How Mumbai bakeries Fresco and City satisfy their Christmas clientele

When we walk into Fresco Bakery at Juhu, the smell of freshbread, combined with the spicy smell of Manchurian rolls, embraces us. It is impossible to take a look at the items displayed in the counter as customers block the view shouting their orders. Owner Shiela Fernandes is taking an order on the phone. “Of course it is fresh,” she says.

At Fresco, the kitchen never shuts and fresh items are baked every few hours. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Fernandes has been running the 45-year-old bakery for the past 22 years, along with her sons Glen and Gavin. When we ask her about the year-ender preps, she smiles. “This is the most hectic time of the year. On the menu are Christmas cakes, guava cheese -- a Goan chewy fudge-like sweet, cashew-nut based marzipans and milk cream. We also have kulkuls, a savoury like the karanjis,” says Fernandes, whose bakery is one of the few bakeries to have a wood-fire oven. At Fresco, the kitchen never shuts and bakes fresh items every hour. “That’s how we serve everything fresh,” says Fernandes.

The 60-year-old City Bakery is geared up for Christmas. Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies are the latest addition to their menu. Pic/Satyajit Desai

At City Bakery, the buzz is similar, and while this 60-year-old bakery keeps Plum Cakes, Date and Walnut Cakes, Cinnamon Danish Rolls and Lemon Tea Cake round the year, the new item for the celebrations include Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies. “We have a vast menu round the year, but right now, we have almost doubled our production,” Mehdi Dashti, co-owner, tells us. 

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