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In Focus

I’m beyond elated about a new bakery...a Mexican bakery...that has opened locally.

Growing up in southern California exposed me to many cultures. It was so normal for me to see and experience many things that I do not find here. When I moved here, I didn’t realize what was readily available to me until it was gone.

I grew up in a predominately Hispanic community. We celebrated Cinco-de-Mayo at school, each grade performing a classic dance, such as the hat dance. And the food was next level. Tamales were commonplace as well as their delicious sweet treats that I truly miss.

Recently, a Mexican bakery opened in Wadena. You have no idea how excited I was. I saw pictures of their goods from sweet breads to empanadas and my eyes started welling. I was staring at my childhood seeing freshly baked items I haven’t had in a long time. So I made it a mission to stop in.

I couldn’t have been happier staring at the cases filled with tasty treats from my childhood. I got my empanadas and sweet bread. As I browsed I realized something...some of the other people checking out the goodies probably had no idea what they were looking at. It dawned on me that many of the locals haven’t ever had this type of business available in the area.

I tried to explain some of the basic items to the other customers...

Mexican Sweet Bread or “Conchas” as they are actually called is one of my favorite things on the planet. They are vibrantly colored sweet bread—sometimes bright red, blue, yellow, or white. As the name says, it is a sweet bread, but it’s not overpowering. To me, it is less sweet than a doughnut and extremely tasty. The frostings can be flavored, but again it’s not too sweet. The frosting is cookie dough and the pattern looks like a seashell. Concha translates to a seashell. I believe the colors have different meanings. I bought six of that should clue you in on their tastiness. They are probably the most common, staple item of Mexican bakeries.

Then we have empanadas. They are essentially a turnover and are typically filled with fruit and baked. But they can also be filled with meats and fried or baked. If you like turnovers, you will like them. And you bet I picked some up!

One of my favorite cakes is Tres Leches, which translates to “three milks”. This is basically a milk-soaked sponge cake. If you ever had a better-than-sex cake or a poke-and-pour cake, that’s what I would compare a Tres Leches cake to. The milks are usually sweetened condensed, evaporated and whole milk. So it is light, sweet—but not too sweet, creamy and addicting. It’s even better with some fresh fruit on top. This is your only warning: once you try one, you will want more. It’s probably not a good idea if you are lactose intolerant like myself—but that didn’t stop me!

There are many other goodies. Some things may look out of the ordinary, but I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the taste. If you are unsure, ask the bakers to explain. Try something new. You won’t regret it.

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