What’s new in Kansas City food and drink June 2024

Photography provided.
Mexican-Inspired Cafe and Bakery to Open in OP
Photography provided.

Mexican baked goods are prominent in KCK and north of the river, but you’d be hard-pressed to find them further south. Professional bakers and husband and wife duo Javier and Kerianne Nuñez are looking to change that with their soon-to-open Mexican-inspired cafe and bakery in Overland Park.

Aurora Cafe and Bakery, located on the first floor of the BOK Financial building on College Boulevard and Metcalf (7101 College Blvd,, Suite 101, Overland Park), will bake Mexican breads like pan dulce, telera and bolillo rolls from scratch. The menu will also have sandwiches crafted on house-made bread, salads and other grab-and-go items.

Both Javier and Kerianne attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York. In KC, Javier previously managed the bread department at Ibis Bakery and currently teaches pastry classes at Johnson County Community College (he helped develop the college’s current pastry program). Kerianne previously worked at North Italia Leawood making fresh pasta and desserts.

The bakery’s name is inspired by Javier’s maternal grandmother. 

“Aurora was proud to be from Michoacán,” he says. “She was a talented home cook who had the ability to make a stranger feel like a part of her family through her food.”

Learn more about the bakery on Instagram, @auroracafeandbakery.

KC Chocolatier Debuts His Chocolate at Aspen’s Food and Wine Classic
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Shawn Hall, a KC local and former chemist, will be debuting his red wine chocolate, Cocoavino, at one of the nation’s most notable culinary festivals, Aspen’s Food and Wine Classic—the perfect stage for his unique product.

Hall is one of 150 vendors participating in the festival. Participants come from across the nation and are considered some of today’s top food and drink innovators. “From what I’ve been able to gather, I can’t find any other invitees that have been from KC, so I’m excited to be out there,” Hall says. “They make a big deal about where people are from.”

Cocoavino is certainly innovative. The dark chocolate is infused with a reduced red wine blend. The resulting product is a ganache, but it has a mousse-like consistency. Wine and chocolate aren’t a revolutionary pairing, but they are rarely both offered in the same product. When Hall looked into selling his red wine chocolate in 2021, he saw an opportunity.

“It’s a new flavor experience,” he says. “Up front you get a dark chocolate flavor that just hits your palate. As that melts away, you get this beautiful finish of wine. It takes away the bitterness of dark chocolate and smooths it out with a little bit of fruit and acidity.”

He credits his ability to understand the unique flavor profiles and processes of both wine and chocolate to his background as a chemist.

Hall is now a full-time entrepreneur who sells his product in more than 150 stores across the nation. Locally, you can purchase it at any Made In KC store. The chemist turned chocolatier recommends using it as a sauce or spread for charcuterie boards or pastries. One of its most popular uses is as a dip for strawberries.

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