Having masitas (petits-fours), facturas (croissants and pastries) and sandwiches de miga (crust less white-bread sandwiches) for tea or for any other occasion is a must in Buenos Aires and each one has their own favorite Confiteria or Panaderia. La Exposicion on Juncal corner Libertad is located at the busy intersection called cinco esquinas used to be THE place to go. Some years later, a few employees of La Exposicion opened their own bakery/pastry shop – Confiteria Norte (on Vicente Lopez). As we had already tried the formers sandwiches and medialunas (croissants) on a previous visit, we decided to drop by the latter on this trip. Although the selection was vast at Norte, their croissants were industrial-like and not very good plus the staff forbade me to take photos in the store (like taking pictures of their display was some sort of pastry espionage).
After recounting the episode to my mother-in-law, she suggested we visit Dos Escudos on Montevideo (between Quintana and Guido) which was the best Confiteria of the three. It’s also the most expensive but it’s worth the price. We bought a few facturas – medialunas de grasa (lard croissants) and medialunas de manteca (butter croissants), vigilantes (sugar-covered puff-pastry sticks) and the bomb pastry that my husband likes – the bola de fraile, literally friar’s ball – which is a dulce de leche-filled sweet bread. All were excellent – freshly-made and delicious. The shop is also the most modern of the three and looks like a typical bakery and cake shop with refrigerated displays of whole cakes plus chocolates, all sorts of breads and a wide variety of masitas (Argentine-style petits-fours).
If it’s gourmet food shopping you’re after then head to complex on the corner of Rodriguez Peña and Vicente Lopez where many of the city’s best food shops are located. On the Rodriguez Pena side there are several specialty stores worth mentioning.
One of them is the Verduleria Napoli which has a wide selection of fruits and vegetables. They are a bit on the pricey side but the quality is incredible. We purchased a lot of fruits and had them delivered to our apartment and they were excellent.
The shop right beside them sells fresh pastas. Pastas San Jose is a local standby for all sorts of raviolis for the weekly “raviolada del Domingo” (or Sunday ravioli meal). There are other types of fresh pastas on offer plus an assortment of ready-made sauces from tomato, mushroom cream to four cheeses packed and ready to go and even freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.
There is a butcher alongside Pastas San Jose with a display of all types of chorizos and sausages plus marbled cuts of meat ready for the grill which is perfect for when you want to attempt your own “asado“.
On the corner is a small attractive boutique, Bonafide, which is a local brand that sells coffees of all kinds available both in beans or freshly-ground. Coffee accessories are also available plus beautifully packaged Panettones (Italian Christmas fruitcakes) and Pandoros (Italian icing sugar covered giant brioches).
As for delivery options, nothing beats the fantastic empanadas from El Mirasol – no minimum order required, although about a dozen should make it worth their while. They arrive in a labeled cardboard box, crispy, piping hot and ready-to-eat.