How far would you walk for a chocolate croissant? In my case, as it turns out, it’s 10 kilometres. My croissant pilgrimage began when I received a note via iTunes that Pan y Chocolat, a bakery listed in my Puerto Escondido Travel Essentials app, had closed. Their doors were shut and there was no forwarding address. Owned by an expat Swiss couple, the beloved panaderia located on the busy Costera Highway 200, produced croissants as flaky and buttery as you’d expect to find in Paris. Croissant lovers wanted to know. Had Pan y Chocolat closed? Had the owners been overcome by highway exhaust fumes and been forced to shut their shop? I set out to investigate.
Based on a rumour the bakery had relocated further into La Punta neighbourhood, I set out walking from Manzanillo Beach at around 10:00 am. After pausing to chat with Gina in the Tourist Information Booth, I walked along the sandy beach of Playa Principal past a flurry of fishing boats and beyond the body-boarders of Playa Marinero. By the time I reached Zicatela Beach, the sun was high in the sky and I began to wish I had an umbrella or even a portable palm tree for shade. But after a brief stop to cool off in a tidal pool, I could finally see La Punta, the rocky outcropping at the eastern stretch of Zicatela beach. I then turned onto the main street, mingling with backpackers, surfers and others heading out for breakfast.
After fortifying myself with an Aussie Meat Pie at El Lugar Restaurant & Bar, I scouted about for telltale signs of the boulangerie – such as people toting baguettes or, perhaps a croissant or two. With no pastry in sight, I headed up the sandy road to continue my hunt. Finally, at the corner of Justa Salvador and Alejandro Cardenas Peralta there it stood. The sign I’d been looking for.
“You moved?” I blurted to Reno the owner, who was putting a few lone croissants out for sale.
“Yes, there was too much traffic in our old location,” he said. “Much more pleasant here. Our customers love it.”
So it seemed. There were just three croissants, a loaf of bread and one chocolate croissant left.
“I’ll take them all,” I said.
In case you’re wondering why there’s no photo of the chocolate croissant, I had to eat it there on the beach to fuel myself for the journey home.