Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - 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. Marta 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 the photo above is of her brother, who 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 hand made by Marta and her sister each baking day.
If you ever visit Puerto Vallarta, I will happily take you here. This is an adventure into rural Mexico that you will truly enjoy.Sandra Cesca has traveled the world, but found herself returning to Mexico more and more. She moved to Puerto Vallarta in 2008 and never looked back. She currently offers eight different Puerto Vallarta Walking Tours, which include history, architecture, culture, artisanal crafts and ecology. Her photos and articles can be found on puertovallartawalkingtours.com; sandracescaphotography.com; Instagram and Facebook. She can be contacted at sandra.learn.vallarta(at)gmail.com; or sandra.cesca.photography(at)gmail.com.