Looking for a new cultural experience, or an old one? Check out Argentina's Best Empanadas, which offers empanadas, Argentine desserts, yerba mate and more. Empanadas—stuffed bread pockets filled with meat, veggies or fruit—are popular throughout South America. Founder and owner Ana Valdemoros, who grew up in Argentina, first began selling her treats at the Downtown Farmers Market because she wanted to bring a bit of home to Salt Lake City. And recently, she opened a brick-and-mortar store downtown—a modern-meets-rustic space, decorated with photos and other memorabilia collected from her visits back home.
"It's refreshing to see the excitement in their faces when they see the products we offer," Valdemoros says of her customers, especially ones who have visited Argentina. "I love all the stories we share back and forth."
The shop offers traditional Argentine empanadas, which are handcrafted using top-of-the-line ingredients for the best flavor. "We work with Utah farmers and ranchers to get the freshest produce and meat possible," she says. "We try to stay true to the Argentine traditions, in size, in artisanship, in craftsmanship and our excellent ingredients."
She says the shop wouldn't be faithful to its name if they used average beef, which is why she buys it grass-fed from Jones Creek or Canyon Meadows Ranch—both located in Utah. "A client told us this summer that he was happy to see we stayed true and were purists of Argentine empanadas," she recalls. "I thought it was such a great description of what we offer."
Though she's still making the traditional versions, Valdemoros decided to branch out a bit when customers began requesting new flavors. "We started the breakfast empanadas because clients asked for them," she says. Additional varieties include traditional beef, lemon beef, roasted chicken, and spinach and feta. Craving something sweeter? The shop also sells alfajores de maicena—a butter cookie with a hint of lime, dulce de leche filling and coconut flakes—and milhojas, a meringue-topped puff pastry layered with dulce de leche.
Valdemoros is thrilled to have a shop that customers can visit throughout the week, instead of waiting for the Saturday farmers market. "We are grateful for the support we have been given, and we are striving to bring additional menu items, later hours and weekly specials," she says.
Empanadas are priced at two for $5, or $3 each, with discounts on orders of 12 or more. For large orders, please allow 24-48 hours of prep time.