Valeria Ricciardi, the woman from Mar del Plata who launched the “signature alfajores”

Valeria Ricciardi, the woman from Mar del Plata who launched the “signature alfajores”

Just as there is an “auteur cinema”, as opposed to an industrial one, in gastronomy there has long been talk of “authorial chefs”. However, The case of Valeria Ricciardi from Mar del Plata goes beyond what is known. She is “author of alfajores” and nothing less than the same capital of the alfajor, his hometown, who recently officially distinguished her with the title of tourism ambassador of Mar del Plata, and his gastronomic creations received the declaration of cultural interest by the Municipality of General Pueyrredón.

Their “signature alfajores”Furthermore, they have been enjoyed and recommended by the Draw Martínez, Lionel Messi, Enzo Francescoli, Lourdes Sánchez, Julieta Camaño and Sebastian Batagliaamong many other famous people, and among his distinctions he already has the Bronze Medal in the category “Best cookie in the world” and Silver Medal in the “Best Packaging 2023” in it Alfajor World Cup 2023which was held in Buenos Aires.

In dialogue with this newspaper, Ricciardi He says that he turned to creation of your own alfajores design recently, more specifically during the pandemic. “Until then, I worked for a well-known ice cream brand, where I introduced my own popsicle designs that gave it an identity in the market”, says. Her work there led her to assume a leadership role, supervising the production and logistics of more than 40 stores. In this area, she was also a professor at the Carpigiani Gelato University.

But the pandemic came and, although “As a mother of four children, and divorced, I needed work in a dependency relationship, I dared to make my own way and dedicate myself to the preparation of alfajores with a personal seal”. He defines them this way: “My alfajores do not have the traditional chocolate coating but rather a caramelized almond coating that gives them, in addition to a different flavor, a crunchy ‘flavor bomb’ sensation in the mouth.”.

It was with that design that it dared to go on the market and, supported by extensive experience in the ice cream parlor and in the preparation of sweets tables, where it was also a reference, and compete with century-old brands in the very heart of the alfajorera city par excellence.

The history of the alfajor is very curious: although it is not a “flagship” sweet like its usual filling, dulce de leche, history led it to a unique regionalization. So much so that when we asked what other countries competed in that Alfajor World Cup from last year, points out that although the United States was not there, because they do not know it, or because the majority still do not accept the taste of dulce de leche, Canada did participate, with an equivalent candy, and Spain, To whom we historically owe the incorporation of the alfajor into our culture, for its “Moorish” side.

“Alfajor”, a word that comes from Arabic, was a candy widely consumed in Andalusia and other regions of southern Spain during the Muslim stay in the peninsula: this is how the conquerors brought it to these latitudes and, according to what is said, The heroes of May had them as one of their favorite desserts.

With Drawing Martínez.JPG

Meeting with the Drawing

But let’s see how Ricciardi, who slowly began to distribute his creations after the pandemic, had a stroke of luck since Dibu Martínez learned about his alfajores and began recommending them. This is how she tells it:

“The National Team’s victory in the World Cup gave me even more energy, and one morning, while I was delivering some orders in the neighborhood where Dibu lived, I went to his house to bring him a box of my alfajores. No appointment, nothing. I just showed up. I will never forget them, it was December 24, 2022, Christmas Eveshortly after we won the cup in Qatar.”

“My children were waiting for me with great anxiety in the car”, Ricciardi continues. “First I was greeted by the guard who told me I couldn’t pass. I explained to him what it was about, and then he asked me to wait a moment. After a little while, Drawing’s wife appeared, and she very kindly let me in. He was lying on a stretcher while they were giving him the world cup tattoo. I just arrived at that moment! And on top of that, he apologized for receiving me in those conditions.”.

“After the tattoo artists finished their work,” he continues, “he brought my children in, who couldn’t believe it, and tried the alfajores. That meeting was not only an immense joy for me but it changed my life. Based on his recommendation, Messi’s bodyguard took some boxes and Leo also loved my alfajores in Miami. “Sometimes things go well all together: from the national sporting triumph to my triumph as an entrepreneur.”

Despite the number of units it produces, Valeria Ricciardi continues to work in a purely artisanal way. It is surprising when he declares, when asked how many employees he has, “just my family. We make the alfajores together. My project, of course, is to establish a factory to increase production, and add, among other things, different kinds of fillings, and continue developing a line, which already exists, of alfajores for people with celiac disease.”.

The “author formula” of its alfajores also includes a personal design. “The flavor of a product, as I learned during my many years in the ice cream industry, has to be accompanied by an aesthetic brand that distinguishes it”. One of his last public appearances, in addition to his appearance on the program “Argentine chefs” of Public Television, was in the Alfajor Route 0 Fair in Mar del Plata.

At the farewell, when we ask him if he is related to the Ricciardi family of jewelers, he responds laughing: “Hopefully! If I had it, I would already have my own factory. But nothing to do with it, I started from the bottom, making my way alone.” And the farewell is with a promise: if ever, we tell you, a multinational offers you millions of dollars to buy your alfajores, do not follow the path of other brands and force them, in that case, to respect the same flavor and same design. Also laughing he replies: “The factory will always be mine”.

Source: Ambito

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