The International Starbucks Dessert We Wish Was Available In The US

If you've ever traveled to another country and visited a Starbucks there, you may have noticed drinks and foods that are not available in the United States. It makes sense that the international brand caters to its customers by region, offering local favorites and specialties. This extends to the company's seasonal offerings, which also vary by location.

One such treat only available on the Starbucks menu in Mexico is the Rosca de Reyes. The delicious pastry is available for a limited time during the Christmas holiday season and is traditionally made and eaten in celebration of the Christian holiday Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day. The holiday falls on January 6th, exactly 12 days after Christmas, and follows the biblical tale of when the three wise men, also referred to as the magi, first visited the baby Jesus and presented the child with gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

The Starbucks version of Rosca de Reyes is a single-serving version of the dessert, which is — for the most part — true to the original. The round, wreath-shaped pastry is customarily bejeweled with fruits, its appearance meant to symbolize a king's crown. Starbucks decorates theirs with sugar, cocoa, and multicolored pieces of candied fig. The sweet, marbled bread has a buttery consistency similar to good brioche bread and is flavored with orange and vanilla. Similar to another related food with religious origins, Mardi Gras' King Cake, the Rosca de Reyes also comes with a tiny secret hidden inside.

Starbucks Mexico's Rosca de Reyes is an epiphany

Known as Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Carnival in Brazil, the holiday's celebrations span two weeks beginning at Epiphany and culminating on Fat Tuesday, followed by Ash Wednesday. The associated Mardi Gras King Cake is also baked in commemoration of the three kings and is made with a small baby Jesus figurine baked within. Both King Cake and Rosca de Reyes share this custom.

In King Cakes, finding the little doll in your piece of cake signifies luck and means you're supposed to bake a King Cake the following year. In the Mexican tradition, finding the baby inside a Rosca is also good luck, and the person who finds it is supposed to host a Dia de la Candelaria (aka Candlemas) party on February 2nd.

In a fun twist on this observance, Starbucks also includes a small plastic figurine tucked away inside of its Rosca de Reyes. Sidestepping the religious connotations of a Christ child doll, Starbucks instead stuffs its dessert with adorable bear figurines, aka, "bearistas." There are four different figurines available, but with no indication on the packaging as to which one is inside, they've become instant collectors' items. They come shaped as a bear king wearing a crown, one bear holds a hot drink, another bear has a cold drink, and there's also one shaped like a Starbucks tumbler. All the bears have tabs at the bottom that function as drink stoppers for Starbucks lids.

More Starbucks treats abroad we're jealous of

As much as we wish the Starbucks Rosca de Reyes was available here, the sought-after treat is only sold in Mexico. These are so in demand that some participating locations have had people lined up 30 deep to get them — while other stores sell out immediately — but that hasn't stopped intrepid dessert hunters from trying to find them. While some dedicated folks make the drive from California into Tijuana to score a few dozen as gifts, others are peddling them in America for far more than the original price. Although Starbucks sells the novelty for $49 pesos (just under $3 in U.S. dollars), resellers have been flipping them for $15 on up. A set of the four collectible dolls recently sold on eBay for $39.95 — a veritable bearista black market.

Our envy of international Starbucks exclusives doesn't end there. Visitors to the chain's U.K. shops have delighted in tasty mince pie filled with dried fruits and warming spices. In Brazil, the stores have carried panettone, a sweet bread in chocolate or caramel flavors, and in Peru, specialties have included frosted ginger-infused cake with bits of orange. Thailand Starbucks has sold a whoopie pie with cream cheese frosting between red velvet cake, and in Singapore, Christmas tree-shaped Danishes are finished with icing sugar and cherries. If you live in the U.S.A., you'll first need to renew your passport before getting to enjoy any of these.