Recently, we chatted to Elsa, owner of Almada Bakery - one of newer traders at Catford Food Market. From eco-efficiency to future plans and signature bakes, we found out everything you might want to know about their fantastic Portuguese Bakery.
Tell us a bit about your business:
Almada Bakery was born from the desire to have something that was just ours, where we could work as a wife and husband team of chefs, be creative, sustainable and feed London with some of the best pastries in the world: the Portuguese ones! We felt that there was a lot of regional cakes and desserts that we never saw in the UK and thought that London was ready to try something more than just Pasteis de Nata!
During lockdown we had so much time to test recipes that we always wanted to do and also to perfected our Pastel de Nata to an award winning standard.
Many people ask us why Almada means. Although I was born in Lisbon, Almada is the city I grew up, on the south side of the Tagus river, with the best view to the capital. By coincidence, Almada it’s also my middle name. And so Almada Bakery was born.
How eco-friendly are you?
We’re quite eco-friendly, our packaging is recyclable, we use organic, free range British ingredients and our van is electric.
Why do you trade at Catford
Street Food is a small world and the word spreads fast! We heard from some of our fellow traders that Catford was a really nice, friendly market and we wanted to be part of it ever since. We’re happy we finally got to join!
How important is branding?
We love our branding and put a lot of thought into it. It wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of our designer Joao at JAdesign studio. Just like me, a Portuguese that grew up in Almada, so he captured perfectly what we wanted for our brand.
We’re trying to have our logo in all the packaging, but because it’s quite expensive to get it printed we go through the effort of stamping every single bag with our own hands! That’s how important branding is for us!
How important is customer service?
Customers are basically what we work for, if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t exist. We’re so grateful to have so many regular customers that keep coming back for our treats. We always try to accommodate every customer needs and preferences and that’s why every order can be personalised. A smile goes a long way and that’s
What does it take to be a successful trader?
We think that to be successful you always need to put your customers happiness and the quality of your products first. The ability to be resilient and to adapt is also very important. Being a trader is not always easy, it’s great to be your own boss, but it also means that even on the rare occasion that you get a day off you’re still always thinking about your business. The bright side is that we love it, and it rarely feels like work.
What makes your bakes unique?
Even though everyone is making Pastel de Nata we believe ours is very special. The pastry is made from scratch, using British butter and the custard is made using the traditional Portuguese methods, we perfected this recipe for over a year and it just won a Great Taste award, which we are extremely proud about. We have so many bakes that you’ll only find at our stall and nowhere else, Al-madan is a traditional cake from the city of Almada that I never saw in London and we had to bring to our stall and one of my favourite Pampilho, a biscuit/cookie like pastry filled with doce de ovos (a thick type of Portuguese custard) and sprinkled with cinnamon. Pampilho is a cake from Santarem region and because it’s one of my favourites and I never found it in London I had to figure the recipe out! A few savouries we’re very proud of as well, the Rissol de Camarao (prawn rissoles) it’s my grandmothers recipe and so are the Pasteis de Bacalhau.
What are your plans for the future?
Markets have a very special place in our heart because we met at one, so we will always carry on doing markets. We really want a shop we can call home though and really looking forward for the perfect opportunity to come along. The exciting news is that we’re working really hard to have our website ready very soon with deliveries available London wide of all the treats you can find at our stall and many many more.
Personalisable celebration cakes, afternoon teas and desserts to share on special occasions, name it and you’ll probably be able to find it on our website. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on there, drop us a message and we always do our best to make your food dreams come true!