European pastries are presented in the new Madrid bakery in Providence



Wayland Square is such a lovely neighborhood, with so many wonderful places to dine, from breakfast to snacks to dinner.

The opening of Madrid European Bakery and Patisserie can only add more flavor to Wayland Avenue.

Baker Sergio Mendoza grew up in his father’s Spanish bakery learning that creating fine pastries takes time and experience. But it’s hard to imagine all it takes to create croissants, éclairs, signature cakes and even hot chocolate.

Take croissants to laminate. They crumble when baking, in this wonderful light dough, because someone took the time to roll and fold the dough and butter over and over until there were dozens and dozens of thin layers.

Strawberries take pride of place on a cream-filled croissant at Madrid European Bakery.  Notice the many laminated layers of the pastries.  Their production takes several days. [The Providence Journal / Sandor Bodo]

Mendoza couldn’t find a butter he liked in the shape he needed for his dough. The milk fat percentage should be high enough that as the dough rolls, the layers separate with the steam pockets.

He’s had to buy blocks of the favorite butter, and he’s committed to spending time each week beating it into the shape it needs. If you see the light on in the bakery on Monday nights when it’s closed, that’s what he’s doing.

Hercilia Corona shares her husband’s passion and is co-owner of the business.

Husband and wife baker Sergio Mendoza and Hercilia Corona opened Madrid European Bakery and Patisserie. [The Providence Journal / Sandor Bodo]

“Her goal is to bring things back the way they used to taste,” she said.

Years of developing shortcuts and adding preservatives changed the flavor of the pastries he learned to make in Europe.

“If you were lucky enough to taste an eclair 50 years ago, this is how his will taste,” she said.

Although new to Providence and Rhode Island, Madrid operated in Marlborough, Massachusetts, for 10 years. Their lease, the couple and their family traveled to San Diego to relocate with their bakery. Although in love with the perfect climate, they found the one for local small businesses that they were missing.

Everything is a chain, like Chipotle and Panera, and in a mall, not a neighborhood, she says. They soon returned to New England, a place where neither of them had roots, but realizing it was now their home.

They began exploring space in Brookline, Massachusetts. Corona went to graduate school in Boston to earn his Ph.D. She is a clinical psychologist for her main work. But after meeting friends in Rhode Island, they saw in Providence the kind of neighborhood setting they wanted for the bakery. They chose the space that used to be Thés et Java.

A slice of classic Santiago, a Spanish cake made with almond flour, eggs and sugar.  [The Providence Journal / Sandor Bodo]

The food

The aroma of sweet treats wafts around the bakery, but the visuals are just as impressive. The range of pastries includes several types of croissants beyond the traditional buttery variety. Pain au Chocolat uses traditional chocolate sticks, which remain firm and intact, inside the dough.

“We also have the chocolate hazelnut variety which is creamier with the homemade filling, and even creamier than the Nutella croissant for different textures to suit all tastes,” Corona said.

Mendoza mixes its own hazelnut flour and chocolate filling, all using traditional methods.

The eclairs include a superb variety of creme brulee. There are also mini selections offering small versions of vanilla and chocolate éclairs. The chocolate is filled with a light mousse as desired, while the vanilla has a delicate pastry cream. There are also mini cream puffs filled with their homemade cream.

Among the very traditional recipes from Europe is the Classic Santiago Almond Cake, a nutrient-rich breakfast. It is made with almond flour, egg and sugar.

“It’s like having two bowls of almonds,” she says. “It’s also gluten-free, dairy-free, and yeast-free.”

Mendoza has crafted a Pumpkin Santiago Cake for the season and offers others at different times.

The San Marco chocolate cake is another marvel, with caramelized crème brûlée on layers of chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, vanilla cake and vanilla custard.

Using a fork, slide the caramel all over the cake, Corona said.

The San Marco chocolate cake is another marvel with caramelized creme brulee on layers of chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, vanilla cake and vanilla custard. [The Providence Journal / Sandor Bodo]

The beverage

Madrid offers a comprehensive coffee menu. They tried every local roaster before settling on New Harvest as their store blend. Sanctuary Herb Tea is the house tea.

In addition to lattes and cappuccino, they added what you would see in Madrid, Viennese coffee. It’s a double espresso with homemade whipped cream that contains their homemade vanilla syrup. You can also add their homemade syrups into lattes.

The hot chocolate contains handmade truffles which flavor the drink.

“It tastes like a candy bar melted into the drink,” Corona said.

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Baker Mendoza was born into the profession as his father owned a few bakeries in Madrid where they lived. He started cooking when he was 9 years old.

“His skills were shaped by the master pastry chefs his father hired,” his wife said.

When her parents retired, they moved to Orlando, Florida. He would visit them while in business school, broadening his skills as he prepared to open his own bakery.

Orlando was Corona’s hometown. His parents owned a coffee shop. She was studying to become a psychologist. But with baking as a common thread, Mendoza and Corona became a couple and committed to living in one country. They moved to the United States while she continued her studies, got married and are parents to sons Santiago, 11, and Julian, 5.

Their pandemic story

They signed to the Wayland Avenue spot before the coronavirus shutdown. Faced with the choice of breaking the lease or going in, they chose to open. Corona said.

“Everything is unknown,” she said. “But we are not afraid of anything.”

They are all a family and even his mother, Adriana Munoz, works at the counter.

They believe Wayland Square has the kind of shoppers who appreciate unique artisan baked goods. When the pandemic restrictions are over, they will have community tables to create a welcoming space.

“We can’t wait for things to get back to normal,” Corona said. “This is the place that will take us to retirement, to a neighborhood.”

The next objective is to find an apprentice who will train with Mendoza. It takes time to learn the ways of the dough.


European Bakery and Pastry Shop in Madrid, 199 Wayland Ave., Providence, (401) 409-2300, Opening hours Tuesday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed on Monday.

Recently opened at Wayland Square in Providence during this pandemic, indoor seating has been suspended.  But guests can browse the display case and sit outside.  [The Providence Journal / Sandor Bodo]

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