I discovered the PanOli Bakery (French bakery under the Baja sun) based on a tip last November from our friends Jane and Sharon. Ever since, it has been a regular stop almost every morning we are in Loreto, Baja California Sur. I love their breads and desserts which not only make great breakfast and after dinner treats, but are also the perfect gift when making house calls to friends in Loreto Bay.
Today, on our way to the nursery in town to pick up two more plants for our courtyard area, we passed by PanOli and was disheartened to see it was still closed. On a few occasions, when we visit the bakery, we are met with disappointment. No aromas of fresh baked goods, a gate and door that is shut. It happens rarely, but is not unusual for places to be closed with no apparent reason in Loreto since many are family-owned operations.
For example, I have visited Galeria “La Media Luna” across from ADWA (where we purchased a wonderful mattress on this visit) on three occasions this trip, during the business hours posted, and was met with a locked door and no shop owner in sight. There is a sign which instructs one to ring the doorbell, but the door bell is detached from a set of hanging copper wires. Clint, being the supportive spouse, has even tried to use some of his “handyman” moves to fix the door bell so that yours truly could press it and find another source of possible home furnishings in Loreto. Alas, no avail. (Hector, if you read this, please fix the door bell so I can ring it. Mucho gracias!)
After picking up plants from the nursery, I decided we should pass by PanOli just one more time. To my absolute delight, the doors were open. Knowing this was not the case a few moments ago, I was certain I would be their first customer of the day and get the most complete selection of the morning batch. As I zipped in, Silvia, one of the owners of this charming bakery, told me that it would be just a few minutes before the breads were out of the oven.
Alas, euphoria! This would be the first time I visited when the bread was just coming out of the oven. This is “fresh” bread at its pinnacle of freshness. How would it taste? What would it be like?
I picked up a baguette, a few buns and two cinnamon rolls. After seeing the cinnamon rolls being created, I had to test one out to tell you what they tasted like. Yes, dear reader, the sacrifices I make.
With two brown paper bags full of warm goodies, we made out like bandits back to our bright red rental car. As Clint drove, I peered into the bag with the warm, soft cinnamon rolls and started to tear one apart. One bite and the fate of those little rolls were sealed.
For the rest of the trip back to Loreto Bay, Clint and I just munched on a cinnamon roll and muttered how it is the best cinnamon roll we have ever had. They were light, fluffy and had just the right amount of butter, cinnamon and icing sugar.
It was not like many of the cinnamon rolls we have tasted recently which are swimming in butter and sugar. The butter and sugar, all sticky sweet leaves nothing to crave, little for the imagination, the expression of the cinnamon roll is literal, over explained.
The cinnamon rolls created by Fabián and Silvia are clouds of flour heaven with a delicate, dreamy silver lining of cinnamon, butter and icing. One bite and they draw you in, enveloping your senses with comforting warmth. The finish leaves you craving for more. Your mind starts to form its memory of the perfect cinnamon roll only for the next bite to surpass expectations.
Yes, the fresh cinnamon roll experience is a must try when in Loreto, should you be so lucky. You need to go early, when the cinnamon rolls are coming out of the oven. Then prepare to eat them on the spot. Only then, will you experience the perfection I’ve just described. All other cinnamon rolls will seem vulgar in comparison.