Baker uses local produce, introduces new flavors

HARLINGEN – Using local produce from Cameron County is important for Clarissa Garcia, who believes in supporting her community.

Garcia, 31, of Harlingen, has been baking since she was a little girl, she said. Her grandmother has a baking business as well and was introduced to the culinary art by her.

During high school and college, she continued to do it but as a hobby. Now, her interests are different.

“ I really enjoy it as an art form. I really like exploring different flavors, it is like a science experiment,” Garcia said.

“ I am very passionate about it and want to explore more adventurous things. I want to bring something different to the Valley; something more experimental and fun,” she said.

Besides wanting to explore flavors, Garcia said she enjoys being a part of social events where she gets to personalize items for her clients.

“ For me it is such an honor to be a part of it and see how happy it makes them,” Garcia said.

Her experimental flavors have featured taro and matcha, but there is one particular item she uses that has brought the attention of her clients.

Garcia baked bee pollen infused macarons.

“ It has been one of my most popular ones. One of the things I take pride in is that everything is made from scratch and try to source as locally as possible,” she said.

“ I wanted to make something whimsical and fun. I created a honeycomb on it,” Garcia said.

The macaron is honey infused, which is local, and in the end she sprinkles the bee pollen. Garcia said what makes it unique is how the pollen toughens a little and adds texture to the macaron.

“ It is a really nice texture when you bite into it,” she said.

Her father gifted her pollen from a friend in San Benito. However, Garcia wants all fruits and chocolates for her pastries to be locally produced.

She is also working on creating artistic cakes. One of her future projects is a gravity defying multi-tier cake.

Her business is called Rainbow Cafe and Bakery, and Garcia can be reached on Facebook.

“ I am trying some different techniques, some sculpture work and entremets. I am working on allusions and it’s kind of what I’m venturing into next,” she said.

At the moment, she is working on fall flavors because of the season coming in. Apples and peppers are some of the products she is looking into sourcing.

Her future macaron could be an apple-habanero margarita flavor.

“ I want people to know if they have something different in mind and I personally like being adventurous or maybe strange,” she said.

“ If they are looking into something like that I can definitely venture out,” Garcia said.