A colorful ox cart, a wall full of facts about Central American countries and the aroma of freshly baked bread greet every customer who walks through the doors of Tuanis Baked Goods.
The boutique is owned by Ruddy Chaves and Carolina Cetrulo, a husband and wife team who met while Cetrulo was living in Costa Rica.
The two attended culinary school together in Costa Rica after their marriage. When they fell on hard times and lost their jobs, the couple decided to use their baking skills to make ends meet.
The couple finally decided to try to improve their lives by moving to Canada. Cetrulo was born in Canada to immigrant parents, so she came back first.
“I came back, I struggled, but luckily I progressed from there and was able to bring him on. So he got his papers, everything was great,” she said.
Once they both settled in Canada, Cetrulo and Chaves decided to start selling their cakes to colleagues and friends in the area, with word of mouth quickly spreading about their delicious products.
When a building in Welland became available, the couple decided it was worth opening their own restaurant, sharing delicious Latin American-inspired pastries with the area.
The star of the show has always been their tres leches cake, something Cetrulo is incredibly passionate about.
“It’s a cake with two layers of vanilla biscuit, then it’s dipped in a sweetened milk mixture. There’s dulce de leche, which is like caramel, strawberries and cream, and it’s just delicious, and it’s our baby,” she says.
You can also enjoy empanadas, bread with sweet fillings like pineapple and cream, or savory breads with cheese and jalapenos, and alfajores, a shortbread cookie with dulce de leche inside.
Chaves says he’s been proud to share the tastes he knows and loves with others who want Latin American food, and wants those unfamiliar with the food to try it too.
“We bring a bit of home to people. See the faces of people trying the products and saying, “We needed it. We were looking for something different, something Latin American,” he added. “That’s what we’re here for, trying to make people happy.”
The name “tuanis” comes from a Central American slang word which, literally translated, means “too nice”, but is often used to express that something is really good or awesome. It’s a sentiment the couple want to bring to the products they make every day in the shop.
“Three years ago I was selling bread door to door, and I remember if I didn’t sell that bread that day, we wouldn’t have been able to eat,” Chaves added. “Having this place says if you want it, you can do it.”
Address: 289 Lincoln Street, Welland
Hours: Wednesday to Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
E-mail: [email protected]