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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

The journey of a young Yucatecan baker from Europe to Asia and now running Soco

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At the age of 27, after spending many years abroad, Andrés Preve Carriles returned to his native Yucatán with a new passion: artisanal baking. Photo: Courtesy Soco

Andrés’ journey into the world of baking began after he moved to Spain for four years after completing a degree in finance. In Spain, Andrés discovered an approach to bread entirely different from that of his childhood, later taking an interest in pizza dough while in Italy. 

But his passion for baking did not really take off until an extended trip to Asia. While in Thailand, Andres purchased a motorcycle to travel the length of the country, eventually making his way to Cambodia and Vietnam. 

While in Cambodia, Andres encountered an English baker who introduced him to the world of bagels.

“It was in Cambodia where I first truly embraced the culture of baking and knew almost right away that this is something which would be a part of my life from then onwards,” says Andrés.

Later in Vietnam, Andrés would take on the challenge of an apprenticeship with a Polish baker specializing in sourdough, which is called masa madre in Spanish.

As anyone who has had experience with baking in Yucatán can attest, the style and ingredients found in the region are quite different from those found elsewhere in the world. Photo: Courtesy Soco

“One of the main challenges I was confronted with when returning home was the lack of additive-free grains, to say nothing of the climate, which makes baking sourdough all the more tricky,” says Andrés.

Once back in his home Peninsula, Andrés decides to start his very own bakery specializing in high-quality goods made from the best ingredients, with a Yucatecan twist.

“Don’t get me wrong, I love Mexican bread and pastry and enjoy implementing local ways of doing things with what I learned during my time abroad,” Andrés says with a smile. 

One of the most unexpected aspects of André’s journey was to return home and discover his parents’ “foodie side,” to which he had apparently been fairly oblivious beforehand. For instance, as it turns out, his father has quite the gift for cuisine, along with experience in business, which would be an invaluable asset to his new project. 

His mother, “Soco,” after whom his bakery is named, has also been extremely supportive, Neither parent ever imagined their son becoming a baker.

Soco’s specialty is its sourdough bread, though its best seller is their fresh specialty croissant. Photo Courtesy Soco

“The support I have received to pursue this passion has been such a gift, as it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to share this new facet of myself with my family.”

Soco now has two locations, in Colonia México and Santa Lucía, and produces between 500 and 600 baked goods every day, with the help of their staff of twelve bakers. Both locations also offer full breakfasts and delicious coffee to accompany their scrumptious bread. 

Soco also serves delicious cold brews and iced tea. Photo: Courtesy Soco

Andrés is also preparing to offer a sourdough baking course starting in September so that more people in Yucatán can learn about this fascinating and delicious process.  

Both locations are open daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are pet-friendly. Reservations: 999 458 2087

Online: socomerida.com

Instagram: @socomerida

Facebook: @socolapanaderia

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