This bakery has Ferdinand and Isabella rolling over in their expensive graves—and not just because they can’t sample its delectable offerings. Herminia’s Bakery in Ribadavia, Spain, showcases some of the oldest Sephardic Jewish sweets recipes in circulation.
It started in the 1990s when a group of Canadian Sephardic Jews put on a concert in this small town with deep Sephardic roots. Baker Herminia Rodríguez was tasked with baking them a welcoming spread of Judaic sweets. Her guests were smitten by her show of goodwill and, upon returning home, began sending her the oldest Sephardic recipes they could find. The flattering gesture set off a chain reaction among Jewish culinary historians the world over and, soon enough, Rodríguez was flooded with hundreds of Sephardic recipes that survived the Spanish Inquisition. Her bakery was never the same.
Today, Herminia’s Bakery is a haven of nearly extinct sweets, featuring hazelnut ghorayebah (butter cookies), walnut kamisch (biscotti-esque cookies), and almond kupferlin (crescent cookies). The array of niche sweets has made her tiny shop a destination for globe-trotting Jews the world over, who’ve gone on to send the shop postcards from their far-flung travels, occupying one wall of the charming bakery. The rest is decorated by a mash-up of Jewish and Christian curios. Tolerance has a place here in this obscure bakery, and so does your sweet tooth.