The Candy Facet of San Miguel

By Brooke Bell

It’s commonplace for Brian Hart Hoffman and I to journey along with one objective in thoughts: to search out the best-baked items an space has to supply. For this journey to San Miguel, we have been joined by our photographer, Kyle Carpenter. As we drove by the slender cobblestone streets within the historic middle of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, I used to be overstimulated in one of the best of the way. There’s nothing I like greater than seeing and discovering locations for the primary time, and I had excessive expectations for San Miguel. It’s one in every of Brian’s most-loved spots on this planet, and my mom has fond recollections of her go to with mates a decade in the past. Plus, we had our new buddy and native information, Jose De Anda, by our aspect giving us a crash course in all issues San Miguel, together with its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Web site.

The unassuming exteriors of casas and companies are painted in various sundown shades of rust, sienna, and gold. However don’t let the straightforward façades idiot you. When you enter their elaborate picket doorways, typically adorned by ornate hand tits, you’ll discover serene interior courtyards good for having fun with the delicate local weather of San Miguel.

As you wander concerning the pedestrian-friendly metropolis, you’ll shortly study that instructions are primarily based on proximity to the towering pink Parroquia San Miguel Arcángel. This neo-Gothic church was in-built 1709 and sits adjoining to El Jardín, a tree-lined sq. with loads of shaded benches to take a seat and watch the bustle. Right here, mariachi bands play, joyous marriage ceremony parades (callejoneadas) go by, and mojigangas, tall puppet-like figures, pose for photographs. On daily basis really looks like a celebration in San Miguel. Papel picado, tissue-paper flags, dangle throughout streets, and colourful ribbons and flowers adorn the doorways of companies and point out them as such.

San Miguel is thought for its thriving artwork scene, and the crisp daylight has drawn artists right here for many years. You possibly can’t stroll far with out passing an artwork gallery. The place there’s artwork, there’s tradition. And the place there’s a deep appreciation of tradition, there’s all the time meals. Meals and baking are on the very soul of San Miguel.


Panadería La Colmena, also referred to as the Blue Door Bakery, dates again to 1898, making it one of many oldest bakeries in Mexico. Upon coming into, regulars know to select up a metallic tray by the door and use tongs to hand-select from the greater than 100 totally different breads and cookies which are made every day. Selecting is difficult when the baking pans are overflowing with elotes, a conventional Mexican candy bread that’s scored on high and sugared; niño envuelto, a jelly roll-style cake typically topped with sprinkles that children love; and cinnamon sugar-covered orejas that resemble French palmiers. Within the nook, yellow carts are piled excessive with bolillo, an oval-shaped on a regular basis desk bread.

Third-generation proprietor Don José Antonio Rayas instructed us we have been welcome in his “house” as he invited us to see his kitchen, the place an unimaginable workforce of bakers combine giant portions of
pan dulce dough earlier than shaping and loading it into the ovens, one in every of which is 55 years previous. Whereas one baker glazes pans of cinnamon rolls (they bake 70 pans a day!), one other dusts confectioners’ sugar onto horn-shaped, cream-filled barquillos.

Whenever you go to La Colmena, you’ll really feel proper at house, too, and also you’ll be again every day desirous to style much more of the bakery’s scrumptious baked items.

Relox, 21
Zona Centro


Petit Four house owners Norma Guerrero and Paco Cárdenas met in faculty, the place they shared a love of meals and commenced baking and promoting desserts. After graduating and learning below a pastry chef in Mexico Metropolis, they selected historic San Miguel as the perfect location to open a bakery. That was 25 years in the past, and right now, they nonetheless have among the similar prospects as they did on opening day.

With a bakery counter, kitchen, and café space surrounding an interior courtyard with dappled daylight and colourful paintings, Petit 4 is the type of place to linger over a café con leche and almond croissant within the morning and keep for lunch.

On the menu for the reason that starting is Petit 4’s well-known Chocolate Truffle Cake. Skinny layers of sponge cake are brushed with easy syrup earlier than being coated with chocolate ganache. Whereas the towering cake seems to be decadent and is, it’s additionally extremely gentle. This beloved cake has change into a birthday custom for many individuals who reside in San Miguel, and it might actually be our birthday cake of selection if we lived right here.

Different standouts at Petit 4 embody tres leches cake, marble cake, and a Mexican pie made with xoconostle (the bitter fruit of a cactus) and frangipane filling. Paco additionally teaches cooking courses at his house outdoors of city and graciously shared his do-it-yourself tortilla recipe with us. Whereas we are able to’t replicate his excellent tortillas as a result of his use of domestically sourced elements, this simple recipe is an in depth second.

Jesús 2-B
Zona Centro


A feast for all of your senses, a stroll by the Mercado Ignacio Ramírez y de Artesanías can’t be missed. Stalls are full of brightly coloured marigolds, piles of dried chile peppers, recent produce, road corn, tacos, tortas, and a lot extra. In all places you flip, there’s vibrancy and scrumptious road meals. Hold winding by the primary mercado till you get to the Mercado de Artesanías. That is the place to purchase jewellery, crafts, clothes, milagro folks artwork, and otomi, the long-lasting colourful embroidered textiles.

Lucas Balderas S/N
Zona Centro


Nestled within the coronary heart of the Zona Centro, the rambling Casa de Sierra Nevada, a Belmond
Resort, is ready amongst a number of Seventeenth- and 18th-century buildings. Round each charming nook, you’ll discover spots to tuck away, in addition to trickling fountains, courtyards, and luxurious foliage. We have been invited for a particular sundown dessert-tasting on the resort’s rooftop terrace with an intimate view of the grand Parroquia and mountains within the distance. The pastry workforce, led by Brenda Puente, proudly introduced one in every of nearly each dessert served on the resort’s eating places.

