Angie Lopez claps her flour-covered hands together, creating a cloud of powder that slowly floats and settles on a metal tabletop. As she carefully rolls and stretches out her croissant dough, made earlier that morning from scratch, she smells the air and rushes to the oven to pull out a tray of espresso cupcakes. She rarely uses a timer, able to tell if a pastry is finished just by the smell.
Finding a moment to pause from her work, Lopez takes a peek out of the kitchen and sees a line of hungry customers at the front counter.
She’s finally living her dream, a dream that was put on hold for 25 years.
De Azúcar, Oviedo’s newest artisan bakery, not only gives visitors a chance to get their hands on some baked goods, but gives Lopez the chance to live her dream.
The bakery, which started with a soft opening on Jan. 9 and hosted a grand opening on Feb. 9, has already gotten a great deal of business through word-of-mouth.
“I thought this place was going to grow slowly, but it’s just been booming every day and it’s more than what I thought I was going to have at this stage,” said Lopez, an Oviedo resident for 20 years. “The community support has been overwhelmingly good.”
The bakery prides itself in making everything fresh each day, offering items such as French toast bread pudding, doughnut muffins and a variety of croissants, as well as coffee to go with it.
“I love it,” said Charma Parkey, a frequent customer who lives in Oviedo. “The best croissant that I, before now, had ever had was in Belgium this summer and I loved it. Then we came here, and it was better.”
For Lopez, a passion for baking came early while growing up in Puerto Rico, where bakeries are on nearly every street corner with fresh bread sitting in the windows. Her father, who worked as a photographer, would often photograph weddings and bring her back a piece of cake. Lopez remembers admiring the craftsmanship before ever taking a bite. Her frequent exposure to baking helped form her dream to own a bakery.
After learning the baking trade, Lopez came to the United States at the age of 19, working at a bakery in Fort Worth, Texas. She then met her husband Daniel, and in 1984, they bought their first bakery.
The couple ran the bakery until 1987, when their daughter, Angelina, was born. Their son, Daniel Jr., came three years later.
De Azúcar is located at 150 Alafaya Woods Blvd., Suite 102, in Oviedo. Visit deazucar.com for more information.
“The hours are long,” Lopez said. “It’s not easy to be the owner of a bakery and be the main pastry chef of everything, so back then when I had my child, it was becoming to be a little too much and we just decided that it was time to sell.”
To commit more time to the growth of her children, Lopez chose to sell her bakery, putting her dream on hold.
“It was difficult,” Lopez said. “I always missed it and I always said I was going to open my bakery again.”
After 25 years of other jobs, graduating from culinary school, and developing her recipes at home, Lopez and her husband realized the dream once again in Oviedo.
“My daughter put it very well: here we are bringing a little bit of sweetness to Oviedo,” Daniel said. “In a sense, it’s not because Oviedo’s not sweet, because Oviedo’s one of the best places to live in the nation, but as far as bakeries, we’ve never had a real artisan bakery.”
This time around, Lopez and her husband have some help from the family. Daniel Jr., now 23, serves as an assistant baker, and Angelina, now 26, helps as a publicist who manages the bakery’s website and Facebook page.
“It’s amazing; she’s put her life on hold for mine, my sister’s,” Daniel Jr. said. “It’s really awesome to see her finally doing what she really wanted to do.”
Looking back, Lopez agreed it was difficult for her and her husband to sell their bakery in Texas, but her love and devotion for her children made it that much easier to put them first.
“They were the most important thing in our lives, so there was no question about it,” Lopez said. “Did I miss it? Yes, but I don’t regret it one bit.”
De Azúcar participated in last weekend’s Taste of Oviedo, and plan on serving new items such as artisan bread and breakfast sandwiches for the enjoyment of their customers in the coming weeks.
“I remember my kids would wake up in the morning when I made breakfast, like the French toast and things like that. They just wake up from the smell with a smile on their face,” Lopez said. “That’s what I see here with people when they come into the bakery, they just have that big smile.”