There was a time when Zamora greeted the visitor with the sweet smell of freshly baked cookies. There are many who still remember those days with nostalgia, especially those who were lucky enough to live them in their childhood, although that magic only lasted for about three decades. The screed factory original, which turned the Castilian city into a sweet emporium, would close its doors forever at the beginning of the 1990s.
His story is that of so many family businesses that began with enterprising grandparents whose descendants knew how to build a flourishing company, adapting to the new industrialization that arrived so late in so many Spanish towns, taking advantage of the post-war economic resurgence. And it would end, also like many others, with the inevitable sale to a much larger groupwhose first decision would be to close the factory and move production to another city.
The legacy of Los Reglero continues today through José, representative of the third generation, who recovered his family’s confectionery tradition a few years ago by opening his own business on the same avenue where in the past piecework was done in the factory. But the story began much earlier, with its grandparents.
From selling torrijas on a donkey to filling Zamora with sweets
The marriage that started the family saga began making humble sweets in Moral of Wine, nearby town. The couple, who came to have five children, went to Zamora with a shipment of French toast on the back of a donkeywith such success that soon they also began to bake some delicious pasta that they cooked in ovens in Olivares.
The popularity that his sweet merchandise achieved in a short time encouraged Gregorio at the beginning of the century to establish the family in the capital of the province, opening his first own workshop in Zamora where the children, Arturo, Soledad, Ángel, Manuel and José, who grew up among sacks of flour, caramel and the smell of butter cookies, would soon begin to work.
Gregorio would pass away shortly after, but by then the youngest, Jose -Pepe, for relatives and friends- was already hardening in the confectionery world and it didn’t take long for him to take over the reins of the business. The interest of the youngest of the family in continuing the legacy of his father led him to form in various workshops and workshops in Spain, even spending a season in Swisswhose experience would lead him to create a new line of sweet delights upon his return.
The name of the Reglero was spreading throughout Zamora and nearby towns as they opened more sweet shopswhere long queues would form to get some of their most demanded pieces, such as mayuca pasta, Colombians, sputniksthe Abyssinians, the refined cakes or, their most famous creation, the whims of the queen.
The good progress of the business in the sixties led Pepe and his brothers to embark on further professionalizing the company with the inauguration of a modern factory. The opening, in 1964in the heart of the city center, then raised some neighborhood complaints, but they would soon be diluted by the success of their products and the great economic boost it meant for the city, at times employing more than 300 workers.
The rise and fall of a Zamoran icon
During three decades the Reglero factory filled the streets of Zamora with its unmistakable aroma of caramel and butter. One of his older brothers, Arturo, died Pepe was still in front of the business as head of production and personnel, Ángel as president of the board, Manuel as manager and Soledad in the Madrid office, since Reglero sweets were already sold for all Spain.
Did anyone know the old Reglero factory? #Zamora when it was capital of cookies. On the front line, a Pegasus Comet like the one my father carried for more than 20 years. pic.twitter.com/sT6tf7FjVR
—David Gago Ruiz (@gagoruiz) November 6, 2022
The Reglero pastas and assortments that came out of the factory soon garnered all the attention of the family, who I would close the confectioneries to focus on more mechanized work to meet the boom in demand, doubling production at Christmas time.
But as the end of the century approached, the strong economic, urban and demographic changes that were transforming Zamora they complicated the activity of the fabric. It was no longer easy to operate within the city itself. The company had no choice but to sell the majority of its shares to the group biscofanthat split the company in two: Castilian Food Industry (Icasa) and Reglero itself.
With Icasa settled in Bullthe movements began to move the factory to new facilities in an area better equipped for industrial work, leaving Zamora forever. Finally, the complete dissolution took place with the entry in 1993 of the Siro Group, which assumed full control of Reglero to continue maintaining the brand name from Toro.
The legacy of Reglero and the Confitería El Esquiador
The Siro Group would definitively unite in 1993 the companies and productions of Icasa and Reglero, which already worked in the same Toro facilities, unifying the catalog under the brand of the surname that was inaugurated by the patriarch Gregorio, who already had a certain national reputation.
The new owners gradually modified the original products to adapt them to the new market, focusing on the sweets that had the most pull for their national distribution. Although the assortments, the nevaditos and the mythical mayucas have been maintained, the recipes have been modified and other sweets have been discontinued, such as the cubanitos.
Already entered the new millennium, Siro expanded the facilities to face Mercadona’s demand, whose manufacturers make some of their own-brand pastas, the Hacendado version of the original Reglero. However, the company was going through economic problems that were forged in the purchase by Arluyowned today by Biscuit International.
Thus, under the seal of Grupo Siro and Arluy we can still find in supermarkets all over Spain some of the most popular pastas from the original Reglero family, but, as many nostalgics longingly lament, they are no longer the same.
But the family tradition continues to this day thanks to Gregorio’s grandson, Joséson of Pepe, who opened in 2013 the confectionery The skier in the same avenue of Portugal where in the past trucks of mayucas and nevaditos left from the bustling factory. There they make and sell various sweets, highlighting the highly demanded whims of the queen that his father created.
José Reglero has also recovered the nice skier boy figurewhich gives its name to the premises and presides over its shop window and the packaging of its wide range of artisan sweets, with a catalog of fixed specialties and others that change according to the season. In addition to typical confectionery delicacies, the local traditional pastries (oiled, flowers, rebojos, amarguillos…), with their own creations such as chocolate hedgehogthe old Moraleja pasta, and the aforementioned ‘whims’.
Created by his father Pepe more than half a century ago, the whims of the queen They are a kind of unique bonbon, with a heart of a kind of bacon of heaven or flannel covered in a thin layer of dark chocolate. They make them with different flavors and are extremely delicateso you don’t have to wait for summer to try them, as your production will rest until the temperatures drop again.
ASSORTED ARTISAN PASTA, RULER, 400 GR.
In 2004, Manuel Reglero, one of the founding brothers of the factory, died in Madrid, and in 2009 Pepe, the father of the current José Reglero, also died.
Photos | Arluy – Confitería el Esquiador – todocoleccion
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