Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rosca de Reyes or Bread of the Kings

All images © Valery Rizzo

I know the holiday season is behind us, but since this is my first post I thought I would share with you something that was extremely enjoyable for me this year for the Epiphany and a great find in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn. Rosca de Reyes is a traditional Spanish and Spanish American ring shaped pastry or sweet bread eaten to celebrate the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. In actuality it was originated by the french, then was adapted by Spain who later brought it to America and from there the Mexicans created their own version of it. This one here is from an amazing Mexican bakery, Don Paco Lopez Panaderia on Fourth Avenue and 37th street. It is adorned with wild cactus from Mexico, crystallized figs, cherries dyed emerald green and candied orange peel. The pastry itself is more liked a bread with just enough sweetness and a delightful citrus flavor. Yum, yum and so much fun, baked inside is a figurine which is meant to symbolize the way the son of god or the baby Jesus was hid from Herod. Traditionally you would host a gathering with family, friends and hot cocoa. Each person cuts their own slice of the Rosca. Whomever gets the piece with the figurine is king for the day and must also host the next fiesta with tamales on February 2nd, Candelaria Day.The Panaderia also sells a variety of other interesting Mexican pastries which you choose yourself by placing your selections on a tray with tongs before being rung up. Adjacent to the bakery is a take out style restaurant where you can order authentic mexican food. Hardly anyone speaks english so you really get the feeling you are the foreigner on this culinary adventure in Sunset Park.

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