New Latin market brings authentic flavors to downtown Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs High School student Arianna Aguilar and her grandmother were all smiles Monday, Oct. 10, as they shopped for plantain leaves inside The Boat Latin Market, which just opened in Steamboat Springs.
“We haven’t been able to find plantain leaves,” said Aguilar. “We normally have to drive to Denver.”
Aguilar’s family uses the leaves to make hayacas, which is a traditional food similar to a tamale, according to Aguilar’s grandmother, Toya Castro, who is from Ecuador. Today, Aguilar and Castro can get many of the hard-to-find ingredients they need for family recipes right in the heart of Steamboat Springs at The Boat Latin Market, 130 Ninth St., Unit D.
The market was opened by three friends — Karina Arias, who is from Guadalajara, Mexico; Keyla Villa from Chihuahua, Mexico; and Sahara Estrada from Jalisco, Mexico.
The trio said the idea to open the market spawned after they became frustrated that they could not find the items they wanted in local grocery stores, including traditional Mexican candies and treats that are a blend of sweet and spicy, as well as key ingredients for traditional Mexican and Central American dishes. Like Aguilar’s family, the women often made the three-hour trip to Denver to find the items they needed.
“We just wanted to bring a little flavor from our country here,” Villa said. “We wanted to bring what people needed to our community.”
The new store is just over 1,400 square feet, and is loaded with everything from traditional Mexican candies to cremes, cheeses and meats from Mexico, Salvador and Honduras. Among the hundreds of items in the new market, customers will also find frozen yuca, and authentic mole sauce. There are also Mexican condiments, mixes and many other items that can be hard to find in Steamboat Springs.
Arias is hoping the store will fill a void for the local Latin community, but she is also hopeful that the market will offer an authentic Mexican selection for the entire community.
“It’s hard to find this type of candies in here, and most of the people from Mexico when they make a birthday party for their kids like to put this type of candy in Pinatas,” Arias said. “It’s hard to find anything here, so we have to go and find it in other places, and bring those in here for all the birthday parties, and for the kids.”
However, she said the need goes beyond the candy.
“It will be easy because now (Latin community members) know that they can find the things they need,” Arias said. “Maybe now they can buy the creme they need to make a dish they learned from their grandma in Mexico, or Honduras, or something like that.”
The market is currently open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The new owners said they hope to eventually expand hours to Sunday if they have the demand.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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