Baladini's baladi pizza is Cairo's finest pie, with rural talents, local ingredients, and Italian skill!
Monarchy or not, our fellaheen (farmers) have always had the short end of the stick. Urban sprawl and freshwater shortage don’t begin to skim the surface; their calamity finds its roots in bad policies, even worse government, and unfair commercial practices.
Nawaya, a non-governmental organisation, is working to mitigate the catastrophic consequences Egypt’s rural communities have had to suffer by promoting sustainable agriculture and productive farming practices. Baladini is an initiative deeply rooted within Nawaya’s core values: empowering rural communities and improving their livelihoods, and what better way to strengthen a community than to strengthen its women?
It wasn’t long before they put two and two together; “we realised that where you can really boost incomes is by taking their raw products and turning them into processed goods, because then you sell it for a lot more and also you increase a product's shelf life,” Baladini Co-Founder Brendon Johnson tells us. “Nawaya had been working on a project with baladi (Egyptian for local) chicken and it was during wheat season; we went over to Om Abdallah’s house and we were trying to think of products that they can make using the eggs and the wheat, and they came up with pasta and pizza!”Baladini rolled in at The Greek Campus on Monday afternoon and we were the first to greet them with big smiles and even bigger mouths; exclusively Egyptian products and exclusively Egyptian labour came together to give the city its finest pizza pie! “We call it baladi pizza; all of the toppings are locally sourced, and it’s not like any other pizza you’ll ever taste. We don’t use mozzarella; we only use our in-house fala7y cheeses, like Bakheero cheese – which is like a full fat buffalo milk cheese – as well as Gameed and Roumy cheeses,” Johnson explains.Baladini is guilt-free pizza; it creates opportunities and directly contributes to the growth of our rural communities, which have long been disenfranchised and excluded from the country's economic boom - you know, when we had one. It's healthy, artisanal, and fair, as Johnson would tell you; but, most importantly, it's putting the talents of so many women and farmers to good use in the most mind-blowingly delicious way. So damn fala7y good!
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