Taos Herb crowns biscochito queen

By Jesse Moya
jmoya@taosnews.com
Posted 12/16/19

Taos Herb Company has officially crowned their biscochito winner for 2019.

Sonya Silva-Baca took home the best cookie award in Taos Herb's annual contest held Dec. 5 that brings out the best bakers in Taos for the holiday season.

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Taos Herb crowns biscochito queen

Posted

Taos Herb Company has officially crowned their biscochito winner for 2019.

Sonya Silva-Baca took home the best cookie award in Taos Herb's annual contest held Dec. 5 that brings out the best bakers in Taos for the holiday season. For over 10 years, the contest has brought bisco-bakers to test their skills against each other and woo the taste buds of judges.

"The ancianos just love it," said longtime contest worker Elva Archuleta. "It's just a tradition we all have."

Archuleta has been working the contest since it started and enjoys coming back every year.

For the contestants, it's personal - an event that brings them back to their childhood days of baking with the family.

"It brings the innocence of youth back to me," said Silva-Baca. "It's definitely fun and it's personal because my grandma used to bake them."

Silva-Baca said her grandmother would always make the cookies for holidays, not just Christmas, and now feels it's her turn to continue the tradition.

The previous year, she entered her cookies with an altered recipe and didn't place. After discussing the change with her family, she decided to get back to her traditional recipe for this contest and see how her luck played out.

"I was very honored and rather surprised that I got first place," she said. "There's a lot of competition in that contest."

The contest took place at the Taos Herb Company at 710 Paseo del Pueblo Sur. A panel of about 10 judges from the Taos area scored each entry on taste, texture and appearance.

"They have to be very soft so that they melt in your mouth," said four-year judge Marcia Sanchez.

All of the judges agreed that a perfect biscochito must have the right soft feel and must have a hint of anise seed. Otherwise, it is just a sugar cookie, said some judges.

This year's contest brought less than 20 entries, down from the over 30 that they tasted last year.

"We wanted more," judge Lorie Jaramillo said, laughing. "We didn't even eat lunch today."

Despite the drop in contestants, new entries can always be counted on for the contest.

Sam DeVargas said his mother passed away some years ago and left him the secrets to her biscochitos.

"My mom always told me, 'Go by this recipe and don't do anything else,'" he said.

As a first-year contestant, DeVargas hopes to try his hand at the contest next year after not placing for this round.

"Congratulations to the ladies," he said as he left the store.

Second and third place went to Josephine Sandoval and Rochelle Wollard-Trujillo, respectively.

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