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  • Sandra Cesca

Bread and Cookies without Ashes?

Updated: Jun 10, 2019

Marta and her family have been baking breads, cakes, and cookies for over thirty years in their wood-fired adobe oven. I first met Marta several years ago when I heard she was famous in her small Mexican town of El Tuito. I have visited her many times since then because her butter cookies are to die for. She bakes three days a week and sells out each time mostly to the townspeople. She only sells from her home which is a modest structure down a narrow cobblestone street in this 500 year old pre-Hispanic town. We walk through her living room past 50 pound sacks of flour and industrial mixers, through to the outside kitchen set up around the oven. Marta doesn’t like her picture taken so this photo is of her brother.

He builds a fire in the oven in the early morning using local pine from his neighbor. After it dies down to ashes, he takes his long-handled wooden rake and scrapes the ashes out of the oven. This is a crucial step as who wants their cookies sprinkled with ashes? The clay oven holds heat for about four hours. First in go the cakes as they take the longest to bake. Then come the bread buns and lastly the round cookies. Several dozen of each are handmade by Marta and her sister.

If you ever visit Puerto Vallarta, I will happily take you here. This is an adventure into rural Mexico that you will truly enjoy. If you want to read more about art and culture from my travels, go here. If you would like to take a walking tour with me to visit some of these interesting cultural shops then go to my Walking Tours website.

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