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Zaida Everon is a biology teacher turned baker, whose company, T2 Pan, became popular in the local community.
Particularly during the island’s shelter-in-place period—for its daily fresh-baked sourdough bread, a true slice of comfort food when we all needed some extra comfort. Zaida’s journey into all things bread began in 2019. With an affinity for baking since she was a child, she knew she wanted to learn more about baking bread, eager to nurture her children with fresh and nutritious food. Her research on the subject led her to sourdough bread. “I didn’t know anything about this type of bread—it’s an ancient way of baking that actually applies microbiology in the leavening process,” informs Zaida.
As a biology teacher as well as a mum in search of a healthy way to make bread, it was a perfect match, and the experimenting began. “Bread has an undeservedly poor reputation, but if it’s made the right way, it is very healthy and nutritious,” she explains. Unprocessed, stoneground flour, which contains vitamins and antioxidants and keeps the fiber intact (unlike enriched, bleached flour), is the primary ingredient in Zaida’s sourdough bread. But it’s the fermentation process that is key—the natural microorganisms in the fermentation process digest the nutrients, making those nutrients easily available and absorbed by our bodies as we consume the bread. Those microorganisms also produce extra byproducts that act as prebiotics that are good for our own gut microbiome. After eight months of courses and practice, Zaida perfected the basic sourdough process.
A few months before the pandemic, she left her teaching job, freeing up more time to focus on her artisan bread. She made her business official, calling it T2 Pan, an ode to her late father Tito, who owned Machetazo’s Place, a convenience store with a wooden sign hand-painted by him that read “Aki Tito ta: Pan pa bo ruman,” which translates to “Tito’s got bread for you, my brother/sister. ”She began with a B-to-B, business-to-business model. Urvin Croes, an award-winning local chef, owner, and operator of Infini and Poké Ono restaurants, was her first business client, collaborating to create exclusive sourdough bread for his menus. And then came the global pandemic. As the island enacted a shelter-in-place policy in March of 2020, Zaida’s Instagram page began growing, and the demand for her bread along with it. She started home deliveries of her freshly-baked sourdough bread, as well as a weekly bread subscription. It was just what the community needed at the right time. Once the island reopened its borders, Zaida developed a following from visitors as well—especially those that were staying in vacation rentals and those here on long-term vacations and workations. “One of the most rewarding times was when visitors would come to my workshop at Gasparito to pick up their bread—they loved watching us in action, pulling it fresh from the oven...I got a lot of positive feedback,” she shares.
Today, Zaida has evolved to T2 Pan Sourdough Boutique, with a growing list of business clients that includes The Ritz-Carlton, Elements at Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts, Lime Bistro, CRAFT, and others. The local community and visitors can pick up fresh bread from her new location in downtown Oranjestad at Aruba Made market every Wednesday through Saturday, 8 am to 2 pm.
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