Join us for a tour of the sweet bread of Mexico, Latin and South America as we take a new pastry each week to discuss and share history, our favorites, and other fun facts! Call store for availability.
This pan dulce called caracol, or snail, is blend of two store favorites – the bread of the concha and filling of the strawberry taco. There are many breads that could be (and are often in certain regions) called snails, because of their shapes – cinnamon rolls and jelly rolls, for example. We like to include the squirmy snail element inside ours! Which leads us to an interesting traditional practice on the shores of Mexico’s Oaxacan coast. Here lies a snail whose glands contain a white compound that is transformed into a brilliant purple hue when exposed to light. The indigenous people of Oaxaca, the Mixtec, have been using the liquid for centuries to dye thread for their brightly colored garments. To obtain the liquid without harming the snail is not easy. One has to squeeze the snail in such a way and return him to the rocks. And it takes 1,000 snails to color four ounces of thread! A similar snail, now extinct, found in the Mediterranean was used by the ancient Pheonician upper class for festive attire and gave rise to the term ‘royal purple.’ In Mexico the Pilocurpura pansa is in danger of extinction due to decreased ability to adhere to rocks on the shore after being milked. And now…back to delicious pastries and a warm mug in your hand!
Reference: Naegel, Ludwig & Cooksey, C.J.. (2002). Tyrian Purple from marine muricids, especially from Plicopurpura pansa (Gould, 1853). Journal of Shellfish Research. 21. 193-200.