Sweet pastries and baked goods are very popular in the Hispanic culture. It is a custom to eat pan dulce or sweet pastries for breakfast or late supper. Combine those sweet treats with a coffee or hot chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth and desire for this cuisine. Don’t worry about those carbs, pan dulce calories don’t count! Never had pan dulce? Don’t know where to find it? I scouted around Huntsville to bring some of my favorite finds! From Cuban pastries delivered right to your door, to the newest panaderia in town, there’s something for everyone!
Owned and operated by Karlene Nazario, Havana Bama is an online small business pastry that started as a need for owner Karlene. After moving to the Huntsville area from Miami in 2018, Karlene quickly realized she could not find those savory Cuban pastries she grew up with. This is where Havana Bama was born. Karlene immediately got to work and began learning how to make the pastelitos, pastries she struggled to find here locally. From crunchy pastelitos to croquetas de jamon (ham croquette) and soft empanadas…if you’ve had Cuban pastries, more than likely they come from Havana Bama.
When you order from Havana Bama, you are receiving more than pastelitos. While meeting with Karlene she shared how Havana Bama has helped her spread her Cuban/Miami culture and cuisine with the locals here. Most importantly it has kept her heritage alive at home. Are you ready to try Cuban pastries? Be sure to find Karlene at festivals and markets. Don’t want to wait? Reach Karlene via email by visiting her website or Instagram. The pastries will be delivered right to your door. Don’t worry about not knowing how to pronounce the names of the pastries, simply order by the name of the shapes, and Karlene will know what you want!
Named after a central state in Mexico, this is one of Huntsville’s newest authentic Mexican restaurants and should be next on your list to try some pan dulce or Mexican pastries. Asides from their popular dishes like enchiladas and Camarones del Sol (Shrimp in red sauce,) Guanajuato also has a line of desserts made from scratch by owner Karina and sweet drinks that are a nice add-on to your order. I sat down with Karina to hear all about the Mexican-inspired pastries and other sweet treats their menu includes. Let’s start with pan dulce that gets freshly delivered on a weekly basis.
You’ll find sweet bread that is authentic to Mexico. Flans and strawberry cheesecake cups are also part of the dessert menu. But if you want to try the most popular dessert, then I suggest ordering the churro cheesecake. It is delightful! Cold and hot sweet drinks like Chocolate Abuelita (hot chocolate,) cafe de la olla which literally translates to coffee made from a clay pot, lattes, American espresso, frappuccinos, and milkshakes are also included in the menu. Sugar-free options are available on frappuccinos and lattes. Come check out Mi Delicioso Guanajuato at 2818 Governors Dr.
Located inside La Fondita’s Mexican restaurant on Patton Rd, Don Botanas is a new panaderia or bakery in town! Make sure to bring some cash in case cards are not accepted. To find it, simply walk inside the restaurant and you’ll see a sign on the left side pointing you to the bakery. Walking in, you’ll be greeted by the sweet aroma of pan dulce in a traditional display of glass cases lined up against one wall. Don Botanas carries some of the most authentic pastries authentic to Mexico, like conchas. Conchas are soft, brioche texture breads with a sugary seashell-like design on top. If you spot a brown-colored bread in the shape of a pig, then you’ve met the “puerquito” (Spanish for little pigs)! The bread is often flavored with molasses and made with unrefined whole cane sugar, anise, and cinnamon. The flavor has a hint of sweetness. Last, but not least is Don Botanas best seller, donas! Doughnuts!
There’s a variation in the types. But the most popular is coated with sugar and I hear they don’t last on the shelves. Don Botanas has many more pastries, but these are just little samples of what you can find there. Make sure to visit Don Botanas during the mornings to get the freshest pan dulce. There are steps to follow when buying pan dulce at an authentic Mexican bakery.
First, you’ll need a tray and tongs, you can locate these as soon as you enter the bakery. Now, take your time and see what catches your eye. Grab your favorites and place them on the tray. When ready, make your way to the counter and hand the tongs to the cashier. He/she will place your pastries inside a brown paper bag and then a plastic one. Don Botanas also offers a small selection of Hispanic grocery items along with candy. Additionally, there are chicken and pork tamales and snack-type items available for purchase. Go check them out and let me know in the comments what pastry you enjoyed the most!
Need more options on where to find pan dulce? Check out the following:
Hispanic pastries, plus groceries and more
Hispanic bakery, plus special occasion cakes