Forte Bakery: Maintaining the Ritual of Rosca de Reyes

You can’t call yourself Mexican if you don’t eat rosca de reyes,” jokes Rafa Rivera, head baker and owner of Forte Bread and Coffee in Mexico City. Distracted, he stops grating orange peel long enough to muse about the king’s cake he is making. Only 29, he already has several businesses under his belt, and is about to open a second Forte location in Colonia Juarez.

Rafa opened the flagship Forte in the Roma Norte neighborhood, serving up delicious pastries and coffee, with beans from Pólvora Coffee Roasters – where his brother Julián is the lead roaster. (In 2017, Julián won first prize in the Mexican Brewers Cup Championship with his Pólvora beans.) We’ve taken advantage of the empty kitchen at the new Forte, which will officially open on Jan 20, asking Rafa to let us sit in on his yearly tradition of making rosca de reyes ahead of Día de Reyes (Epiphany) on Jan 6.

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