Bakery brings together Tavirenses, healthy products and vegans for a year

With the promise of continuing to “sweeten” the neighborhood, the first anniversary will be celebrated on the 25th of June with the offer of cupcakes for anyone visiting the space.

Alexandra Matos and Pedro Cruz – Photo: Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação

“Would you like some soup?” "Is that?" «Beetroot» «What is that?» «It's a vegetable, it grows like a root, a kind of turnip and it's very good for the cardiovascular system and the heart».

This could be a conversation held in a nutrition class or in a restaurant or even a banal conversation at home, but it is not: this dialogue took place, at lunchtime, between a client and Alexandra Matos and Pedro Cruz, from Mr. Portuguese Bakery, a bakery with options for everyone, which has been operating in Tavira for a year.

After another day of work, spent between normal business hours and conversations between owners and neighbors who frequent the establishment, Alexandra Matos and Pedro Cruz were finally able to sit down at the table with the Sul Informação, to tell the story of this bakery planted in the center of Tavira.

Many may ask: why open another bakery? What's different about this?

This is a business that is not like the others, it is a bakery and pastry shop that focuses on healthy products and making bread «like the old days», that is, «everything by hand», without processed flours and with natural fermentation.

On the other hand, it seeks to have options for everyone, particularly for people with a vegan lifestyle.

But it was not always so.

When it opened, this was a bakery similar to many others, with normal cakes, inspired by French cuisine, but with Portuguese flavors.

However, as many people were looking for egg-free, lactose-free and gluten-free options, from January onwards the owners of the space decided to make the pastry shop completely vegan.

«I always thought that one day, when I had my own business, I wanted it to be a challenge and to always be innovating every day», says Pedro, responsible for Mr Portuguese.

«Here we make a big difference compared to other pastry shops, because, when we opened, we were surprised to learn that there was flour already prepared for making cakes. It takes away all the shine from what pastry is, what cooking is, what making is", considers Alexandra Matos, owner of Mr.Portuguese.

«In addition to making everything from scratch, I use everything fresh, from fruit, vegetables, juices, that is, we do not deprive ourselves of quality raw materials», adds Pedro Cruz.

 

Pedro Cruz – Photo: Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação

 

The owners, who make environmental issues a priority, try to work with local and national products.

To this end, the bakery from Tavira maintains partnerships with some companies, such as “Lima com Pimenta” (a Portuguese company located in Moncarapacho), suppliers of vegetables. Another partner, to produce bread, is Farinhas Paulino Horta, a Portuguese flour supplier that is one of the best nationally.

The care taken with the products used, as well as the production process, which takes longer because it is closer to the traditional one, means that the price of the final product has to be higher.

In other words, although the price may seem high to some customers, for the owners it turns out to be low, given the labor, the hours spent, the use of quality products and other more expensive ones, such as almond and almond flour. rice.

«You are buying, for example, a gluten-free cake for two and a half euros. It's more expensive than other places. What does this represent? It represents strengthening the local economy, because we are buying local things. It represents strengthening the national economy, not only in our business, but also in other Portuguese businesses», explains Alexandra Matos.

According to the owner, people currently “prefer to pay less immediately, but will pay more at the end of their lives. Being vegan doesn't mean it's more expensive, it means more labor and awareness».

The owners also make a point of identifying all products that are from the previous day, which are sold at a cheaper price.

 

Pedro and Alexandra - Photo: Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação
Alexandra Matos and Pedro Cruz – Photo: Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação

 

Although this business is not yet a year old, its history goes back much further, even before Alexandra and Pedro met.

Alexandra, from Abrantes, got a degree in graphic design, went to Serpa for six years and got a master's degree in Food Consumption at the same time as working. Before going to Altura, in the Algarve, due to the pandemic, she spent a year in Mértola.

It was after returning to the Algarve that she met Pedro and decided to leave her job at a communications agency, in December 2023.

Pedro, born in Caneças (Lisbon), worked for nine years in stock management and logistics. He went to hotel school, but, “fed up” with dealing with the restaurant world, he decided to follow his passion: pastry.

The next destination was the Netherlands, where he lived for four years and worked in a Michelin-starred restaurant, but, like Alexandra, he came to the Algarve – where he had never been – in 2019, due to the pandemic.

Here, Pedro decided to accept a job offer, but always hoping to one day set up his own business, which he created when he was in the Netherlands.

The difference is that before I had thought about having a foodtruck, now it would be a store.

It was at that time that he met Alexandra, his current partner and business partner.

In three months, they built the business of their dreams: they asked the bank for credit and waited two months to hear back.

However, there was an opportunity for support from IEFP, through the “Empreende XXI” project, for which they applied. As soon as they received a response from the bank, they had three months to put everything together.

With the key to the space in their hands, they lived the last month intensely, as it was the phase of organizing everything, remodeling the store, being the plumbers and painters themselves.

At this initial stage, there was «a group of people who helped and supported», mainly in overcoming the more bureaucratic issues.

«It’s very important to hear other people’s experiences, what they’ve been through. Perhaps, there were many processes that we didn't have to go through, because we listened to the advice of these people», explained Alexandra.

 

Photo: Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação

 

Adapting to Tavira was good and, over time, the bakery became a meeting point for neighbors.

«I can say, with certainty, that 80% of customers are Portuguese and local. This is a wonderful white glove slap, we are really happy, as this makes the business more sustainable», says Alexandra.

The story that most affected those responsible was that of a girl who could not eat eggs or products containing lactose. She showed up with her mother at the bakery, who told her she could choose whatever she wanted. The girl loved being able to eat one croissant, the cake that immediately caught his attention.

«It’s these little things that make sense to us», says Alexandra.

In the future, the owners want to be present at fairs and markets. They have even received invitations, but they refused because they had no way of transporting the products, a problem they intend to overcome.

Furthermore, they want to find another person who can help with the pastry, so there can be greater production.

With the promise of continuing to “sweeten” the neighborhood, the first anniversary will be celebrated on the 25th of June, with the offer of a cupcake to anyone who visits the space.

 

Photos: Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação

 

 

Photos and text from: Cátia Rodrigues, who is a finalist for the Master's in Communication and Digital Media at the University of Algarve and is doing her internship at Sul Informação.

 

 

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