared without eggs. Nevertheless, they taste scrumptious. Gurmukh Singh Roopra, owner of the outlet shares, “We take pride in offering fresh products to our customers. Today, there is a plethora of baking procedures leading to enticing variants but what we believe is making products that are not just lip smacking but healthy as well. It is important to note that these days we have become aware of the benefits or harm of certain food type depending on our bodies. People prefer to go fo those items which serve the double whammy of health and taste. These two go hand in hand these days. Bakery in Bangalore has deep roots in the culture and we make sure that we address both, health concern as well as taste buds. That’s how we have been trying to make our chain unique in the industry.”
With multiple outlets around Bangalore, Glen’s Bakehouse is one of the best bakeries in Bangalore. People visit the outlet for their signature frothy coffee, bite-sized delicious red velvet cupcakes and an assortment of bakery goodies like a chocolate croissant, eclair, puffs and everything sweet, creamy and sugary. Jay prakash who heads the operation of the bakery chain tells us, “Glen’s Bakehouse is one of the oldest and best bakeries in Bangalore and has a signature rustic posh decor that reminds you of cafes in Florence and Italy. Today, I believe that’s it’s not just about good food but the way it’s been served or the aura of the place that you choose to eat at. The bakehouse has a very European touch to it and our desserts and cheesecakes especially red velvet cupcakes, and chocolate croissants are the signature ones. Over the years, we have diversified ourselves from soups, salads, pizza, sandwiches, burgers, lasagna to pot roast. People wish everything under one roof and that’s precisely where we try to make it better for them.”
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