Bakery a delight to royals, commoners for over 100 years

Bakery a delight to royals, commoners for over 100 years
Bharat Pathak, TNN | Nov 24, 2014, 11.33AM IST


VADODARA: As evening sets in, aroma of freshly baked breads and nankhatais waft through the air in Raopura. Within no time, large number of people queue up outside Surti Bakery to pack their daily morning munches before they are sold out.

But few know that Surti Bakery also used to supply confectionaries to the royal Gaekwad family that ruled the erstwhile Baroda state. The royal family was fond of fresh breads and Italian biscuits made at this bakery that was started in 1910 by Gokuldas Shah.

Surti Bakery was always a favourite among citizens of erstwhile Baroda state but it shot into limelight when it won an award for 'best taste' in 1936. "To celebrate the diamond jubilee year of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad's rule in 1936 the palace organised 'Hirak Mahotsva'. There were various competitions. Eateries, bakeries and confectionaries were invited to present their best products for an award. Our bakery presented a loaf of bread, nankhatais and Italian biscuits to the Maharaja. Gokuldasji was then called to the royal durbar and felicitated," said Subhash Kandoi, grand son-in-law of Gokuldas who now runs the bakery.

"Sayajirao subsequently appointed the bakery as the official supplier of bread and biscuits to Lakshmi Vilas Palace. We continued to supply confectionaries to the royal family1960s. We won an award not just for best taste but also for best decoration in 1939 when a competition was held in which shop-owners were asked to decorate their shops. The fame of the bakery was at its peak during the 1930s and people would line-up outside the shop to buy bread," Subhash recalled.

"In fact, during the famine of 1940s, the state had no supply of flour. My grandfather ordered a truck of flour from Punjab so that he could continue supplying bread to the people. We supplied bread and cookies to the palace and army," said Ankit Kandoi, son of Subhash who helps his father in managing the bakery.

The legend also has it that the royal elephants too loved the delicious breads made at this bakery. "Every year on the occasion of Dusshera, the maharaja used to tour the city seated on an elephant's back. While passing through Raopura, the elephants would walk up to the shop and would not leave before eating a loaf of bread. It is said that the elephants would come up to the shop even when the king was not riding atop," said Subhash.

"In old times, we used to start selling bread at around 5 pm and would run out of stock in less than three hours. At that time we were the only bakery who used to pack bread in a butter-paper so that it could be consumed even two days after baking. Today also, the bread from our shop is in high demand apart from other confectionary items," said Ankit.

The bakery still maintains the taste of breads and biscuits it was famous for over 100 years ago. Although the bread and Italian biscuits remain their speciality, Kandoi over last few decades added an array of products available at the bakery to fit in the changing times .





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