This is where it all began for me. The Alfajores are the stuff that dreams are made of - buttery, delicate and crumbly shortbread cookies filled with a rich layer of dulce de leche and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Years ago I sampled this cookie at one of the local street food festivals and one bite completely bewitched my taste buds and captivated my attention, which is saying a lot if you have ever wandered through said festivals! These heavenly cookies are made by Guisell Osorio, the owner and chef of Sabores del Sur (Flavors from the South), who opened her cafe in Walnut Creek last week. Not to worry, if you can’t make it out to the Creek, you can get your cookie fix at one of the locations listed here.
As an avowed Alfajores addict, I was very happy to hear that Sabores del Sur was just two blocks from my office! Chef Guisell has been dazzling tastebuds at local farmer’s markets at her Espresso bar with her signature dishes that are bursting with the familiar warm flavors of South American cuisine ( I got that from the website, I love that description). They take great pride in ensuring each dish is “made with love,” a philosophy Chef Guisell inherited while cooking with her grandmother during her childhood in Chile.
The sandwiches are made with home baked bread that has a nice crisp crust and is wonderfully tender inside. The Chacarero ($8.75) is filled with grilled steak, green beans, tomato, a smear of spicy aji sauce and slathered with aioli (a signature style, so if you are mayo averse, be warned!)
Pan con Chicharron ($8.75), filled with Peruvian style fried pork, sweet potato and onion salad is liberally dosed with the garlicky house made aioli. This was my favorite, bursting with rich and wonderful flavors – and that pork!
Tiny Pastel de Choclo, Chilean Shepherd’s Pie with Beef and Yellow Corn were served at a preview party. Everyone swooned when they took their first bite of this dish, which tantalizes your tastebuds with the sweetness of the creamy cornmeal and the savory meat filling which is made with beef, olive, raisins, hard cooked egg, chicken and spices. The regular portion is served in the same size bowl as the soup (in the photo below this), which should be quite a hearty portion.
“You know you’ve got the work of an alfajor master in your hands when the buttery cookies, sandwiching just a smear of dulce de leche, crumble at the slightest touch. The alfajores made by Chilean native Guisell Osorio do just that. Osorio, who owns the Walnut Creek catering business Sabores Del Sur, grew up having the rich South American cookies baked for her by her grandmother as a reward for “being good.” For the four years Osorio has been selling her childhood treat, she’s stubbornly refused to alter her grandmother’s recipe to make the delicate alfajores more shippable—which is great for us, but not necessarily the best business practice. It’s clear her reverence for the little cookies hasn’t wavered. At the end of a 14-hour day, she still rewards herself for being good, only now it’s with an alfajor — and a glass of Merlot. “It’s truly my heaven.
“From the moment you taste one of Guisell Osorio’s alfajores — delicate round butter cookies filled with creamy dulce de leche caramel and dusted with white powdered sugar — you know there’s something special about her cooking.”
Chef Guisell Osorio teaches Rosy Chu of Bay Area People how to make her unique vegan tamales, being served at the Taste of the Tamales by the Bay.
Al Despertar visits Chef Guisell Osorio at La Cocina to learn more about her business and her traditional Chilean recipes.
View by the Bay talks to Chef Guisell Osorio about her business while learning to make one of her favorite salmon dishes.