The first war between Mexico and France took place in the 1830s and is commonly known as the Guerra de los Pasteles, or Cake War. A group of ungrateful patrons at a successful French bakery in Mexico City allegedly racked up a huge cake bill and then left the establishment without paying. Curiously enough, this is hardly a coincidence, for Mexico largely owes its rich bread and pastry heritage to French pioneers who settled here after Mexico’s independence from Spain a decade earlier.

Many of the traditional recipes remain unchanged to this day. The names of the different breads, however, can vary according to each region’s vernacular. Regardless, few can resist the sweet aromas that emanate from a panadería, or bakery, when bread just comes out of the oven. Enjoy yours for breakfast or for a merienda, or supper, with hot Mexican chocolate, coffee or a tall glass of milk.