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J'y suis déjà allé, et c'est pas mal bon. Ça pourrait faire du super street food!:thumbsup:

 

 

Authentic taste of Venezuela alive on Ste-Catherine St.

 

Cachitos bakery is a success story — but first its co-owners had to learn to bake bread

 

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MONTREAL — They’re an unlikely pair of bakers making an unfamiliar product in an unloved neighbourhood.

 

And it’s working.

 

Cachitos, a bakery that opened 18 months ago at 153 Ste-Catherine St. E., just east of St-Laurent Blvd., has generated considerable buzz with the product it’s named for: a small Venezuelan bread containing fillings such as ham, sausage and spinach and selling for a little over $3.

 

Owners Liliana Madriz and Carmen Lanza will often hand out samples to passersby, convinced that tasting is believing.

 

“It explains itself,” Madriz said. “People don’t expect it to taste like it does. The dough is slightly sweet and the texture and softness is a surprise. It’s easy to eat and practical.

 

“You can have it any time of day. Sometimes, people we give it to would turn around when they finished and come back to buy a whole one.”

 

When they opened the bakery in February 2012, there were many skeptics.

 

In their native Venezuela, cachitos are one product among many in a bakery. Nobody focused an entire business on them. And they typically came in only a few varieties.

 

Madriz and Lanza had a different vision. They wanted cachitos, in a fleet of flavours, to be their claim to fame.

 

First, though, they had to learn how to make them.

 

“I’d never baked bread in my life,” Lanza said. “But I knew someone who could help us.”

 

So she called an acquaintance who owned nine bakeries in Caracas, and he invited them for an intensive two-week training course — but only after they’d completed basic baking classes here.

 

They returned from Venezuela with the skills to start rolling out cachitos. Or so they thought.

 

“The first dough we made when we got back was a disaster,” Lanza recalled. “I was worried sick. I remember calling Liliana at 1:30 in the morning to talk about it.”

 

Madriz didn’t panic. A former genetics researcher, she analyzed the ingredients and procedures, and made a few adjustments. “If I can do genetics. I can bake bread.”

 

Soon, the kinks were ironed out and they were ready to take the plunge.

 

Cachitos was a major departure for both women, neither of whom had prior entrepreneurial or baking experience.

 

Madriz, 50, worked mostly as a graphic designer after immigrating from Venezuela 15 years ago with her husband, Ruben, and two daughters.

 

“We were looking for a more secure place for our family,” she explained.

 

“I visited a friend of my mother here in 1995 and a few things struck me immediately. I saw a five-year-old kid walk into a daycare alone, something you’d never see in Caracas. It also was so silent and peaceful here. It has the best of Europe with a bit of American style, and I liked the combination of French and English. Moving here was a difficult decision but a good decision.”

 

Lanza, 35, came to Montreal from Venezuela in 2009 for a two-year posting at the International Civil Aviation Organization headquarters.

 

She and her husband, Leandro, also fell for Canada and decided to seek permanent residency.

 

It was through their husbands that the women first met. Both men are musicians, playing harp and cuatro, and they joined a group performing traditional Venezuelan music that was assembled through the Venezuelan cultural centre in Montreal.

 

“At a dinner, Liliana told me her plan, but she said, ‘I need a partner.’ And I said, ‘Let’s do it,’” Lanza said.

 

They first scouted locations near métro stations and McGill and Concordia universities, then in the Plateau Mont-Royal, but found the rents too high.

 

Then they came across an empty space that used to house a jewelry shop near one of Montreal’s most notorious downtown corners.

 

“We thought it had a lot of potential. It was between St-Denis St. and the Quartier des spectacles, close to Université du Québec à Montréal (where Madriz earned a degree in graphic design). There are people passing at all hours of the day. There’s a lot of condos going up in the area, and you’ve got the tourists as well.”

 

They signed a four-year lease, renovated and decorated the building themselves, and in February of 2012 quietly opened the doors.

 

“This was something completely new for me, and it was quite emotional,” Lanza said. “After I opened the door for the first time, I was so nervous I went in the back and cried. We didn’t know if anyone would like it.”

 

There were people — many people — the first day. Montreal’s Venezuelan community came out in force.

 

And kept returning.

 

“Then we noticed new people, non-Venezuelans, who’d ask what a cachito was,” Lanza said.

 

They don’t get that question as much anymore.

 

“To show you how much has changed, we had a guy from Hydro-Québec here the other day and on his cellphone you could hear him asking people at the office what kind of cachitos they wanted. It’s now a recognized word,” Madriz said.

 

They sell pastries now as well, and soups and coffees, but always with a Venezuelan flavour.

 

“We stay in our niche,” Madriz said. “We had vanilla and chocolate cupcakes at one point and we dropped them because nobody bought them. They can get them anywhere. Our best-selling cupcake is ‘dulce de leche.’”

 

Their husbands worked at the bakery the first year but have now taken other jobs, though they often return with their musical instruments to perform at the bakery for clients and bystanders.

 

The operation is not hugely profitable yet, but Lanza said they’ve been covering their costs and paying off their equipment since the first month and foresee opening another location in the not-too-distant future.

 

What makes them proudest is that the bakery has been embraced by other Venezuelans here as a place to bring friends for an authentic taste of the homeland.

 

“When a Venezuelan comes in and says it’s the best he’s ever tried, we know we’re doing the job as we should,” Madriz said.

 

- See more at: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Authentic+taste+Venezuela+alive+Catherine/8889481/story.html#sthash.cOCzdnGY.dpuf

 

 

 

http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Authentic+taste+Venezuela+alive+Catherine/8889481/story.html

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