Day Trips

Bulverde Bakery has been satisfying the sweet tooth of residents north of San Antonio since 1988 with great success. Their sausage kolaches have been legendary almost since the tiny shop first opened. But now the new owners have added a cake that promises to really put the Comal County village on the map.

Frank and Martha Edwards bought the bakery last September to produce their Pastel de los Tres Leches cake. Made from an old Mexican recipe, the cake is like a sponge cake and is made from three milks -- cream, condensed milk, and evaporated milk. "It is very moist, but not real sweet," Frank said.

Born and raised in Argentina, the couple immigrated to California 20 years ago. They ended up in San Antonio a couple of years ago, where Martha started selling the three-milk cake to local restaurants. Demand for the cake "took off like crazy," Frank said, "it really surprised us."

Currently, the bakery delivers the cakes to 40 restaurants in San Antonio, two in Austin, and is looking to expand to Houston's Mexican food restaurants. A recent article in a San Antonio newspaper called the cake so fattening that you can gain two pounds just reading about it. "But people don't seem to mind," Frank said, "because it is so good."

Frank says that many days the village old timers, who he calls "the city council," come by the bakery to spend the morning drinking coffee and eating pastries while they tell bad jokes and trade gossip.

Even with the success of the Tres Leches cake, the bakery's kolaches are still very popular, especially the sausage-wrapped kolache. Often called a "pig in a blanket," the sausage-, cheese-, and jalapeño-filled pastry is a favorite. "The kids come in and ask for a `pig'," he said.

Frank explained that there are two kinds of kolache -- Czech and Polish. The Czech kolache is served open-faced and usually has a sweet filling. Polish kolaches are little rolls with a filling that often includes meats and vegetables. A recent customer from Bosnia told Frank that in Eastern Europe "kolache" simply means pastry. A similar thing happens with the usage of with the word "pastel" in Spanish. In Mexico it means cake, in Argentina it means pie.

Besides the Pastel de los Tres Leches and kolaches, the bakery also sells cinnamon rolls, croissants, cake donuts, and on Saturday and Sunday they offer breakfast tacos. Frank said originally they were looking for room to make their cakes, but the bakery business took over.

About 10 miles north of San Antonio off of US281, Bulverde was settled in 1850. The post office came to downtown Bulverde in 1880. In 1940, the population of the town was 100 and had dropped to 26 in 1990. But commuters from San Antonio built houses at a rapid pace. The few commercial buildings that remain of the town also house Gary-O's Restaurant (210/438-4166) and the Bulverde Antique Emporium. Although most of the town's businesses have moved to the highway, the community still has its own airstrip and newspaper.

The bakery is open Tuesday-Friday, 6:30am-1pm; and Saturday & Sunday, 7am-1pm. To place an order, call 210/438-4533. "It's a worth the trip [from Austin] to taste the Tres Leches cake," Frank said. "It's like a Famous Amos cookie, you got to try it."

Coming up...

Volunteer Work Weekend at Honey Creek State Natural Area north of San Antonio will help with cleanup projects and end with a hike of the scenic area, Feb. 8. 210/438-2656.

Potato Day at the Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farm lets visitors help with the potato planting, and there will also be quilting demonstrations, Feb. 9. 837-1215.

All Aboard the Texas Eagle, Amtrak will no longer accept reservations on the Chicago to San Antonio train beyond May 10. 800/872-7245.

Mardi Gras live on the Net,

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