Argentinean Empanadas: we talk to the kings of this trend.

The word empanada comes from the verb empanar, which means to cover or wrap with dough or bread, either in the shape of a half moon or triangles. That is to say, when we talk about an empanada, we refer to a kind of pie that is filled with certain salty ingredients, which are baked or fried, and then served hot. 

Its basic components are the dough, the filling and, of course, the cooking method chosen. In recent times, the Spanish franchise called Malv贸n, which is dedicated to the production, sale and distribution of Argentine artisanal empanadas, has had a great presence and momentum in Spain. Its beginnings date back to 2017, thanks to 2 entrepreneurs who now see the result they expected. 

From that moment, day after day, more stores began to open in different parts of the country, since Malv贸n has opened the doors to other entrepreneurs who have seen that it is an accessible food and, above all, very delicious; with a variety of fillings and flavors that attract a lot of attention from customers.

At present, Malv贸n operates with more than 60 branches throughout Spain, and there are even 3 in Portugal, and there are plans to open more franchises in Italy, France and Germany. 

Where do empanadas really come from?

This type of preparation can be found in any part of South America, but with a lot of emphasis in the Argentinean country, which boasts of its Argentinean Creole empanadas, which are supposed to be their own; let’s remember that it is a place with a lot of cattle raising and meat lovers; besides, each province has a different recipe. 

However, it is said that the Argentines are not the inventors of the empanada; rather, it is a recipe of identity of the Galicians, since its origin goes back to the custom of placing stuffed breads in the food for those long trips during the shepherding. Later, the stuffed breads had to be cooked, so that they could be preserved for a longer period of time. 

As a result, the famous Italian calzone and the British pasty were born. In addition, let’s remember the influence that the Spanish country had during so many centuries of the Arab culture, which also introduced to the country both the fatayer, which are pies filled with vegetables, meat and spices, which can also be added cheese, spinach or other elements; and the sfihas filled with ground meat, onion, lemon, tomatoes, paprika, cumin, oregano and pepper.

Both were integrated to the gastronomy of the patriotic recipe book and later spread to the rest of the colonies. Hence the resemblance of Argentinean empanadas to Spanish preparations, especially those of the south, since in the north of the country seafood and fish are used more, elements more typical of the coast.

So, the origin of the Argentinean empanada dates back to medieval times, information that historians have discovered in a cookbook of Catalan origin, which seems to contain the recipe of the empanada, and was published in 1520 by a gentleman named Ruperto de Nola. 

Therefore, it is believed that when the first Spanish immigrants began to arrive in Argentina, in the 16th century, they brought this recipe to that country. In addition, the diet eaten in those medieval times in Spain included bread stuffed with legumes and different types of meat; ingredients of the traditional Argentinean empanada.

However, with the passing of time, the ingredients of the filling of the Argentinean empanada criolla have changed and there is no definitive one. They depend on the region where they are made and the season of the moment. They also have a variety of sweet empanadas, including dulce de leche, sweet potato and quince.

How did this Malv贸n franchise in Spain start?

They say that they started in the Moncloa area, where it was a great success, since the product is of high quality; in addition, the area is very busy, with a good street public, such as tourists and students. Subsequently, its growth began to accelerate throughout Madrid and then spread to the rest of the country, until it reached Portugal.

This allowed the franchises to continue growing, making Argentine empanadas more and more known, to the point of opening 3 locations per year. Another interesting aspect is that they maintain a close relationship with all the franchises, through supervision and monitoring of the service offered, in order to maintain their quality standards and, if necessary, adapt to the local circumstances of the country.

Malv贸n also offers other Argentine products, such as 2 types of Havanna alfajores, with ingredients of dulce de leche, nuts, cashews and covered with either a layer of white chocolate or dark chocolate. Also, beverage proposals such as Quilmes beer and Malbec wines.

Some examples of its operating stores are distributed as follows: 34 in the capital, Madrid, 4 in the Community of Valencia, specifically in Alicante, Castell贸n and Valencia, there are also 9 in Andalusia such as in Malaga, Cadiz and Seville; likewise, in Zaragoza they have 2, as well as in Barcelona. Finally, it has 1 location in Ibiza, Valladolid and Murcia. 

Its next openings will be in Barcelona, Murcia and Madrid, to continue later with the cities of Bilbao, Burgos, Santander, Girona and Tenerife. Quite an expansion project in a short period of just 5 years. 

What is the filling of these fabulous empanadas of the Malv贸n franchises?

The company has a presentation card of 21 different fillings for its empanadas, which are divided into 2 categories; that is to say, 13 belong to the “Classics” group and 8 to the “Gourmet” empanadas group. 

Among the “Classics” are those containing chicken, minced meat with knife, also tuna, a combination of pear and Roquefort cheese, as well as onion and cheese, also called fugazzeta or caprese. Also included in this group are humita, which contains onion, corn, cheese, red bell pepper and bechamel cream, among other flavors.

In the group of the 8 “Gourmet” type, there are those with Thai chicken, Iberian ham, called secreto ib茅rico, as well as the Malv贸n Burguer, which contains truffle. They also have 2 vegan proposals: the Vegan Thai, which is cooked in a coconut sauce with Thai-style vegetables and curry; and the other is called the Vegan Criolla, which has red bell pepper, vegetables and tomato.

Each of the empanadas is weighed and then closed by hand, as is customary in Argentina, by means of small pulsions around the shape of the crescent-shaped empanada so that they are well sealed and can be eaten comfortably. Once they reach the stores, they are baked. 

So what is the secret of the fame of their empanadas? Apart from the diversity of flavors, there are cases in which we have reduced the use of some spices that are somewhat strong, in order to adapt them to the taste of the Spanish people, such as chili. In addition, we are always looking for products in the country that are very similar to the typical Argentine flavor.

 In this way, they are adapted to the local market and the authentic character of the empanada is not lost. An example of this is the mozzarella cheese they use, which is purchased from a Galician supplier, as it is quite similar. Malv贸n’s products are made with fresh ingredients every day, using the old Argentinean recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. 

They are also building another bakery in a different location from the central bakery, which operates in Las Rozas, to be able to cover this growing service for both their own stores and those of the franchises.

Posted in Europe, Spain.