TOUR TEXAS: Tradition or Not?


It’s Christmastime in Texas . . .


Traditions range from cowboy boot tree ornaments and long horns with Christmas balls dangling left and right, to snowmen decked out in western wear and Poncho Claus delivering toys to kids from his lowrider in the barrio.

 Whether you’re a fan or not, one Texas holiday tradition has been around since before the turn of the last century – the Christmas fruitcake from the Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana.


Loaded with fists full of pecans, cherries, pineapple, raisins, papaya, sugar and all sorts of other stuff, the DeLuxe Texas Fruitcake is a Lone Star legend. On a recent visit to the 105-year old bakery on West 7th Avenue in downtown Corsicana, I watched as hundreds of folks sampled and searched for the perfect holiday treat to share with their family and friends.

Just imagine . . . this is the fruitcake given to the Crown Heads of Europe by circus great John Ringling. It was enjoyed by American cowboy and humorist Will Rogers, and world famous Italian tenor Enrico Caruso.  There I was surrounded by fruitcake lovers and those, like myself, willing to give the much maligned holiday dessert a second chance based on reputation.

There were all sorts of tasty-looking options displayed behind the glass. There was an apricot pecan cake, a pineapple pecan cake, and an apple cinnamon pecan cake. Then there was the Texas Blonde pecan cake and mini pecan cakes in tiny tins. Deluxe Petites and chocolate Petites and apricot Petites and pineapple pecan Petites . . . it was overwhelming. But wait… there was more.

I had come to taste the legend and maybe take one home, but no . . . I was now confronted with the Collin Street Bakery’s New York cheese cake, a key lime cheese cake, a praline pecan cheese cake, berry cheese cakes of all sorts and something called a Pumpkin Extravaganza. Then there were the traditional cakes, pies and cookies, not to mention the candies and nuts. Why were they making it so difficult? Why?

I worked and weaved my way to the counter only to find that the covered sample tray had been picked clean by fruit cake scavengers ahead of me. It was a Christmas conspiracy . . . the anticipation, the waiting, and now this.

I broke from the counter, and based on pure faith and a century old reputation, I picked up a tin of fruit-laden Texas tradition and walked slowly to the check-out. 

Today as I wait patiently for the family Christmas dinner in a few short days I wonder, will this fruitcake from Collin Street Bakery become a tradition in my home? Maybe so, but if not I sure have a lot of other choices at the old bakery to work with and I have no problem giving each of them a try.


  Michael Baxter is the Texas Travelin’ Man

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