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Sweet Heartbreak: Texas’ pastry problem leaves chefs unsatisfied

Photo: ESSENTIALS210, License: N/A

ESSENTIALS210

Claudia Treviño practices piping in her cake decorating class.


“I tried looking for a pastry position here in town, no one really had a dedicated pastry chef or cook, so I tried to pitch myself to these restaurants, but that’s difficult in this town,” Ng said while adding that pastry cooks are often asked to jump on the line or garde manger and prepare salads.

“The scene has changed since we first started the farmers market. … It’s paid off balking against the … people suggesting we do Mexican pastries,” Ng said.

Although Treviño’s San Antonio ties are strong (she teaches flamenco five days a week at the Lou Hamilton Community Center and the Berta Almaguer Dance Studio), she could follow the path of fellow pastry lover Elise Broz. As owner of her own event-planning company, Inspired Occasions, and pastry chef for Biga on the Banks, Broz’s resume is riddled with internships and jobs along the East Coast and abroad in London and Switzerland.

“There’s not a lot of good pastry jobs available (here),” Broz said, “but it’s so exciting to be here right now. It’s an exciting time in San Antonio’s food scene.”

If the familiar pulls of San Antonio can’t be quieted, Treviño could stick with chocolate and follow the path set out by Janie Romo, owner of Ms. Chocolatier, who made it to the Culinary Institute of America-Hyde Park at the age of 45. And yes, she spent a year living in dorm rooms. Ms. Chocolatier supplies chocolate goods to Hotel Valencia and Hotel Havana out of a rented commercial kitchen, along with cranking out a slew of toffees and barks for individual clients. Although the shop closed its brick-and-mortar location on Main in August, Romo and son Jason can still be found on Saturdays at the Pearl Farmers Market.

“Since my parents are small business owners, I feel like that’s a good fit for me,” Treviño said while adding that she’d love to open her own ice cream parlor or donut shop at some point. “I don’t want to do that right away because I don’t have that much experience working for somebody else yet.”

Beyond Mi Tierra

Even as the pastry scene in the city continues to evolve, we can’t forget about the conchas. One of San Anto’s selling points is the abundance of Mexican bakeries offering favorites like pan dulce and empanadas. These bakeries, such as the storied Mi Tierra Bakery (recently visited by Kanye West), offer traditional delicacies that go beyond the customary gingerbread pigs, all for eye-poppingly low price points. Here’s three to try:

Bedoy’s Bakery (803 W Hildebrand, (210) 736-2253, bedoysbakery.net) has operated for 50 years, offering multigenerational patrons authentic cakes, cookies and specialty items like their famous pan de muerto for Dia de los Muertos. While their blink-and-you’ll-miss-it location in a strip center leaves a lot to be desired, their uber-fresh baked goods have a worldwide following.

La Panadería, currently found at the Quarry Farmers and Ranch Market (255 E Basse, (210) 624-9986, lapanaderia.com), is a concept by the Cacéres brothers who worked in their mother’s bakery as children. Inspired by the traditions learned from mama, the two initially started their bakery in Mexico City. Now they bring natural ingredients in their flaky sweet almond croissants, pan de agua and baguettes to San Antonio. A permanent location at 8305 Broadway should open in early spring.

Panifico Bake Shop (602 NW 24th, (210) 434-9290, panifico.com) started more than 40 years ago as a small panadería on the corner of 24th and Morales and has grown into a business able to cater to large business events. The shop, now owned by Edna Miggins, combines traditional and contemporary breads, cakes, pies and tarts that taste as good as they look—and they look damned good, just take a gander at their beautiful specialty cakes for weddings, quinceañeras and Día de los Muertos. Panifico’s large selection of daily breads like pan de huevo, doughnuts, campechanas and pan fino keeps regulars coming back. –Janae Rice

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