Occasionally, after stepping out of a delicious authentic Mexican joint, salsa-stained and taco drunk, I’ll notice an attached or nearby Latin American bakery. I always have high hopes for such places, thinking that nothing could top off a fine meal of carne asada or pork carnitas like a shell-shaped concha, fruit-filled empanada, or chocolate polvoron. At times, the soft caress of a raspberry-filled pan de huevo jelly roll is enough to make the world momentarily stand on its head, providing the perfect ending to an already satisfactory meal. But my experience with Brazilian-inspired bakeries is admittedly limited. Rosalia’s is a family operated bakery adjoined to the popular Hillcrest establishment, Café Bossa Nova, one of the few restaurants offering an authentic taste of Brazilian cooking to Little Rock. Opening the bakery feels like a natural extension of owner Rosalia Monroe’s talents. It offers some of the finest baked goods in the city, and I was all too happy to be schooled in the ways of Brazilian baking.
The interior of Rosalia’s is cozy and comfortable. The kind of place you would feel comfortable cuddling up with a novel on your favorite teenage vampire love triangle or simply cranking out a term paper on your Macbook (free Wi-Fi is offered as well). No matter what you are doing here, everything is a little easier with a fresh pastry in hand.
You simply cannot make a trip to Rosalia’s without sampling their pièce de résistance, the luscious “sohno.” Sonho are reminiscent of a jumbo-sized donut hole. A large round ball of golden fried dough is split in half and filled with either a thick, sweet dulce du leche or a creamy, cool custard. Then each is given a quick coating of granulated sugar. It’s basically love at first bite. The slight crunch of the outer crust of sugar, the fluffy fried dough, the rich sweet center…after inhaling your first sohno, you’ll soon realize it’s impossible to stop at just one. I will admit (once again) to being a donut-a-holic, however, I’m fairly sure even the most stalwart of dieters would succumb to the tantalizing tune of these sweet treats.
You’ll also find the addictive Brazilian cheese bread, a staple brought over from Bossa Nova, which I've found are equally enjoyable if eaten out of a big bowl while sitting on your couch in your pajamas, catching up on the latest antics of the Kardashian crew. You’ll find an assortment of fruit and chocolate scones, with a crumbly center, topped with a sprinkling of course ground white sugar. Pie fanatics will want to sample some of their lovely, individually assembled fruit pies. Each is topped with a delicately laced piecrust sitting atop a bed of tender apples or tart raspberries. Cinnamon rolls, flaky turnovers, and cookies can also be found inside the inviting display cases.
Truthfully, it’s not all that similar to Latin American bakeries. It does tend to tone down the sweetness a bit as is common in other bakeries of that sort, but often Rosalia’s feels a bit more like a Brazilian bakery adding their spin on some American classics. It’s a culinary point of view you’ll be happy to sink your teeth into.
Rosalia's Family Bakery
2701 Kavanaugh Blvd
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