DINING OUT: Try Latin American delicacies

  • "My mother said if you read the labels on food products and you can't pronounce the words%2C don't eat them." - Monique Font Delacroix

Organic might be a bit of a buzzword among some food purveyors, but Monique Font Delacroix says she's made it her mission to include only the purest of ingredients in her wide selection of empanadas.

A first-time vendor at this year's Wednesday Farmers Market at Marco's Veterans Community Park, Delacroix puts it this way:

Assorted styles of beef empanadas are available, along with chicken varieties and also sweet fillings such as Nutella, nuts, banana and rum.

"My mother said if you read the labels on food products and you can't pronounce the words, don't eat them."

Thus, in Delacroix's empanadas, you won't find additives or preservatives like methylcyclopropene, or additives like butylated hydroxytoluene, canthaxanthin or potassium bromate, for example.

In fact, Delacroix, who already markets her empanadas under the organic moniker, is in the process of establishing a USDA-certified factory in Miami, where she bases her business – fanning out a team of distributors who ply assorted weekly markets in south Florida.

She describes the baked pies with assorted fillings as being to Latin America what hot dogs are to America.

Formally a restaurateur in Key Biscayne after moving to the United States 20 years ago from Buenos Aires with her family, Delacroix tumbled on the idea of homemade empanadas after a friend of her mother's made a few of the delicious pies in the family kitchen.

A year-and-a half ago, she established her own factory (commercial kitchen) in Miami, and along with her husband began to produce as well as develop an expansion strategy for the Latin-American delicacy.

"I'm controlling the growth of the company carefully," said Delacroix, who already has received inquiries from prospective franchisees (but has turned them down).

Nevertheless, she has lofty goals that include going national and even international at some stage.

"I think the product is a good fit for everybody," she said. "Right now, I'm also working on a purely vegan line."

Delacroix is impressed with the Marco Market as well as the clientele.

"It's a high quality community there," she said. "We thought it was perfect for us to come in."

On duty at the stall each Wednesday is Luis Capcha, who uses low-key salesmanship to catch the interest of potential customers.

He said best-sellers specifically on Marco are the spinach empanadas, as well as those filled with tomato, mozzarella cheese and basil, and also the six-cheese with fresh oregano variety.

The Farmers Market operates 7:30 a.m. Wednesdays at the park, and will continue through April.