Regular customers of the Caldense Bakery in Bradford were able to sit indoors for dining again this weekend with their lattes and pastries; a tradition the bakery’s owner says is popular among the Portuguese community.
The bakery had a line-up out the door on Saturday morning as customers poured in for their morning espressos and ‘tosta mista’; a ham and cheese melt that is popular for breakfast at the bakery. Although only a few spaced-out tables were set up along the side of the bakery's big bay windows, there was never an empty seat while many waited outside until a spot became available.
Alex Bournazakis is the primary owner of the bakery and runs it with his father, Octavio Carvalho of Azores, Portugal. Bournazakis was born and raised in Canada.
The family purchased the original Caldense Bakery in Toronto in the late 1960s and relocated to Bradford seven years ago. Bournazakis also owns a second Caldense Bakery located in Woodbridge.
“It reminds them a little bit of back home,” shares Bournazakis, adding that the Portuguese community enjoys starting the day by meeting for breakfast together. “Portuguese are very traditional, very close to their roots, they like to interact and shop together. So, this place is a reminder of back home.”
Bournazakis notes that many residents in Bradford are from the same area in Portugal and often frequent the bakery as a place to hang out and socialize. But when the pandemic hit last year, regulars temporarily lost their favourite spot to meet.
“Last March-April-May were tough!” exclaims Bournazakis. “But the rest of the year, it’s been one of our better years to be honest.”
The bakery is well-known for its famous Portuguese custard tart (Pastel de Nata), selling approximately 1,800 a week, which has earned the bakery the "Home of the Portuguese Custard” title.
Other popular items include the Rosca De Toco (coconut ring cake), rice cakes, cod cakes, and shrimp patties, as well as specialty coffees, lattes, and espressos.
The bakery also has four fridges with a variety of imported meats, cheese, seafood, cakes, and beverages, as well as a long table of dry-goods and other popular Portuguese foods.
“We’re here at 4 a.m. getting everything ready – breads, croissants, pastries,” says Bournazakis.
The Caldense kitchen is very large and spacious, allowing for many racks of baked goods to cool once removed from the industrial sized ovens. The bakery employs up to 10 staff and often has six to seven members working on the weekends to accommodate for the rushes’.
"People were fighting over tables already this week," jokes Bournazakis. "There’s always lots of people in this plaza. It’s always great when people shop locally to help out the community.”
The bakery is open Monday to Saturday from 5:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. and Sundays 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.
To view more of Caldense Bakery’s products, visit their website: www.caldensebakery.ca