Every morning I sit down at my desk for another day's work accompanied by two things - my pot of hot green tea with one of my grandma's coffee cups (she was a potter), and plate of peanut butter toast. Oh, and one other constant - a soft and fluffy ginger cat snoozing somewhere nearby.
But today there was a small snag in my routine - we were out of bread. I've mentioned before how much I love the fresh sourdough bread from Simuang minimart, particularly when it's hot straight out of the oven. Unfortunately though, it's usually not available until after 4pm which doesn't help my morning toast ritual.
It was fortuitous then that az had recently told me about a little bakery that sells cookies. These cookies are a fixture at his office meetings. So, I went to check it out...
The ADDP bakery works with and trains women with disabilities to make cookies. And very tasty ones at that. The 4 above were my purchases (42,000 kip, about $A7) but they have more than 10 varieties. I had probably arrived a bit early in the day and everything wasn't yet out.
ADDP is supported by Japanese development cooperation and they provide chefs from Japan, as well as expertise in production, packaging and marketing. The design on the packet references Laos's beautiful textiles and traditional prints.
When I visited, a Japanese pastry chef was there for a week to instruct the women. I nervously asked them if I could take a photo, and they delightedly gathered into a line.
The project has been operating for many years; starting with 3 recipes, they now have 10. They have also been slowly building sales and marketing networks and now supply to several Vientiane cafes and minimarts, as well as a lot of ever-hungry office meetings, apparently.
My personal vote is for the almond 'snowballs' which I happily ate with my morning tea. Soft, crumbly, almond-tinged biscuit with a generous dosing of icing sugar.
Do you sneak in cookies with your morning tea?
ADDP bakery is off Thadeua just past the Australian embassy. At the present time (Jan-Feb 2016) the road is partially closed due to sewerage upgrades and the bakery appears closed. But they have started selling wholesale to minimarts.