By Fiorella Donayre
If happiness is a fresh warm bagel delivered to your door, then happiness arrived in Buenos Aires in March. That’s when Hanna Schiuma, Nicolas Fardi and Katrin Wilkniss launched “El Bagelazo” out of the small kitchen in Schiuma’s apartment in Almagro.
The question now is how soon it will be before they’ll have to move to a bigger space as word of their bagels spreads.
“A few days ago, we had our biggest order yet, for 50 bagels that we had to deliver at 8:30 a.m.,” said Brazil-born Schiuma during a recent interview in her apartment. “We were up almost all night.”
Schiuma and Wilkniss, who’s from Germany, decided to go into the bagel business this year as a way to work for themselves and meet an apparently untapped demand. “There was nobody in Buenos Aires delivering warm bagels fresh out of the oven at anytime you wanted with just 24 hours advanced notice,” said Schiuma, who moved to Buenos Aires five years ago after studying history and gastronomy in Spain.
Schiuma, who handles orders, marketing and accounting, was ready to start her own company after working for hotels and restaurants including Tandoor in Barrio Norte and, last summer, at Francis Mallmann’s Garzon in Uruguay. Wilkniss, who is now back in Germany finishing a degree in international relations, develops product image and new packaging. Fardi, an Argentine lawyer with a decade’s experience in the judiciary, thinks up new flavors, runs the oven, and handles deliveries.
The trio started selling bagels on weekends at crafts fairs including those in Plaza Serrano and Plaza Armenia. It was the perfect way to test their product in a diverse group of people and promote the delivery service.
Word of their bagels quickly spread and their clientele, about 80 percent Americans, can now choose from 15 types of bagels and more than 20 kinds of spreads and fixings.
The most popular bagels are poppy seed and cinnamon raisin, while salmon and cream cheese top the toppings. A dozen bagels costs 30 pesos for a minimum delivery. Bagel sándwiches run from six to 13 pesos. El Bagelazo also caters mini bagels.
“Bagels go with everything – from cold cuts to pastas and fruits. They work for breakfast and dinner, sweet or savory; it’s a very versatile product,” said Fardi. In addition to getting a professional oven to meet growing demand, Schiuma, who’s father is Argentine, said the group also plans to offer kosher bagels and has been in talks with restaurants interested in selling their bagels.
If you want to see El Bagelazo in action, check out its stand at the “Puertas Abiertas 2009” festival this Fourth of July Saturday at the ICANA at Maipú 672 from 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
There you can catch live shows by the John Lee Hooker Memorial Choir and the Martin de Falla big band conservatorio while you enjoy popcorn, hot dogs, cupcakes and, of course, bagels.
Link: El Baguelazo
Place orders, 24 hours in advance, by Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or by phone:
Fiorella Donayre is a Peruvian lawyer who moved to Buenos Aires in 2004. She completed the professional chef’s program at Mausi Sebess in 2006 and has worked as a pasante at the Caesar Park Hotel’s Agraz restaurante in Recoleta and at El Señorio de Sulco in Lima. She can be reached at: fiorella (AT) argentinepost.com