Mexican Bakeries Take the Cake

by | Feb 11, 2022 | Mexico | 1 comment

My Past Is Baked in – Bakeries Are Part of My DNA

I should preface this post with a disclaimer about my bakeries past:

My father is a professional baker and has been for almost 35 years. When it comes to sweets, treats, and all things gourmet, I don’t take things lightly.

With my father, I learned how to identify fruits in pastries by looking at the color of the mix. He taught me how to pronounce the pastries from France, Italy, and Mexico. I cut strawberries in the back and assembled cream puff swans more than once in middle school.

Let’s just say I know my way around the floor.

Figuring Out the Bakery Situation in Mexico

Mexican Bakery Products by Dale Hanstad (2021)
Mexican Bakery Products by Dale Hanstad (2021)

When I got to Valle Dorado, Nayarit, Mexico, I was staying in a place I found on Airbnb. My first question to the host was where the big municipal market was. She laughed and referred me to a chain grocery store a block away.

But all I wanted was a bakery (panadería).

At first, I was devastated to find out that bakery culture was teeny-tiny near Puerto Vallarta (compared to other Mexican cities). That was until I put aside my grief and ventured into the baked goods section of the store. I was in awe.

Mexican Bakery at La Mega in Bucerias, Nayarit
By Dale Hanstad

It was the bakery life I remembered nestled into the corner of the supermercadoa national chain at that!

As I got closer, I saw all the old signs. The storefront ladies wearing hair bonnets. The cookies. The pastries. The racks and scales and bread slicer. Just how I remembered. I was hooked.

A Recent Trip to the Mexican Grocery Store

Mexican Bakery at La Mega in Bucerias, Nayarit by Dale Hanstad (2021)
Mexican Bakery at La Mega in Bucerias, Nayarit by Dale Hanstad (2021)

Another confession: I eat a lot more bread than desserts these days.

I was spoiled with pastries and cupcakes as a child; the most decadent items have simply lost their allure.

I do, however, sneak in a galleta now and then (they’re like my dad’s).

Mexican baked goods are not expensive because they are a diet staple, not a luxury item as they are in parts of the USA.

Here, bakeries are a respected tradition. Cities big and small have those famed places that offer pies, cakes, cookies, donuts and rolls, breads, and baguettes.

Pan at La Mega in Bucerias, Nayarit by Dale Hanstad (2021)
Pan at La Mega in Bucerias, Nayarit by Dale Hanstad (2021)

The prices at the bakery are as good as the food.

Rolls for tortas (Mexican submarine sandwiches) are 5 to 10 pesos each (approximately 0.25 to 0.50 USD).

Pastries are less than 20 pesos (about one American dollar) unless they’re especially gourmet. Grocery store price tags are usually fair in Mexico.

If you’re worried about getting overcharged, you can always ask a local or one of our well-informed TCI-Alliance members for advice.

We’ve got the scoop for you.

How to Choose Pastries at a Mexican Bakery

In Mexico, bakeries have trays and tongs in the front. Put what you want on the tray and bring the tray to the front to pay. Some bakeries only have items behind the counter, but this is less common.

Living the Sweet Life

At the end of the day, I’m thankful that a little part of home is found in a traditional experience that is equally revered by my neighbors.

And as a child of a professional baker, I can say that Mexican bakeries certainly take the cake.

Mexican bakeries are always worth the visit. Have you ever visited a Mexican Bakery? What did you get?

by: Dale Hanstad