Recently I visited my home town Mendoza, Argentina, for a month. During that time, I spent my mornings exploring coffee shops and bakeries. Last week, I wrote about my favorite spots for coffee, now I will talk about pastries.
Medialunas are NOT Croissants
Before I start, I would like to introduce the world to Argentinian medialunas and my fellow Mendocinos to croissants. During my stay in Mendoza, I found that people interchangeably call croissants and medialunas, which is incorrect. Both kinds of pastries are close cousins in the sense that they’re laminated and share a similar shape, but they’re different in three aspects:
- Croissants have only a hint of sweetness, while medialunas are sweet and glazed with syrup. As a result, croissants taste mostly like bread and butter.
- Croissants are much larger and airier than medialunas but also feel lighter in weight. By contrast, Medialunas are much smaller and denser.
- Croissants have a straight shape while medialunas look, as their name suggests, like a half-moon.
Additionally, by asking questions in the restaurants, I found out that they all use the same pastry even if they advertise the two items on the menu. So, where it reads “ham and cheese croissant,” it should be interpreted as “ham and cheese medialuna.” Unfortunately, when I’m writing this blog, the market in Mendoza doesn’t seem to have the maturity to make a distinction between French and Argentinian pastries. Therefore, I will only recommend places where I found excellent and authentic medialunas.
It’s worth talking about the evaluation criteria that I used. First, I evaluated the pastries based on three characteristics:
- In the visual aspect, the pastries ought to look appetizing. Correctly shaped, baked until the crust develops some caramelization and a visible lamination.
- Execution technique, the pastries ought to be correctly laminated, shaped, leavened, and baked. Additionally, the medialunas need to have a layer of syrupy glaze.
- Flavor and texture, the pastries ought to be made with quality ingredients, have a balance between sweetness, salt, and butteriness, and their texture should be flaky and airy.
Finally, I tried many places, almost all of which were recommended by my friends from Mendoza, and I will have some remarks about a few that were good but didn’t make it into the top three.
Best Overall, Die Oma
This german bakery made the best medialunas I tried in Mendoza. Die Oma made the pastries with delicious butter, and the flavor was extremely balanced. This bakery offered many other sweet treats that looked appealing, but I didn’t have the chance to try them.
Best from a Coffee Shop, Modesto
If you read the previous post, you might realize that Modesto conquered my heart. Modesto is your place when you’re looking for a complete experience where you get specialty coffee and a fantastic pastry. I also tried many other food items, including the yogurt and granola bowl with fruit, and everything tasted great.
Best Stuffed, Bonito
Bonito also captivated my heart. I visited the shop about four times and tasted many of their stuffed pastries. I could tell the stuffings were well thought through and gourmet. Even though the medialunas alone wouldn’t stand a chance, they were perfect for stuffing, and Bonito offered sweet and savory options.
And there’s the rest.
I tried other popular spots like Brod, Fran, La Vene, Shelby, and Brillat Savarin. All of them offered decent pastries but not above average. I will highlight that Brillat Savarin did offer French croissants, but they got lost on being too pretentious and offered low-quality butter, which is a disqualifying factor.
With this, I will close my post. If you know any spots for pastries in Mendoza that you love, please share them with me in the comments section below.