Beignets in Mexico? Certainement!

Sayluita, Mexico, in the state of Nayarit, is a little village full of surprises. Nestled along what is now called the Riviera Nayarit, 25 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, Sayluita has an easy, relaxed attitude that welcomes everyone. While experiencing the tranquility of the beach on our first day in Sayluita, we were approached by vendors and artisans selling silver, pottery, barbecued shrimp, tamales, macaroons, and many, many textiles.

When a young man in a Panama hat appeared we were sceptical, but of course when he told me in his quiet French accent that he was selling ‘donuts,’ I had to try them, you know, for ‘research.’ The flavors of the day were strawberry, apple, and chocolate. I purchased one of each to share with everyone. The beignets quickly became a daily treat, and our new friend Christophe became a favorite sight. My kids awaited the arrival of Chistophe with the excitement of a new Lego set; if you know 9-to-12-year-old boys you know this is BIG.

After about three days of consistently amazing beignets I asked Christophe to tell me a little about them. Christophe told me where he produced his beignets and I basically told him I would be at his shop at 1 pm to see him at work.

Arriving at La Bicyclette, I felt transported to a small independent bistro in France. In the art-filled dining room Christophe introduced Bruno. Bruno, owner, chef, bartender extraordinaire, and most importantly, creator of the beach beignets. As quiet and relaxed as Christophe is, Bruno is the showman. Passionate about great food, he gave me a quick history of his beautiful Bistro, where everything is fresh, local and made from old family recipes passed down from generations. What I found so fascinating about Bruno is that at the young age of 16 he started to travel the world. How did he fund his desire to travel? By making and selling his beignets, just as Christophe is today. The long tradition of French apprenticeships in the kitchen is alive and well in Sayluita!

The beach beignets were light with the perfect amount of filling to pastry. Flavors depend on what is available locally, but include chocolate, strawberry, mango, coconut and apple. Christophe walks the beach between four and six times a day, depending on the crowds. From our beach spot we could see that Christophe and Bruno had many fans. When I asked Bruno to share his beignet recipe with us, he scoffed, delightfully. NON! Although I explained that I would certainly give full credit to him for such a delight, I was shot down. His beignet is an old, old family recipe passed down, and he plans on only sharing it with his new apprentice to carry on the tradition.

Watching Christophe and Bruno have a little success sharing a French delight on a beach in a small village in Mexico, I found myself wondering if perhaps a beach scone could work.

Tune in next time for a review of our dinner at La Bicyclette.

Andrea Charroin was a trained baker and pastry chef in San Francisco before she and her family moved to Redding 11 years ago. After falling in love with Redding’s downtown, Andrea and husband Westley opened a little pastry shop, Rene-Joule Patisserie, across from the Cascade Theatre. For the three years Rene-Joule was in business, it was renowned for making everything from scratch, using the best ingredients and keeping with a seasonal menu. To this day, Andrea is asked about her Marathon Bars, Orange Twists and sourdough bread.

Copyright 2009 Andrea R. Charroin. Visit her blog at bakerslove.typepad.com

Andrea Charroin

Andrea Charroin is a trained baker and pastry chef. She worked in San Francisco before she, her husband, Westley, and their two sons moved to Redding. They fell in love with Redding’s downtown and opened a little pastry shop, Rene-Joule Patisserie.

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