Yesterday, Pope Francis met with Fidel and Raúl Castro and then led a mass attended by hundreds of thousands of believers in Havana's Revolution Plaza, stopping in the island nation as part of his whirlwind ten-day visit to the United States. Considering his nonstop schedule, one wonders when the Holy See has time to eat?
Univision senior special correspondent Maria Antonieta Collins must have figured the pope would be hungry because she gave him a box of empanadas from the Coral Gables restaurant Rincón Argentino.
According to Time, Collins packed the empanadas in her carry-on bag, sometimes holding them in her arms "like a baby." The pastries made the trip from Miami to Rome and spent time at the Vatican press office before Collins and the treats boarded the papal jet bound for Cuba. The crafty reporter then used hair dryers to defrost the treats before presenting them to the pope.
Clearly touched by this gift, the pope blessed Collins. She then retweeted a picture of her presenting the gift to the leader of the Catholic Church.
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The pope ate some and then shared the rest with the press corps on the plane, including Time reporter Elizabeth Dias, who deemed the empanadas "delicious."
Collins said she chose those particular empanadas because they were made by immigrants. "It was clearly worth it. Empanadas for el papa."
The Coral Gables restaurant shares a common thread with the pope. Owners Miguel and Illena DeMarziani and Pope Francis are Argentines of Italian descent. The DeMarzianis opened the restaurant in 1987, and their son Michael opened a second location, in Kendall, in 2001. According to WSVN, the couple was thrilled to receive news that the empanadas were well received by the pope, with Miguel getting teary-eyed.