Article By: M.T. Decker
Photos By: Josh Triggs
In an unassuming corner of Rosewood Commons, located at 11205 John F Kennedy Drive in Hagerstown, is the very uncommon Safron Bakery and Cafe. Family owned and operated, Safron offers European flavor with American designs. While many bakeries offer pastries and cakes, Safron offers cakes and pastries that are as organic as possible with no preservatives or additives, zero trans-fat and no high fructose corn syrup. It’s a difference you can taste.
“What you put into what you make is as important as what you are making,” Owner and Chef Albert Elmeraji explains as he describes his baking. He makes everything as if he were going to eat it himself. This care and attention to detail means that customers get fresh baked breads, pastries, cookies and sandwiches. Their baklava is a local favorite, using a non-traditional sugar and vanilla syrup, producing a dessert that is not overly sweet but with a hint of something exotic.
When I caught up with Albert, he was returning from delivering a wedding cake to Frederick Maryland. This was nothing new to Albert; he’s been delivering cakes throughout the 4-state area for the past 8 years, but this particular delivery was a special one. This delivery was their first gluten free wedding cake.
One of the challenges in providing gluten free alternatives is the fact that they are again making it with no preservatives or additives. This means finding the balance of having the option available to customers, but not letting it go to waste. It is a challenge he is more than willing to accept in the interest of giving the customer what they want.
Albert discovered his passion for baking when he was living in Monterey, California and has been baking professionally for over 27 years. When he returned to the Hagerstown area to be closer to his family, it was only natural that he open a bakery that baked goods his way. While Danishes and bear claws may never be considered health foods, Albert works to make them as healthy as possible.
“There used to be a gym in the shopping center,” he confided about neighboring businesses in Rosewood Commons. “They used to hate me,” he added with a laugh.
People would go in to work out; while they were working, all they could smell were the enticing scents of fresh baked goods. Needless to say, that scent was all the advertising Safron Bakery needed. Last month I was at Mansion Chic next door to the Safron Bakery and Cafe, and I had to ask the owners of the business what the heavenly scent was. They pointed next door.
For breakfast, customers have the choice of fresh scones, croissants (both plain or filled), Danishes, muffins and bagels, as well as anything from an egg and cheese croissant to a bacon egg and cheese sandwich on your choice of bread, croissant, bagel or roll. All are preservative and additive free and contain no pork products.
The bagels are kettle boiled before being hearth baked and come in 7 varieties: plain, sesame, poppy seed, onion, multigrain, blueberry and the ever popular ‘everything’ bagel. The bagels can be topped with your choice of jelly, butter, cream cheese or cream cheese and smoked salmon.
Their cookies are incredible; their croissants are flaky and tender, and the chocolate filled croissants are delicious. Their French Rolls are just the right combination of firmness without being difficult to eat and are the perfect complement to their sandwiches.
Their chicken Pesto Panini is made from marinated chicken tenders and the chicken is grilled instead of fried. Paired with fresh mixed greens and Munster Cheese, the sandwich is accented with a Pesto Mayonnaise and served on a fresh made French Roll.
Their Turkey Bistro is made with thin sliced turkey and turkey bacon and topped with melted provolone cheese on sliced French Bread that is the perfect combination of tender and crisp.
Another delight is the Roast Beef Pesto. Fresh, tender roast beef stacked high on French Bread, with provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato and topped with Safron’s Pesto Mayo.
All the sandwiches are made to order, helping to guarantee their freshness.
If you prefer coffee and a pastry, Safron also offers fresh made teas and coffees including espresso brewed fresh to order. If you’re interested in a smoothie, Safron has several offerings, each designed with the customer in mind.
You can call ahead and pick up your orders when you’re on the go, or browse the pastry section while your sandwiches are being made. The pastries are always fresh and Albert is baking every morning. And the cakes?
There is a reason people from the four-state area order their wedding cakes from Safron Bakery and you need look no further than their gallery to see why. The designs are elegant, sometimes whimsical and, again, are made to their customer’s tastes. These expertly designed creations come in a wide variety of forms, including fondant designs and custom shapes and sizes.
From Cookie Monster birthday cakes, to cakes that tell stories, Albert has made them all: tiered wedding cakes decorated in a combination of buttercream icing, flowers and fondant; cakes turned into a diorama of Jim Beam Whiskey barrels; elegant cakes with a rose lattice and gift boxes… if you can think of it, they can design it.
For birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and other special occasions, Safron Bakery offers their clients European tastes with American Designs. Cake options include: Vanilla, Chocolate, Red Velvet, Lemon, and Almond. These can be paired off with Italian Buttercream, whipped cream, cream cheese, peanut butter, chocolate, mocha hazelnut or praline icings. Cakes can also be combined in the case of tiered cakes; for the more decadently inclined, these cakes can also be filled with any of the following: strawberry mousse, raspberry mousse, cherry, lemon, fresh fruit mocha, pralines or chocolate mousse. The possible combinations provide a wide variety choices and are are limited only by your imagination.
They ask that you order fondants and wedding cakes well in advance. They make cakes for sale, but to make sure you have the cake you want for that special occasion, it is recommended that you call Albert at: (240)329-0220 or email at: email@example.com.
Whether you’re stopping by on your way somewhere, or looking for a leisurely afternoon lunch, Safron Bakery and Cafe has you covered. For soups, single serving quiches, and a taste of Paris, you need look no further than Rosewood Commons in Hagerstown MD.