I find it hard to imagine my eating life in San Juan del Sur without Pan de Vida. The artisan bakery opened its doors in 2008 and has been turning out gorgeous breads, cookies and cakes ever since. They also run a popular line in briny rosemary focaccias (especially delicious in my view), chewy sourdough breads, plump cinnamon raisin loaves and gutsy coffee cakes.
How did we manage without it? The answer: A four hour round trip to La Colonia supermarket in Managua. Before Pan de Vida, if you lived in San Juan del Sur, that was the only way to get good quality bread.
Now all we have to do is follow the enticing scent of fresh baked bread into downtown San Juan del Sur, push open the swing doors and choose between the loaves piled high on wooden tables or arranged in wicker baskets in an antique cupboard. Even if a loaf is the only thing on your list, you’ll probably walk away with something else bought on impulse – a chocolate chip cookie maybe, perhaps cornbread or a couple of slices of carrot cake, lovingly wrapped in brown paper.
I often combine my trips to Pan de Vida with a stop at Mi Bodeguita Delicatessen, a few steps away on the other side of the road. Gorgeous brick-oven baked bread plus deli meats and fine cheeses. It’s enough to make my whole day bright.
Pan de Vida is brainchild of US expats Eric and Stephanie. The model has proved so popular among both Nicaraguans and expats that Pan de Vida franchises are starting to appear in other locations in Nicaragua. Eric designs a bespoke brick oven, trains the staff, adds a touch of his baking magic and a new artisan bakery is born.
Pan de Vida
100 meters west of the Uno gas station, San Juan del Sur
Opening hours: Mon – Sun: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tel: +505 8379 7549