Friday 1 December 2023

The baguette, “the bread of the Ticos”

A pintico (gallo pinto), with bread and natilla (custard), is common to enjoy in Tico homes.

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1 December 2023 - At The Banks - Source: BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – Ticos (Costa Ricans) love bread and this can never be lacking in most Costa Rican homes, either at breakfast or in the afternoon.

The baguette is the best-selling bread in Costa Rica

Bread has so much appeal to people’s taste that October 16 was designated as World Bread Day, which is promoted by the International Federation of Bakers to crack down on this much-sought product.

La Teja took on the task of consulting several national bakers to learn of the tastes of Ticos regarding bread and they agreed by pointing out that the baguette is the one that takes the honors, be it plain or with cheese.

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The saving grace with bread is that it always saves the day when hunger strikes, as it can be accompanied with butter, natilla (custard), cream cheese, avocado, ground beans, mortadella, salami or egg, among many other combinations.

“Something very traditional is the baguette with butter, cheese and custard,” said Marjorie Paniagua, from the National Association of Confectioners, who stressed that the baguette is the favorite bread of Costa Ricans.

Another who told of the secrets of this delicious food was Don Francisco Prendas, a baker who owns the World of Cakes in Pital de San Carlos.

In this Sancarleño’s bakery, the baguette is also the best-seller and he says customers prefer them soft. According to Prendas, he can sell about 60 baguettes a day, adding that people like it with pate and cream cheese.

The bakers consulted have also noted that the taste for this bread, whose name is of French origin, prevails in the mornings, for breakfast.

“In the afternoons it is more common for people to bring sweet bread or an enchilada, so the purchase is more variable to accompany the coffee,” said Paniagua.

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A pintico (gallo pinto), with bread and natilla (custard), is common to enjoy in Tico homes. Photo: Mayela López

Prendas, for his part, said that in the afternoon the baguette is also sold, but people prefer sweet bread or some ‘bananitos’, which are sugar-dipped buns, characteristic of this place.

“Because of its freshness, consumers prefer to buy the baguette or the ‘manitas’ in the town’s bakeries, rather than in the grocery stores, to ensure that it is freshly made,” explained Guillermo Varela, CEO of GS1 Costa Rica.

Varela added that a company that distributes raw materials for baking told him that there has been an increase in bakeries in the neighborhoods, be it traditional or artisanal bakeries.

With the arrival of the pandemic, all businesses have been affected, but despite the cuts in the budgets of the Ticos, the bread has managed to remain, although many have had to vary the accompaniments.

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The bread has even been a savior for many families who were left without work, they began to make homemade bread or pastries to make ends meet.

“These ventures (homemade sales) have hit us a lot, despite this, we share advice with the homemakers and they tell us that they have been encouraged to open their businesses with those tips,” said Doña Marjorie.

For the consumer baguettes are inexpensive, some bakeries sell the baguette at 3 x ¢1000 or 2 x ¢1000.

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