Unveiling Truths, Connecting Communities

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La Panaderia: The New Icon of Pan Dulce

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeIpeEXpC9U

San Antonio, Texas, was originally founded as the state’s first civil settlement and Spanish outpost. To this day, the city is heavily influenced by Mexican American culture, which is evident in the traditions and foods you find in the city. 

One such place is La Panaderia, and we recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the founders, brothers David and Jose Caceres, to learn more about them and their culinary offerings. 

For those of you who have never heard of pan dulce, it’s a type of “sweet bread” from Mexico that comes in hundreds of flavor variations, from cinnamon and strawberry to vanilla and La Panaderia’s own Tequila Almond Croissant. 

We asked the brothers what pan dulce is to them, and Jose explained, “Pan dulce is our biggest culinary, cultural, and bakery contribution to the world. It is to us what panettone is to Italy or Venusaur is to France. So, to us, pan dulce is a blend of cultures.” 

And thanks in large part to social media, the popularity of these pastries is once again on the rise. 

Yet, David also believes the increased interest is also due to, “The creativity of the Mexican bakery. When people think of pan dulce, they think of conchas, but actually, there is more than a thousand types of pan dulce over all of Mexico.”

In fact, there are somewhere between 500 and 1,000 variations made in Mexico today. Though La Panaderia doesn’t serve every variety, they have some of the most popular, including David’s own creation, the Tequila Almond Croissant. 

The good news for the Caceres brothers is that the bakery’s name pops up everywhere when you conduct a simple internet search for pan dulce. We wanted to know what they do that’s different from all the other panaderias in the United States, and the answer may surprise you!

“First of all, we have been working for several decades with bakers from all over the world: French bakers, German, Italian, and pretty much all over. And what we have created is that outcome, the blend of cultures that reflects all that influence. Also, we work with innovation. We push everything to the limits.”

Of course, one example of this is the tequila almond croissant, which was even a big hit with Guy Fieri when he visited the bakery during season 27 of his show. 

“It is really luxurious,” Fieri said after trying one. “There’s not too much almonds. There’s not too much sugar. It’s the right balance.”

Yet, this specialty is only one small part of their offerings. La Panadería also serves conchas, mini conchas, bear claws, sweet empanadas, oreja, many flavors of croissants, and much more.

It’s apparent that the culture of pan dulce takes a great deal of passion because so much goes into it.

“Our family, from our background,” David shared when asked where he draws his passion. “We have been baking since we were children. We were around a bakery all our lives, so that’s definitely a passion that comes from inside.”

He continued on to explain that creativity is not something that you can just wake up from bed and achieve. At times you’ll have all the inspiration needed to create things, but other times, it’s harder to attain. 

And for the Caceres brothers, travel is another place where inspiration and creativity are drawn upon. Having access to different people, books, and ideas is vital for them and really helps new ideas be born. 

Their admiration and passion for sharing their culture have gained them commercial success and social media attention. But perhaps the most impressive part is that David’s vision has helped him attain the status of Chef Ambassador to the city of San Antonio. This is one title he’s thrilled to have, as it allows him to continue his journey with the culinary traditions of his family and city. 

For now, Jose and David will continue doing what they love, which is providing their city with pan dulce and adding new creations to their menu. Next time you’re in the city, stop by and grab one of La Pandaderia’s delicious snacks, and you may just get to meet one of the brothers behind the perfection.

And one thing is for sure, what these brothers are doing is making them the go-to resource for the next evolution of pan dulce!

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