Camerino Bakery - Special Irish Foods & The People Who Make Them

Camerino BakeryCamerino Bakery celebrated one year in business on November 1st and, as Dee Laffan discovered when talking to the lady behind the baked treat emporium on Capel Street, Dublin 1 about her success, her love of baking is surpassed only by her love of Ireland.

Admittedly, I am favourably biased towards the person and products in this month’s column. Caryna’s Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies are by far the best in Dublin; I have a slight addiction in that I cannot pass the bakery without nipping in to have one!

Caryna has been baking now for 10 years, her wholesale baking business, under the name Caryna’s Cakes, has been a great success. She is currently stocked in 27 places in Dublin including Clement & Pekoe on South William Street and Nick’s Coffee in Ranelagh. She also holds regular baking workshops for private groups, makes bespoke occasion cakes, is a long-time stall holder at Dublin Food Co-Op and other markets.

The aforementioned Raspberry Chocolate Brownies were awarded Gold in Blas na hÉireann 2014 and she was shortlisted for The Irish Times Best Shops 2015, the only shop on the northside of Dublin city to be included. This girl is on a roll!

However, Caryna’s story of how she came to live in Ireland and how her business came about is definitely an interesting and slightly unconventional one.

“I graduated in Communication Studies from university in Montreal and started a backpacking trip through Europe,” Caryna recalled. “The plan was that I was supposed to go home after the trip and be a grown-up! We travelled through England, Scotland and Wales and then the plans was for two days in Ireland and proceed to Portugal and Spain… I’m now in Ireland 12 years!”

“I worked as a temporary administrator in an engineering company and the week I started someone resigned from that department. The result was they offered me a permanent job and sponsorship to stay. I worked for four years with them on a working visa. At first the job was really interesting because I was working for a construction company in the middle of a financial boom, so I was really in the heart of it. When the recession hit in 2007, my job in human resources shifted and my main duty was to make people redundant – it was awful! While the job was tough, I couldn’t leave until I had stayed in Ireland long enough to apply for my residency, which I really wanted to do as I had fallen in love with Ireland at this stage and wanted to stay.”

“In order to balance the stress of this day-to-day horrible job of basically making grown men cry when I told them they were losing their job, I started baking as a hobby and stress reliever. The worse the job got the more I was baking! One day I decided to take a stall at a farmers market. There was one on Sundays at the back of the multi-denominational school in Ranelagh. I would bake all day Saturday and sell on the stall all day Sunday. That’s when things really started to change for me.”

Caryna CamerinoAdmitting that she had never really baked before, Caryna was as surprised as anyone that she took to it so quickly and in fact excelled at it.

“Baking was a massive learning curve that improved the more I baked. I have a very multi-cultural family, mum is from Israel, dad is from Italy, grandmother is from France, grandfather is from Romania and I have a Greek uncle too! At home, food was always really important. We wouldn’t really go out to eat, we would always have family meals and everyone cooked their own traditional foods. Baking, however, was never really very important at home because there weren’t any bakers among us so it wasn’t something I had experience doing.”

For someone who never really had intentions to stay in Ireland, let alone set up a highly successful wholesale baking company and bakery, she has truly seen the hard work pay off.

“My business definitely grew initially because of the amazing people I met from doing the market stall, within the industry, but also regular customers who became friends. For example, Nick’s Coffee in Ranelagh, across the road from the market, had become a regular customer and were the first place I supplied to and I still supply to them today.”

“It was such hard work in the beginning, I found myself doing more and more wholesale work, which meant I was working Monday to Friday in my office job, going home every evening at 5pm and baking until midnight and then get up at 5am and do my deliveries before starting work again at 8.30am. It was a lot of work! But the more I did it, I realized I loved the baking side of my work and hated the human resources side of it, so as soon as I had enough residency to apply for my citizenship, I did and quit my office job and began baking full time.”

Part of Caryna’s success, but also credibility in producing and delivering high quality baking to her customers and their customers, is down to her choice of clients and a commitment to quality.
“I’m very particular about who I supply to because I need to know that they are going to mind the cakes and they are not going to sell them beyond when they are good because they don’t want to make a loss on what they’ve bought. To have suppliers who are not just tempted by the profit side of it, but who care about what they are serving their customers.”

“I always felt that no one would be able to showcase my cakes better or sell them better than me. There were some places that were great, but they just didn’t have the same love of the cakes as I do to really communicate how great they are. I had always been looking for the right place to open my own bakery and I had been building the business in such a way that one day that it was going to have a shop front and window.”

Camerino Bakery is as Caryna describes it a bakery, cakery and coffee shop. The style of her cakes and food is that everything is homemade and of the highest quality.

“We try to source the best ingredients, we never use margarine and as much as we can, we make ourselves, for example, we make our own jam and butter for the scones we sell. We don’t even use stock in our soups, even natural stock. Every morning we bake fresh muffins, scones, bread and challah rolls.”

Challah rolls are Jewish recipe and are one of a few traditional Jewish breads they bake. These rolls are exclusive to Camerino, you can’t get them anywhere else in Dublin. They also use challah bread for their sandwiches on the lunch menu.

“Challah is similar to a brioche, but not as sweet and soggy. I think I decided to bake it because it is part of my heritage and also as it is a really delicious thing that you can’t really get in Dublin and I thought why shouldn’t we have it here? In Montreal, you can get it at all the bakeries and it is the most delicious bread for sandwiches. Plus it is something different.”

Camerino Bakery has a lunch menu with soups, sandwiches and salads, plus a light breakfast menu is available daily. Cookies, brownies, cakes and other treats are available in store also.

Camerino Bakery,158 Capel Street, Dublin 1.

For more on Caryna’s workshops and baking, visit:


Dee LaffanDee Laffan is a freelance food writer and editor. Formerly editor of Easy Food magazine, she has written for the Irish Independent and Sunday Independent. She is a proud supporter of Irish producers and their products, and takes part in judging for food competitions including Blas na hÉireann and the Great Taste Awards. She is a member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild and secretary for Slow Food Dublin. Twitter @deelaffan


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