The fact that I actually opened my own bakery last week is still very bizarre. It makes me think back to my previous career as a teacher. After volunteering in classrooms in college, and working as an assistant while getting my teaching certificate in grad school, I was always under someone else’s purview. As much free reign as I might be given, as much independence I may have earned, it was still always someone else’s classroom. When I finally became a real, honest-to-goodness teacher and had my very first class, it was unreal. “I’m the one the students go to first when they need something?” “I get to make all the decisions?” It took some getting used to.
Fast forward seventeen years, and there’s very little difference. I went to pastry school. I worked as a newbie in a bakery. I worked as a slightly more experienced baker at the next job, where I was given more respect and latitude. I got my first recipe on the menu (just like teaching my first lesson as an assistant). Eventually I even got to be part of the opening of a bakery, hiring staff, designing the schedule (just like student teaching). And now…now!…I actually have opened the doors of a bakery I created myself – although with plenty of input and assistance from others – and I still don’t quite believe it.
While Memorial Day weekend isn’t really a thing here, I kind of had an American-style celebration anyway. On Sunday, I headed out towards the area called Escuintla to a private finca (coffee plantation) called Finca El Zapote. While no longer an actual coffee plantation, it is now open to the public either by renting out one of the guest houses on site, or during their infrequent public days.
On this particular weekend, my friends Marina and Lico had arranged for one of the large guest houses for the weekend. Everyone was invited to come out Saturday and spend the night, or just visit for the day on Sunday. Due to Caoba – and lack of transportation – Saturday was out for me. But fortunately, some people heading out on Sunday morning had an extra seat in the car for me and off we went.
I had heard that it was important to have 4×4 vehicles to get there, especially during the rainy season. While the destination was only about 15 miles from Antigua, the last third of it (by distance) was over unpaved, rocky, bumpy roads. And you’d also need to cross some small rivers. It turned out that there were four rivers to cross, and we were fortunate it hadn’t been too rainy lately. Here’s our car crossing the fourth and final (and deepest) river:
After my third straight Caoba Farms Saturday Market, I spent a good portion of Sunday relaxing. I read, I cleaned up, and I did a little bit of prep for the week. Then, I went out exploring.
Carrot Cake pastry at Ganache.