Pita bread is the perfect and authentic accompaniment to some of the Middle Eastern dishes we enjoy eating at home, such as hummus, baba ganoush, and labneh. Until recently, we were able to buy only mass-produced pita bread in vacuum packs, from a local supermarket. We’d tried several brands of pita bread and found them dry and unappetizing. Why couldn’t we find pita bread as good as we’ve eaten in Santosha restaurant in Palma? We knew that was made in Palma de Mallorca by Mana Pan Pita.
When I heard the Eroski supermarket chain was selling fresh Mana Pan Pita, in packs of four, we hot-footed it to our local Eroski in Manacor.
Now here’s the thing: in 2004, when we were still new to Mallorca and checking out local supermarkets, the town’s small Eroski did not impress us and we didn’t shop there again.
What a pleasant surprise we had when we went to buy Mana Pan Pita: Eroski in Manacor has had a makeover at some point, and the variety of stock now impressed us. If it hadn’t been for our urge for some decent pita bread, we wouldn’t have discovered this. And not only did we buy the delicious, soft Mana Pan Pita (four pitas for 1,85 euros) , we came out with several other items that appealed to us.
About Mana Pan Pita
Naor Topaz, Mana Pan Pita’s proprietor and baker, answered questions from Eat Drink Sleep Mallorca.
Why did you start a pita bakery in Palma?
When we moved to the island, we soon realised the lack of good quality, fresh pita bread, so we decided to try and make our own.
Had you been baking pita before moving to Mallorca?
Not in a professional way; I had made some at home for us, but nothing professional.
How difficult was it to find/refine the recipe you use?
We started using a basic recipe and since then we’ve always been working on developing and improving it, either through the ingredients themselves, or through our method.
A video of the bakery on your Facebook page shows some specialist equipment for making pitas? How easy was it to source those items?
Yes, we use specialist pita-bread equipment, which was all made and designed in Israel especially for this specific type of pita bread we make. We had to import it into Spain, as it’s not available here.
How does your pan pita differ from the usual supermarket pitas in vacuum packs?
The idea of pita bread in vacuum packs came about as a logistical solution for importing pita from overseas, because of a lack of local producers. Generally speaking, bread should be sold fresh or frozen to be reheated and is not supposed to have a shelf-life of six months. The vacuum packs, combined with some preservatives, provide a solution for transport and help extend the product’s shelf life.
We believe in natural products, so we sell our pita either fresh and/or frozen. We use a shock-freezing process which keeps the bread’s texture as close to fresh as possible. Our bread is 100% natural, it doesn’t contain any preservatives. It also has a high percentage of hydration so it opens fully and easily, without crumbling, so you can fill its pocket with all your favourite fillings.
Which restaurants in Mallorca serve your pita bread?
As we mainly work through distributors we don’t know about all the restaurants that serve it. Simply Delicious by Ronen, Santosha, and Fosh’s catering division in Palma do. We know it’s on the menu at the Balneario restaurants in Playa de Palma, at Naan Street Food (Santa Catalina, Palma), and a brand-new home-made kebab eatery called Urban Kebab (Palma). It’s also served with hummus at Cappuccino’s and many others.
You sell all over Europe, including Portugal, France, Italy, and the Canaries. How did you achieve this?
As far as we know we are the only pita-bread bakery selling frozen pita in Europe, so this has given us an advantage. We have worked hard on creating a good marketing network and, through this, most of our clients found out about us and approached us themselves.
It’s now sold in Eroski in their packaging (but with your bakery name on it). Are these available in all of Spain’s more than 1,300 Eroski supermarkets and hypermarkets?
To begin with we have started working in the Balearic Islands and it’s available at 74 Eroski supermarkets in the Balearics. We hope this will work well so it will expand and all of Spain can enjoy our fantastic pita bread.
It looks as though you offer mainly wholesale, but can the public come to the bakery to buy too? If so, when?
We are wholesale, we mainly sell to the professional sector. We used to accept drop-ins at our bakery, but now we have a selling point for the general public, at Eroski, we prefer private customers to buy their pita bread there.
What, if any, expansion or development plans do you have for the next couple of years?
We are always looking to improve the quality of our bread. Some of this requires new and more modern equipment. We are also investing in the development of new bakery products and hope to launch them later this year.
What’s your own favourite way to eat one of your Mana Pan Pitas?
What I love the most about our product is that I can take a pita bread out of the freezer, at any time of day or night, and simply defrost it in a microwave or toaster and, in a matter of 30 seconds, I can enjoy a fresh pita bread as if it had just come out of the oven at a bakery.
Read more on Mana Pan Pita’s website.
Jan Edwards Copyright 2021