Fresh Every Morning
An authentic French boulangerie comes to Providenciales.
By Kathy Borsuk ~ Photos By Claire Parrish
Legend has it that the name for Providenciales comes from the exaltations of French shipwreck survivors upon seeing this “providence of God.” Folks who are connoisseurs of French baked goods are sure to make similar exclamations of happiness when they visit the new storefront Caicos Bakery.
Among my best memories of a bike tour in Provence were the times my father and I would stop in a small village and head for the local boulangerie. Whether it was for croissants at breakfast time, a loaf of French bread or rolls for lunch or sweet pastries in the afternoon, we were never disappointed. As soon as I opened the door to the new Caicos Bakery, tucked in Caicos Café Plaza, I had a sensory flashback to that beloved trip.
It started with that one-of-a-kind mouthwatering fragrance of baking that seems to fill the air with a visible presence — a blend of yeasty bread and sweeter cake smells combined. The charming shop looked authentic too, with selections of fresh bread loaves, baguettes and rolls placed in baskets along one wall, and the colorful and tempting pastries, muffins, croissants, quiche slices, sliced cakes and other treats neatly arranged behind a glass display case.
Tatjana Milovanovic is usually behind the counter, cheerfully serving her hungry customers, and when she carefully “gift-wrapped” my selections in decorated paper and ribbon, I had to double-check to make sure there were palm trees and not plane trees (prevalent in France) outside the door.
Frédéric Cuvillon and his brother Eric opened Caicos Bakery in July at the request of residents familiar with their baking skills. Frédéric has been baking traditional French breads and pastries for Providenciales resorts for 15 years from a small shop behind Caicos Café. He originally followed good friend Pierrik Marziou, owner of Caicos Café, to the Islands and supplied baked goods to 20 different local restaurants and resorts, including Bella Luna, Hemingways, Mango Reef and The Palms. Four years ago Eric joined him in the venture and the pair purchased the business. Between the two of them, they brought years of experience from their hometown of Paris. (Frédéric had been a baker in France for 16 years and Eric worked as chef at the infamous “Le Lido” on the Champs Elysées.) When a storefront opened in Caicos Plaza, they decided to take advantage of the opportunity and follow the advice of friends and residents who were fans of their fare.
The brothers were clear from the beginning that they intended to maintain a high standard of quality. This meant that everything had to be baked fresh every day and only seasonal fruits and other ingredients would be used. Eric explains, “There are no expiration dates here!”
As a result, when you bite into a flaky croissant, it melts in your mouth. Hearty farm boules combine a chewy crust with an airy interior. Danish and tarts are delicate and flaky, with fruit fillings and toppings bursting with color and flavor. Eric says he has some customers come every day just for the tender, cream-filled Neapolitans, while crunchy-soft meringues have their own loyal fans. (Times of the Islands Advertising Manager Claire Parrish craves the blueberry muffins, chocolate croissants and coffee eclairs!) Cheesecake slices melt in your mouth, leaving a light after-taste of flavor. Lunchgoers can stop by for slices of traditional French quiche, ham and cheese croissants or mini-pizza rounds.
With literally only word of mouth advertising, Eric says the storefront business has continued the bakery’s positive trend of the last four years, in spite of it opening during the traditionally slow summer season. In fact, the brothers are trying to get accustomed to juggling their restaurant/resort deliveries with preparing fresh items for the storefront. It has made for some very long days and very early morning hours!
Eric says the bakery also specializes in made-to-order wedding, birthday and special occasion cakes. “We are very flexible and creative regarding the cake flavors and fillings and can do just about anything our customers ask.” Voilà!
Caicos Bakery is located in Caicos Café Plaza. The shop is open with fresh bread at 7 AM and closes at 4:30 PM, daily except Sunday.
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Talented local photographers Dominique Rolle and LeMans (Li) Welch have teamed up to form Caya Hico Media (www.CayaHicoMedia.com), a firm specializing in luscious imagery with a natural perspective. This gorgeous shot depicts a Great egret, a wading bird that can be found on the lawns of many resorts. It is also common in Pumpkin Bluff Pond, a protected nature reserve on North Caicos.