A peek inside some of South Florida's unique food shops.¿
Name: Egmondt Fine Bakery
Address: 100 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale
Contact: 954-999-0124, EgmondtBakery.com
Hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Wow factor: Husband-and-wife Olivier Maes and Nadine Gerardi from Brussels debuted this sweet retreat this summer in The Waverly, a multi-story residential building with a ground floor of businesses at the northeast corner of Broward Boulevard and Federal Highway. Egmondt faces the boulevard and offers the bonus of free garage parking. European desserts, pastries, bread loaves, Italian coffee, teas and light breakfast and lunch fare are served amid modern red-and-black seating, warm faux-stone tiled floor, funky wavy mirrors and a showcase of delectables. Specials are scrawled on blackboards, and a beverage stand offers self-serve coffees and iced teas. The bakery's fanciful swirl logo is etched on elegant frosted glass behind the counter.
"We follow the recipe like it used to be in the past. Keep it simple with fresh ingredients," Maes says, adding that they don't use preservatives or additives. They aim to keep the food healthy and are planning sugar-free desserts. "We want to give people something different, but not too different."
Takeout boxes of delights are even tied with an extravagant bow, just like in Europe.
Quote: "No need to fly across the Atlantic to enjoy the taste of Paris, Vienna, Brussels or Rome. Just stop by Egmondt bakery for breakfast, lunch or a late-afternoon snack, and treat yourself to a unique experience," Maes says.
Background: Maes says they fell in love with the land, culture and people when they vacationed in the United States in 2008. Their favorite spot: South Florida. "We had a dream: What if we could share our passion in a place we love?" he says. "A few years later, we sold everything we had, moved to Fort Lauderdale, and the dream became a reality."
The couple worked in the food industry, including in France. Maes has a Welsh background, and Gerardi is half Italian.
"We have a good mix of food culture from Europe. We try to keep the same atmosphere, the same type of place you'd find in Europe," Maes says.
Don't be surprised to see more Egmondts; the couple has ambitious plans to open 19 bakeries in South Florida in five years.
Buy this: Maes and an assistant start baking at 3:30 a.m. The chocolate mousse ($4.25), crepes ($2.50-$4.75) and Brussels bread pudding ($4.25) originate from family recipes. Passionata and cappuccino flavors are most popular among the cakes ($4.25). Best-sellers at lunch are salmon-spinach quiche ($5), Caprese salad ($9.75), croissant filled with ham and Swiss ($4.20) and the club sandwich ($8.75).
— Susan Bryant