After more than a month of living in Buenos Aires, we thought it was time to exchange our tourist identities and become real porteños. Some friends from my program and I somehow had the crazy idea to become the newest street vendors of Buenos Aires.
The next thing I knew, we were baking 5 batches of brownies in my host family’s kitchen to bring to the market in San Telmo, one of the largest street fairs in the city. Each weekend, there are hundreds of people walking through the street, buying everything from mate cups, handmade jewelry, to tasty empanadas. The vendors simply sit on the side of the street, cheerfully talking to those walking by, and some casually drinking wine straight from the bottle. The fair is pretty informal, so pretty much anyone who wants to sell something can show up without a permit.
So just one day a week, we thought we would become artisans/chefs/vendors/whatever you want to want to call us. It would be a great way to really experience Argentine culture from the other side, not as a tourist but as an actual worker. It would also be a way to get some extra money for weekend getaways, wine, and of course, more dessert. We also decided to make black bean brownies because they’re: a) semi-healthy, b) chocolately and delicious, and c) not common here, so we could stand out at the fair (as if we didn’t already haha).
After we decorated 40 brownies with almonds, M&Ms, dulce de leche, and honey, we realized we probably needed something to put them in. Most of the vendors have hand-woven baskets or painted trays with signs advertising their products. With many stores closed on Saturday night and Sunday morning, we settled for some flimsy pizza boxes. We then scribbled BROWNIES on the lids. I know, not good, but remember we’re new at this
First day = success. We sold all of our brownies… and ate some, too. Toward the end of the day, they didn’t look so pretty anymore, so we sold them for only 5 pesos (the equivalent to 50 cents). In the end, we did end up making some money. Even better, we traded our product with other vendors at the fair. We got back massages, mate cups and silver straws, bracelets, dulce de leche and chocolate crepes, homemade granola bars, and alfajores (a mix between cake and a cookie with dulce de leche sandwiched in the middle… unbelievable). And best of all, in a day filled with chocolate and sweets, we met some of the greatest, and sweetest, people along the way.
Hasta luego, Chef Jess