Sweet Sweet Argentina
Life is sweet, especially when you’re in Argentina. It isn’t just the abundance of steak, it’s the fact that every other facet of Argentinean cuisine (that I’ve come across) has something sweet about it. Whether it’s buttery, sugar-topped croissants in the morning, or a snack of churros and dulce de leche, there is nothing too sweet for Argentina.
In my week long stay, I came across a whole slew of food items that I don’t ordinarily assume would be sweet. For example, there was sweetened ketchup, coffee that tasted naturally sweet, and even sweet spreadable cheese! My friend even thought the fries were sweet, but I think we were just going overboard.
One of my favorite meals involved some sweet treats for breakfast at one of Buenos Aires most famous cafes: Cafe Tortoni. Open for 150 years, this elegant cafe is said to be a place where literary artists gather to discuss their latest works. The walls are lined with photos of great Argentinean writers, as well as paintings and even stained glass lamps for sale. But even more important than this delightful atmosphere was of course, the food.
We were going for a “light” meal to start off the day and wound up with a haven of indulgent Argentinean sweets. It wasn’t the healthiest of breakfasts, but hey, we were on vacation! We had: churros dipped in dulce de leche (a dip made with caramel and milk), fresh cups of cafe con leche (coffee with milk), we split a dulce de leche alfajore (soft cookie with filling), and decided to go for the Don Pedro ice cream: vanilla ice cream topped with whiskey sauce and nuts.
Maybe it was a little much, but I have no regrets. This classy cafe serves up some of the best indulgences I have ever tasted. The churros were simply delicious, the dulce de leche was simply…to die for, and the Don Pedro ice cream concoction was out of this world. The only thing I wouldn’t have ordered again was the alfajore. It was a little too dry and crumbly for my taste, but as a staple cookie in Argentina, it was a must on my list of foods to try.
But back to the theme of all things sweet, the creamy caramely dulce de leche is something you can find anywhere and everywhere in Argentina. Every menu had a postre (dessert) made with dulce de leche.
Even the local gelato chain Freddo had dulce de leche gelato. It was incredibly yummy!
But by far the most close-to-home comparison I found was Oreos. Grocery shopping for some snacks for our 16 hour bus trip to Iguazu Falls, we came across some very interesting Oreo flavors. In all the kinds I saw, there wasn’t one regular cream-filled Oreo. But there was indeed a dulce de leche Oreo!
Now that I’m home, I miss the abundance of dulce de leche, and wish I had taken some home. By far the best dulce de leche we had was at Cafe Tortoni, but unfortunately for me they weren’t able to pack it up to go.
I’ll have to make do with this recipe for Dulce de Leche Cream Cake. Not such a bad thing if you ask me.
Tune in for more on Argentina!
Honing my Beef Eating Skills