I have just found treasure. One of my neighbors is a pastry chef famous throughout the Azuero for her cakes. Vanessa de Cano, a lovely young Panamanian, runs her business from her home in Villas del Cerrito where she produces elegant cakes for special occasions such as weddings, baby showers, baptisms, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Such a cake, covered with fondant and white frosting and elaborately decorated, can run as much as $500, and people are glad to pay it for the quality.
Vanessa doesn’t just make expensive special occasion cakes, though. She also makes decorated cookies, fancy cupcakes, marshmallow balls (a sort of charming cocoanut coated marshmallow ball on a stick, like a 3-D lollipop) and all manner of sweets and desserts, including elaborate chocolate bon-bons. She told me a “normal” cake is about $15, but it depends on what elements are ordered.
As well known as Vanessa is for her sweets, she is equally well-known as a cooking instructor and gives classes from time to time in Chitre. If your Spanish is up to it, you might want to give them a try. Meanwhile, when you need a dessert for a party or a cake for a special occasion, or are interested in learning to cook Panamanian dishes, Vanessa can be reached by phone or email at her business, Repostería Gabriela. Vanessa speaks no English, so if your Spanish is weak you might wish to bring translating help or start by emailing with the help of the Gringo’s Friend, Google Translate.
Urb. Villas del Cerrito
6522-9812 ó 923-1722