Rosca de Reyes in San Diego

Tuesday, January 4, 2005, 15:58 —by oso
This item was posted in Food, Restaurants in San Diego, General category and has 5 Comments so far.

On my own blog I have started to translate posts from Latin American and Spanish bloggers to try and narrow the linguistic divide in the blogosphere. It occurred to me that I should do the same here on San Diego Blog. Though to the best of my knowledge there are still (sadly) no blogs written in Spanish and based in San Diego, we do have a few quality online Spanish weeklies; one of which is Enlace, published by the Union-Tribune (like everything else in this county).So I’ve decided to translate last week’s cover story about a popular Mexican pastry, La Rosca de Reyes, which is baked and enjoyed every year on January 6th, El Día de los Reyes Magos, or the Day of the Holy Kings. The North County Times has also written an article about La Rosca de Reyes and a teacher from Camp Pendleton has posted a recipe if you would like to make your own. Here is my tranlation of the article:

Be Careful with the Child

The Popularity of La Rosca, a sweet bread roll, is increasing

by Norma de la Vega

Kizzy Ávila está feliz porque es la época de comer rosca. Y su familia tiene una panadería que las prepara desde hace más de 20 años. David MaungLa Rosca de Reyes, or bread roll of the kings, is a Mexican tradition that gains followers every year; and it’s not just Latinos doing the eating.

Just ask the bakers at Panchita’s Bakery in Golden Hill who are going to prepare more than 3,500 roscas for this 6th of January. [the day of Los Reyes Magos]

Perhaps it’s the fluffy texture and smell of the bread that captivates the customers. Or just as easily, the necessary excuse to not yet break the togetherness of the new year. But the custom of snacking on hot chocolate and Rosca sweet bread is adding weight fo the overweight here in the United States.

La Rosca de Reyes varies between a small roll for 9 persons at nine dollars to the largest which takes care of more than 30 and costs 36 dollars.

The rise of Mexican bakeries is a phenomenon occurring throughout San Diego County.

Kizzy Ávila, daughter of the owner of Panchito’s has grown together with the business. “I was 4 years old when I would fall asleep between the bags of flour,” said Ávila, now 26.

It was her mother, Maria Cruz Ávila from Tijuana, who at 23 years of age, opened the first Panchita’s Bakery at 2519 C. Street in San Diego. It was there that she baked just a couple of roscas.

It began with just one baker and now the small bakery counts 13 workers and amongst them, various bakers.

Actually, she now has four bakeries and [this] summer they plan to open number five on Euclid and University.

The first location is a site where poeple of all ethnicities come and go with a little plastic bag of bread in their hand. They take conchitas, orejas, empanadas, or bolillos and each piece costs between 45 cents to one dollar.

“Have you tried this bread!” said an American that took with him five paper bags fulls of break last Monday.

Panchita’s Bakery is a successful business all year. There are no down times; they sell the same in summer as winter. For Mexican sweet bread can be consumed no matter what the climate or mood. But the day of the Holy Kings sets itself apart.

The daughter said that three days before January 6th she begins to bake the roscas with all they can give. They work all day and night and on the special day, they always sell out.

Juan Delgado is a twenty year old baker working at Panchita’s. He said that the rosca made there is in the Guadalajara style. It contains two types of dough. One that is confectionary and the other, a yeast. The dough is prepared with flour, eggs, a pinch of salt, cinnamon, and shavings of orange peel.

The rosca is then filled with guava, quince, walnuts, plums, and raisans. The top is adorned with lines of red and green jelly and baked inside the bread are one or two plastic figurines.

La Rosca de Reyes is part of the Christian tradition that the Spaniards brought to Mexico.

The custom of reuniting on the night of January 6th started in the Middle Ages in Europe. It was in this time when they hid a lima bean and whoever found it was to present the Niño Dios [baby Jesus] to the nearest church on February 2nd.

But in Mexico, the custom has been transformed and whoever finds the small plastic figurine in their slice makes the tamales on the Dí de la Calendaria; which is to say, February 2nd.

In San Diego, because of the intense daily routine, not all Mexicans have become accustomed to celebrating the arrival of the Holy Kings. But what is occurring is that every day, there are more people from every ethnicity that buy a rosca.

There are also many Mexicans that share the rosca with their co-workers.

And so it is, the tradition of eating Rosca de Reyes imposes itself among the people, in spite of the cultural differences, the daily routine, and financial difficulties.

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5 Responses to “Rosca de Reyes in San Diego”

  1. ChrisN said on Tuesday, January 4, 2005, 17:09

    Cool, thanks for that, Oso. Panchita’s is the biz. Have to watch myself there, everything is really tasty for a reason.

  2. Yvette L. Cooper said on Wednesday, January 5, 2005, 9:43

    I’ve always had a great time celebrating January 6, three kings day or the last day of the Christmas season, with sharing the Rosca de Los Reyes. Unfortunately, I’ve never had much luck in getting any of the tiny plastic dolls which are baked into the sweet bread. According to tradition, the lucky person who gets a doll in their piece of bread has to host a dinner for the group. The Rosca is absolutely delicious.

  3. Beckie said on Wednesday, January 5, 2005, 13:29

    Yummy, I’m going to have to stop there on my way home from work and check
    it out.

  4. Louis Serna said on Saturday, November 25, 2006, 13:41

    I hope I’ve stumbled across a real primo..! I have a blog that I think would be of interest to my many Hispano primos in California, S.A., et al…! I would love to hear from some of my Serna primos and others by way of my blog, but I don’t know where (or how) to post in your area. Can you help me with this? I would really apreciate it… Thanks.

    Louis Serna

  5. Susan said on Tuesday, December 18, 2007, 11:34

    We love this celebration. Generally my husband goes to TJ to get the bread, we may try making our own this year. Do you have any resources for purchasing the figurines that go in the bread?



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