The good Tres Leches Parroquia was ready with communion wafers bought from the nuns of the church. The Chocolate and Bone Marrow dessert was creatively introduced in a pretend bone and full of smoked panna cotta. We additionally feasted on conventional churros with a chocolate dipping sauce, Oaxacan chocolate mousse cake, sticky toffee pudding, and macarons to call a number of. Go for cocktails and dinner. Keep for dessert.

Hospicio 35,
Zona Centro


We visited San Miguel in mid-October, simply earlier than Día de los Muertos on November 1–2. On this particular vacation, life and loss of life are celebrated all through Mexico, and households create elaborate altars to honor the deceased. These altars are full of flowers and the favourite meals of family members, together with pan de muerto, or bread of the useless. This seasonal bread is plentiful in bakeries throughout October and November.

Carina, the pastry chef on the stylish new Resort Amatte Group that sits excessive above San Miguel, welcomed us into her kitchen to organize pan de muerto by hand. Pan de muerto is made out of a dough enriched with butter and sweetened condensed milk, and Carina provides grapefruit zest to taste hers. The enduring shaping consists of a spherical base that represents the circle of life and loss of life.

A smaller dough circle is baked on high and signifies the cranium of the deceased, and the strips of dough that seem like a cross depict bones and tears. After baking, pan de muerto is completed with melted butter and a beneficiant dredge in granulated sugar for an irresistible crunch.

The Amatte Group was constructed utilizing sustainable supplies principally primarily based on chukum,
a limestone-based stucco combined with resin from chukum bushes, semi-hardwood thorny bushes native to the Yucatán. Make sure you go to Amatte for a sundown cocktail or tequila at one in every of its many outside bars and eating places. The view is gorgeous and so is the resort property.

Salida Actual a Querétaro 168
Zona Centro



Pastry chef Marc Misseri is a power within the San Miguel baking neighborhood, and to step into his Panio Atelier is to step right into a bustling workshop the place the artwork of baking is perfected and celebrated. A 3rd-generation baker from an Italian-French-Mexican household, Marc started his journey as a baker in Mexico Metropolis earlier than retiring in San Miguel. After realizing there wasn’t any superb bread within the metropolis, he determined to open a small bakery. And with that, folks got here in search of his bread. There’s a line each day for his sourdough boules; baguettes crafted with such precision that you would be able to hear the crunch whenever you break open a loaf; garibaldis, small pound cake-like treats which are glazed with apricot jam and rolled in sprinkles; and conchas—however not simply any conchas; you’ll discover them with crackled sugar tops of vanilla, chocolate, and orange.

Marc didn’t cease with bread and his San Miguel outpost. He solid a path to change into a way of life, with bakeries elsewhere within the metropolis and all through Mexico.

Salida a Celaya 69
Zona Centro
(further places all through Mexico)


Half bar, half bakery, and half café, Cumpanio interprets to “with whom you share bread.” And there’s no higher place in San Miguel to share a concha, sip on a glass of crisp native wine, and watch the world go by by doorways flung open to the energetic Zona Centro. Right here, you possibly can take pleasure in a concha con nata, the place the pan dulce is break up and full of cream. (Flip to web page 107 for our Concha con Nata adaptation.)

This sister location to Panio Atelier options its unimaginable baked items in an surroundings that’s all the time buzzing. Cease in for brunch, lunch, or a day reprieve.

Correo Avenue, 29, Nook with Recreo
Zona Centro



Step contained in the inviting Terraza-Trinitate to search out a formidable number of ceramics, from vases to curiosities, serving items, and dinnerware. This can be a excellent spot to purchase presents, and don’t fear, they ship!

Cuna de Allende 10
Zona Centro


We love the rooftop terrace of Atrio for an extended lunch or dinner. The views overlooking the Parroquia can’t be beat, and the menu options impressed meals with a worldwide viewpoint. Don’t miss the soft-shell crab tacos.

Cuna de Allende 3
Zona Centro


Cease in Candies Johfrej C&V for a style of its small- batch, handmade-in-San Miguel truffles that use solely the best Mexican chocolate. Elvira Villaseñor started making the confections greater than 100 years in the past in Mexico Metropolis, and right now, her legacy is carried on by her household. Along with truffles, you can too sit and sip scorching chocolate and occasional.

Jesús 2A
Zona Centro


Sure, the title is The Restaurant. However this isn’t simply any restaurant. Right here, you’ll discover the brainchild of proprietor and San Miguel meals pioneer Donnie Masterton. After working as a chef within the US, most not too long ago in Los Angeles, California, Donnie discovered himself reenergized after shifting to San Miguel, and he’s been instrumental in bringing the native farming neighborhood collectively.

Sollano 16
Zona Centro


Viñedos San Lucas is the proper excuse to get outdoors of San Miguel and see the attractive rolling hills that encompass the town. You possibly can take pleasure in lunch on the terrace that’s nestled amongst vineyards and lavender gardens in full bloom, and keep for a vineyard tour and tasting. Our favourite wine is the La Santísima Trinidad San Miguel de Allende Blanco, which we ordered each time we noticed it on a menu. Santa Catalina, its new brother property, encompasses a fabulous restaurant and luxurious lodging.

W88P+7G San Miguel De Allende,
Guanajuato, Mexico


If you happen to fly out and in of León, be looking out for this copper stand on the aspect of the highway close to La Sauceda. You’ll discover some nice items at unbelievable costs. Make sure you depart room in your checked baggage in your purchases. Brian and I discovered the exhausting method that copper can’t be taken on board in a carry-on.