Mission neighbors: Meet Rosa Rodriguez and her Gelatina Artistica

completely ediible, available with and without tequila!You’ve probably seen them in push carts along the Mission, pretty little gelatin desserts with raisins, nuts or fruit fillings, usually layered. They’re prevalent in markets throughout California with its large Mexican population, these “Jello” creations, probably because in Mexico, gelatin desserts are “eaten daily in nearly 90% of Mexican homes. Mexicans consume more gelatin desserts than nearly any other country in the world—three times the quantity of gelatin consumed in the United States alone. In restaurants, the dessert tray will almost always include a variety of gelatin desserts”(according to Mexico Cooks). Whether its a birthday party, baptism or “quinze” (quinzenera– a celebration much like our “Sweet Sixteen” parties, these large family gatherings are practically de rigor in Mexico) the dessert is usually a beautifully crafted gelatin.

Gelatin artists (yes, there are many Señoras who are famous for their Gelatina Artistica in Mexico, they even give classes and are quite competitive about who is the reina de la Gelatina) take these healthier cake alternatives to a whole other level, (see slide show, left, for examples). Using a a fine flavor injection tool, 3-dimensional creations are set in a transparent gelatin base, all 100% edible including the intricate flowers. El Arte Floral en Gelatina is originally from France, and doubtless an import that arrived along with La Comida Afrancescada, introduced in the 1800’s by the brief yet important colonization of Mexico by the French (ending in the infamous Battle of Puebla on the 5th of May, or Cinco de Mayo, which is NOT, by the way, the anniversary of Mexican Independence- this is Sept. 15!).

“With the empire of Maximilian and the presidency of Porfirio Díaz came what is now known in Mexico as La Comida Afrancescada. Some of the important cooking methods and ingredients of this fusion were caldos (broths), baño a la Maria (the method of using vapor to cook, as in a double-boiler or placing a baking pan in a casserole of water in the oven, which is how flan is made- see Mexican cooking secrets:flan) and chiles en nogada (stuffed chiles in walnut sauce), among many others.

Rosa Rodgriguez’ Sweets Collection

Gelatina Artistica, relatively unknown in the United States, has arrived in San Francisco with Mission resident Rosa Rodgriguez’ Sweets Collection, now selling at La Cocina‘s Ferry Building stall, where you can meet the artist on Saturdays and ask anything you like about her amazing creations. Rosa found an outlet for her passion for art, which she discovered at the age of five, “falling in love with the great works of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera” in her completely edible creations, putting to work her background as a painter and illustrator. Her gelatin desserts are “a healthy alternative”, says Rosa, ” designed to inspire children and adults to slow down, savor every bite, and value their health.”

Tres Señoritas Gourmet offers Rosa’s Gelatinas Artisticas for birthdays, corporate banquets and especially for weddings. Each design is custom-made, so there’s the opportunity to match any wedding decor as well as individual-sized desserts that make for beautiful table decor that’s edible! All natural and gluten-free gelatins are available, and the intricate technique allows for duplication of corporate logos, a unique finale to any corporate event.

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