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Rafael, the baker who is 'rescuing' traditional cake-making. A.M. Saanders
Cool pastry for a hot Feria de Abril

Cool pastry for a hot Feria de Abril

Seville's April fair is full of tradition, from dancing and bullfights to food and drink; one local bakery produces typical products to sweeten the festivities

Alekk M. Saanders

Seville

Friday, 28 April 2023, 18:48

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The Andalusian capital is considered a city with a long tradition and exquisite taste, both in its architecture and in its gastronomy. Cakes and pastries are a very important part of Seville's cuisine. Each bakery has its own style and speciality, but they all guarantee the highest quality in the products used and a wide variety of cakes in their showcases. However, one of the newest shops offers pastries from ancient recipes, maintaining the sweet traditions of rural Andalucía.

Tradición Repostera Molinos is located in the heart of Seville's Triana district, just a stone's throw from the famous flamenco theatre. Triana is a picturesque part of the city, on the left bank of the Guadalquivir, credited for many of the things people associate with Sevillian and Andalusian culture, such as painted ceramics and flamenco, and, since 2020, artisan pastries.

For almost three years Rodrigo de Triana Street has been flooded with new aromas that evoke the pastries of a lifetime

Rafael Cuesta, who comes from a family of confectioners, launched his sweet business after 20-year career as... an engineer.

Born in Jaén, he studied and worked in Granada, before moving to Seville to revive old, sweet Andalusian traditions. For almost three years Calle Rodrigo de Triana has been flooded with new aromas that evoke the pastries of a lifetime.

Tradición Repostera Molinos aims to safeguard the essence of Andalusian artisan cakes and pastries. He mixes old and avant-garde but respects the traditional flavours so that they do not become diluted on the palate. Preservatives or colourings are not used at all, to respect the flavours.

“I wanted to bring to Triana the sweet flavours of a lifetime of cakes that our grandmothers used to eat. My great-grandfather began the saga in 1905 working as a confectioner in Jaén and my parents continued it, keeping the recipe book intact for decades, Rafael told SUR in English.

"I used to help them, but after school went to Granada to study and then worked a civil engineer. A couple of years ago I left behind the hydraulic works and moved to Seville to 'rescue' my family's pastry-making tradition,” he added.

Baker-engineer Rafael Cuesta, Andalusian meringue and 'Fried Milk' for The Feria de Abril. A.M.S.
Imagen principal - Baker-engineer Rafael Cuesta, Andalusian meringue and 'Fried Milk' for The Feria de Abril.
Imagen secundaria 1 - Baker-engineer Rafael Cuesta, Andalusian meringue and 'Fried Milk' for The Feria de Abril.
Imagen secundaria 2 - Baker-engineer Rafael Cuesta, Andalusian meringue and 'Fried Milk' for The Feria de Abril.

Some years ago, Rafael dusted off those old recipes for traditional delicacies that he follows to the letter. 'Suspiros' (meringue kisses), 'roscos de vino' (wine rings), 'almendrados' (almond cookies) and 'bizcotelas' (a sweet filled with pumpkin pulp jam and covered with meringue) are some of the recipes the Andalusian engineer-baker in Triana follows.

His speciality is the Cristinas, made following an exclusive recipe from his grandmother. Incidentally, in April, when Seville is full of orange blossom, it would be in tune to try his 'orange cakes' - tortas de huevo y naranja.

"This week is very hot in Seville. So this dessert is a success as it is refreshing"

Rafael Cuesta

'Tortera de Triana' (Triana cake) is a typical sweet from this neighbourhood in Seville though quite difficult to find in bakeries. Rafael Cuesta added the famous Triana tortera to his catalogue of products after one of his customers came one afternoon to show him how to make it. Tortera, however, is more typical of Christmas; for the Feria de Abril Rafael is preparing a cooler sweet dish.

“The dessert 'Leche Frita' (fried milk) is eaten very cold and is creamy inside. It contains milk, flour, sugar, egg, cinnamon, lemon and vanilla. This week is very hot in Seville. So this dessert is a success as it is refreshing. People buy and take it with them to the main venue of the celebration.

In summer it is very popular too. Besides this novelty, we offer 'Sultana de Coco' (Coconut Sultana) during the week of the fair. This meringue is especially popular with the French, Polish and British visitors. Our coconut meringue is baked in the oven but is very creamy and juicy on the inside and can also be eaten cool, although at room temperature too. The coconut itself is very refreshing,” Rafael explained.

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