Tuesday, March 5, 2024

A love story of tacos, beer and empanadas: Meet Bety and Ale 

At Mexico News Daily we like to tell stories of dreamers who decide to become entrepreneurs in Mexico because this is a great country where everyone can create their opportunities.

San Miguel de Allende is a great example of this, where people of different nationalities and cultures arrive in search of the “Mexican dream” to undertake and create their own success stories. Such is the case of Bety González and Alejandro Valladares, a Mexican-Argentine couple who decided to share a little piece of Argentina with the people of San Miguel.

Spinach, meat, bacon, cheese, corn, chicken, apple with cinnamon, strawberry with cream cheese… More than 14 fillings to delight you. (Photo: María Rosario Ruiz)

How it all began

Bety González, a Mexican from Tampico, Tamaulipas, gradually became attracted to Argentine culture. When she saw the opportunity to move to the South American country to study for a master’s degree, she didn’t think twice. An industrial engineer by profession, Bety always had a passion for cooking. The Argentina-born Alejandro Valladares – Ale – is a lover of craft beer and gastronomy. In 2019, destiny joined their paths in Buenos Aires.

Connected by their love for food, they decided to start a business together. Bety was already running Cualli, a gourmet taco business named for a Nahuatl word meaning  “good.” Ale, on the other hand, had his own brand of beer that he was looking to sell. There was no better combination: tacos and craft beer.

Everything was going well… until the pandemic hit. Like so many others, Bety and Ale had to change their plans. They decided to move back to Bety’s home country. Where before Bety had brought Mexican food to Argentina, this time she and Ale were bringing Argentine cuisine to Mexico. 

The couple decided to settle in Querétaro, where they ran their business for nine months without much success. One day, they visited San Miguel de Allende, fell in love with the city and without a second’s hesitation decided to move their business.

Right from the start, their business, called Viento Sur, was welcomed with open arms by both the Mexican and foreign communities. Bety and Ale immediately felt at home because of the kindness of the sanmiguelenses and their interest in trying food from around the world.

The most popular empanadas in town

Viento Sur makes typical Argentine empanadas, with more than a dozen kinds of fillings, from spicy beef to corn (choclo). For Bety and Ale, homemade flavor is very important. To keep them fresh, Bety prepares fillings from scratch every day, as well as discos the empanada dough.

Every day, Bety hand-prepares the dough for fresh empanadas. (María Rosario Ruiz)

In Argentina it’s as easy to find empanada discos as it is to find tortillas in Mexico; getting your hands on discos in Mexico, however, is a different story. The pre-made empanada dough sold here isn’t fresh and is full of preservatives. To maintain the quality they’re known for, Bety and Ale decided to make their discos from scratch to keep the quality that identifies them.

In addition to empanadas, Viento Sur sells plates of pasta with an Argentine touch, salads, and alfajores, made with authentic Argentine ingredients.

A perfect duo 

Being spouses and business partners is not easy, but Bety and Ale have learned to maintain a balance between work and marriage. From the beginning, each of them has had their own tasks: Bety prepares the fillings like an authentic Argentine, while Ale is in charge of hand-folding each empanada, as well as administration and delivery service.

Ale is responsible for meticulously hand-folding every empanada, paying close attention to every detail. (María Rosario Ruiz)

Ale says that he’d never made an empanada before opening Viento Sur. One day, watching Bety struggle to fold an empanada, Ale decided to take the initiative; with natural talent and great skill, he folded the pastry as if he’d been doing it all his life. Nowadays, Ale is in charge of stuffing the empanadas with filling and giving them their finishing touches.

Both recognize the difficulties but have enjoyed the process of starting a business together. Every day, they say, they get to know each other a little better and to be the best team.

The next step 

Bety and Ale have many plans for the future. They want to get a bigger place to offer an authentic Argentine experience in San Miguel: Argentine music and decoration and a larger menu with asado and picadas. They also plan to offer a space for cultural exchange, where Mexicans and foreigners can dance, sing and share. 

You can find Bety and Ale at Viento Sur, at Calzada de la Luz 90, in downtown San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. Reachable on Facebook as Viento Sur Empanadas and by phone at 442 171 5586, they’ll be happy to meet you and maybe even share a mate with you.

Rosario Ruíz writes for Mexico News Daily

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