Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Manu Jara, a bakery, with my gastronomy interest group. During our time there we got to learn from the the owner himself, Manuel Jara. He taught us how to make hot chocolate, what a good croissant looks like, and all about his background.
Manuel Jara’s parents are Spanish, but they immigrated to France. Jara was born in France. He studied in Escuela Cepal and the Ecole Nacionale Superieur Yssingeaux. After forming himself as a pastry-maker, he was put in charge of the pastry area of a couple of renowned restaurants, many with distinguished awards. He has worked both in France and in Spain, but is currently situated in Spain. Today he is in charge of the pastry school in Seville and has opened his own school, on top of three bakeries, and owning a pastry business that works in partnership with hotels and restaurants. He has written a book, made appearances on a couple of TV shows, and has been a consultant for many restaurants.
After talking about his background, we got to making the hot chocolate. He talked about the importance of great ingredients, because with quality ingredients and a good procedure, it is impossible for a dish to come out wrong, according to Jara. The hot chocolate was heavy, more like a dip than a liquid, making it perfect for our croissants.
I had been going to this bakery for a while, due to their delicious chocolate croissants, but enjoying croissants that Jara had just made was an even “sweeter” treat! Apparently, many French people who have visited his bakery in Seville, believe these croissants are more authentic than those in France. Jara believes that you should never eat a croissant that is more than 24 hours old, so he wakes up at 2:30 am to ensure that his customers have them fresh. A good croissant should be soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. It should be golden and fragile. A good croissant, when broken, should make crumbs rain. If your croissant does not look or behave in the aforementioned manner, it is not worthy of touching your taste buds. Now go get yourself a croissant and dip it in hot chocolate! Buen provecho!