Baker Antonio Sánchez with his 'roscones' / josele

Probably the best ‘roscón’ in Marbella

After learning the trade from his father, Antonio Sánchez founded the bakery La Duquesa two decades ago and his ‘roscones de Reyes’ are now among the most popular in the province

ESTHER GÓMEZ

With cream or truffle, custard, angel hair, meringue or half-and-half, these are the ‘roscones de Reyes’ (traditional cake eaten on Kings’ Day) made to order by Antonio Sánchez, owner of La Duquesa bakery in Marbella, which he opened on 13 December some 22 years ago.

La Duquesa has become one of the town's most renowned bakeries and one of the most highly valued in Malaga province. Every Christmas the baker prepares and sells more than 600 roscones. "It's not a lot", he says, "Especially if you compare it to the production of a large department store or a chain of bakeries.”

However, Sánchez does not mind, he is not looking to compete with giants that work with pre-baked dough, substitutes for "who knows what" as he says, and products that, although cheaper and more profitable, are probably also of lower quality. His bakery is "a small, artisan bakery" in which he is committed to "quality over quantity", a phrase which has become his motto.

Theirs is a home-made roscón made using top quality ingredients and following the classic recipe of flour, eggs, orange blossom water, sugar and orange and lemon zest for the dough; red and green pumpkin, chopped almonds and orange slices to decorate the outside.

Although their recipe for this typical Christmas sweet is based on the most traditional version, over the years, La Duquesa has made some modifications to it, incorporating different flavours for the filling or new ingredients for the final decoration as a result of experience and changes in customer tastes. For example, for the last seven years they have replaced the slices of candied orange with discs of the same fruit in syrup, which do not dry out as much and, in Sánchez's opinion “are much juicier.”