THE HISTORY OF BREAD IN MEXICO
One of the first non-native foods introduced into New Spain was wheat, a Spanish staple and religious necessity, the only grain recognized by the Catholic Church as being suitable for the Eucharist wafer. In Mexico, eating sweet pastries for breakfast or late supper – known as merienda – is a tradition that dates back to the 16th century. It was an inventive viceroy who started a practice, which would change the way native people viewed bread. He dipped it in chocolate as he ate it, a custom that quickly caught on, and created a desire for something more delicious than simple white bread. This desire was amply fulfilled thanks to the French influence that took hold of Mexico at the end of the Viceroyalty.
The art of making pastry became popular in Mexico during the brief French occupation of the 19th Century. The country was inundated with French bakeries and Mexicans soon developed a taste for crispy baguettes and rich pastries. The French were defeated in 1862, but left behind a legacy of taste for delicious baked goods, making the Mexican baking tradition one of the most inventive in the world. The French influence in Mexico peaked in the early 1900s during the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, a great admirer of everything with French origins. Diaz sought to modernize and refine his country by replacing traditional local dishes with French cuisine.
As a result, bakeries sprouted up throughout Mexico and skilled Mexican bakers began to
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