How do you know which flavor empanada you’re about to eat? It’s hard to tell when you can’t see what’s inside. In order to solve the mystery, chefs resort to different options.
In Argentina, in order to differentiate the flavors it is customary to crimp the empanadas in a variety of ways while keeping the same shape. Also, as there are so many flavors, changing the shape of the empanada is very popular. There are specific shapes that are used for certain flavors, this is something culturally installed, there is not a rule of thumb.
Below you can see the most popular ones:
LABELS: This might be the easiest one, as it is clear and big. You cannot miss a flavor stamp. Still not many people use it as it requires to invest in a stamp for each flavor you develop. This makes it quite inconvenient.
LETTERS: This option is definitely easier for cooks, but not that much for people eating them. Lets say someone orders a chicken empanada and a caprese empanada...they are going to have a hard time figuring out which is which, as they both start with a C.
At Nuchas most of the time we use letter to identify our flavors, but as we like o keep it simple, we put it in the fold of the empanada.
SYMBOLS: It might also occur that the filling of the empanada has many ingredients and they are all present in similar quantities. This will make it hard to summarize with one letter. One example is our sweet empanada, which has Nutella, Apple, Cranberries.How can we do to quickly identify it? Easy, we use an asterisk -see the first empanada on the right picture below-.
This technique requires educating customers to associate the symbol with the letter. But once it occurs, it is a great alternative.
All this has ultimately developed a new trend in empanadas: open faced empandas -or baskets, which is how are they called in Argentina. This alternative reduces the probability of having a bite of an empanada that is not the one you've chosen.
We agree that this is a great alternative, but somehow it moves away from what a traditional empanada looks like. Plus, it takes away the adrenaline of that first bite :)