Sharing food is my love language. In 2020, that meant delivering freshly baked cinnamon rolls via bike to my friends’ doorsteps or discretely sharing bottles of wine with them sitting six feet apart in various parks around New York City.
For loved ones living farther away, I relied on Goldbelly, an online storefront founded in 2013, that ships iconic American regional foods via UPS and FedEx overnight services. When I couldn’t spend Mother’s Day in person with my mom in California, I ordered her H&H bagels from NYC. For my sister’s birthday in August, I sent a Central Grocery muffuletta sandwich from New Orleans.
Now in 2021, fully vaccinated, I can deliver bagels in person to my mom’s doorstep. If we wanted, my sister and I could fly to New Orleans tomorrow and enjoy those sandwiches in the French Quarter together.
But many international destinations are still out of reach due to border closures and high COVID rates. Enter Goldbelly, once again: For its first international food offering, it teamed up with the famous Argentine chef Francis Mallmann—who you might recognize from Netflix’s Chef’s Table—to ship full Patagonian asado-style meal kits, as well as fully prepared empanadas and desserts throughout the United States.
The other weekend, I was able to test out a few of the dishes from this new collection in my friends’ Brooklyn backyard. While we weren’t able to recreate the dramatic mountain scenery of Argentina’s Patagonian landscapes, sharing food and sitting for hours around a table at our first dinner party in over 15 months felt like a true escape.
If you want to go really big, you can opt for the Traditional Argentinian Asado Feast for 10–12 ($469, goldbelly.com), which includes not just a flank steak, but also a skirt steak, two dry-aged boneless rib-eye steaks, six short ribs, and six chorizo sausages. Of course, there are sides, too, like seasoned potato wedges, melty marinated provoleta cheese, ratatouille, plus chimichurri and salsa criolla sauces to top it all off.
With only six of us, the 7.5 Hour Lamb Malbec Dinner Kit for 6–8 ($299, goldbelly.com) and the Dulce de Leche Panqueques Kit ($79, goldbelly.com) for dessert seemed like a less ambitious place to start for a simple Sunday dinner. Both kits arrived on Friday afternoon via overnight shipping (for this collection, you can choose between Wednesday and Friday delivery).
Each kit was delivered in a separate cardboard box with a freezer bag and ice packs to keep everything cold and fresh. The lamb kit came with two 25-ounce pieces of boneless lamb remoulade, 16 ounces of lamb jus, 10 smashed potatoes, and 16 ounces of gremolata (a sauce with parsley, oregano, sliced almonds, and mint). The panqueques kit arrived with six crepe-like pancakes, six burnt orange slices topped with rosemary, and a 12-ounce bag of rich dulce de leche caramel sauce.
To minimize prep work, each item arrived fully prepared in vacuum-packed plastic bags. All we had to do was provide the wine, olive oil, and salt. The amount of packaging wasn’t exactly ecofriendly, but as long as we’re not hopping on a flight to Argentina anytime soon it seemed like an OK trade for now. The one thing not included in the packages were printed out cooking instructions. (You’ll have to print those out or read them off your computer from Goldbelly’s website.)
Thankfully, it was all pretty straightforward. Because the lamb rolls were braised with fennel, parsley, leeks, and Argentinian malbec wine for over seven hours before shipping, all we had to do was cut the log into equal pieces and warm it up in a pan with the lamb jus for seven minutes per side. (The lamb arrives precooked, but the steaks are delivered raw so you can grill them to your liking.) While the lamb was heating up, we placed the smashed potatoes in another cast iron skillet with some olive oil and let them get crispy. From unpackaging to putting it on a plate and topping off with the gremolata sauce, the whole cooking process took just about 20 minutes.
After a year of cooking alone day-in and day-out, being able to share a meal like this without having to actually braise lamb for seven hours myself was such a joy. The potatoes were perfectly cooked, and the lamb was so tender it fell apart as soon as our forks touched it. The serving sizes were also accurate—the six of us were satisfied without being too full and there were some leftovers for the host the next day. The only element of the meal that fell flat was the dulce de leche panqueques. I could eat that dulce de leche straight from the bag with a spoon, but the precooked pancakes didn’t reheat well and cracked when we tried to roll them up per the instructions.
The next time I feel like throwing a dinner party without spending hours in the kitchen preparing, I’d definitely consider ordering one of these meal kits from Goldbelly again. Though, I might skip dessert and load up on the 12-pack of beef empanadas ($99, goldbelly.com) for appetizers instead.
To check out the full chef Francis Mallmann x Goldbelly collection, visit goldbelly.com.
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Lyndsey Matthews Lyndsey Matthews is the senior commerce editor at AFAR who covers travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.