Saltenas or Saltena are a type of empanada of argentinian origin sold throughout Bolivia, although they are also available in some other countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Arequipa (Peru), Chile, and the USA. They originated in the southern department of Tarija.
Saltenas are savory pastries filled with beef, pork or chicken mixed in a sweet, slightly spicy or very spicy sauce, and sometimes also containing peas, potatoes and other ingredients.
Typically saltenas can be found in any town or city throughout the country, but each area has its variations; Cochabamba and Sucre claim to have the best version of this snack, and many will go out of their way to try the variation from Potosi. In La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, it is a tradition to enjoy saltenas as a mid-morning snack, although vendors often start selling saltenas very early in the morning. The pastries are sold anywhere from 7am to noon. What is astonishing is how quickly they are sold; many outlets are sold out by mid-morning.
Historian Antonio Paredes Candia states that during the early 1900s, Juana Manuela Gorriti was the first lady to create the current version of this product. This lady later married Presidente Manuel Isidoro Belzu. Gorriti was born in Salta, Argentina and was exiled to Tarija, Bolivia during the Juan Manuel de Rosas dictatorship. The Gorriti family endured extreme poverty, and they came up with the recipe in the early 1900s in order to make a living. A variation of these pastries was known at the time throughout most of Europe.
The product, nicknamed "saltena" (the term for a female citizen of Salta), became very popular. Paredes Candia states that it was common to say to kids: "Ve y recoge una empanada de la saltena" ("go and pick up an empanada from the saltena"). In time most forgot the name Manuela Gorriti, but not the nickname. Eventually saltenas left Tarija and became a Bolivian tradition.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Saltenas