South Beach Wine & Food Festival invites local bakers to present their goodies

Community By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Wednesday, March 15, 2023

    Miami Lakes had a presence at this year’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival, when two local bakeries --  LA Sweetz and Vicky Bakery – showed off their creations to the foodie crowd. 

     LA Sweetz at 6707 Main St. is owned by Letty Alvarez and her family. Alvarez may be familiar to readers. 

     She has competed on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” show where she debuted her famous guava cupcake. 

     This year, Alvarez shared a tent with actor and taco shop owner Danny Trejo of Trejo’s Tacos, for the festival’s Tacos and Tequila event. 

     Alvarez debuted her Churro-licious cupcake, made of chocolate cake and topped with cinnamon buttercream, a chocolate ganache drizzle and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar dust. 

     It was the bakery’s 10th appearance at the festival that draws celebrity chefs such as Bobby Flay; Michael Symon; Marcus Samuelsson and Giada De Laurentiis and personalities from across the country. 

     “We started [participating in the festival] with Patron Tequila,” Alvarez said. “Patron contacted us to create a cupcake for their debut at South Beach Wine & Food Festival and we created our Patron Margarita cupcake, and that’s how we got our foot in the door.”

     This year the family gave away 2,500 Churro-licious cupcakes. 

     “Every time we attend a festival we see where we’re slotted and what the flavor profile is going to be, based on the theme of the event,” Alvarez said. 

     Also representing the town: Vicky Bakery, which is owned by the Cao family and has a store in the Lake Patricia Shopping Center

     It’s overseen by Miami Lakers Pedro and Amy Cao who were also at the festival. 

     Vicky Bakery was set up in the Goya tent. They brought their well-known pastelitos (turn over pastries). They also showed off  “ … our mini cups with mini guava pastries and mini cream cheese pastries,” Amy Cao said. 

     The bakery also served rum cakes, featuring Havana Club rum. Cao said the bakery usually sells those during the holiday season. 

     “It was a major hit,” Cao said. “So we decided since we were going to be doing it again for [the fourth quarter] in all the stores [we decided], to give people a sample of it [at the festival],” Cao said. 

      The bakery also included a golden pastelito (filled with guava jelly and topped with gold leaf) to mark the 50th anniversary of the business, which will be celebrated through the fall.

     Cao says this was the seventh or eighth year the couple has participated in one of the biggest events on South Beach. 

     The business owners volunteered their time and donated their baked goods. 

     Funds raised from ticket sales for the festival benefit Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.

     “We do it gladly because we’re giving back to the community,” Alvarez said.