Glorious snow capped mountains, endless hiking trails, lakes, vineyards, wine tasting, whales, red meat, jam-packed BBQs hanging from giant hooks in the ceiling, Summer and Winter weather days… these are all the things that attracted me to Argentina. Little did I know that I would leave the country after two months with an addiction to dulce de leche and an enormous love for their baked goods.
I first stumbled upon the delights of dulce de leche in a small, incredibly cold and empty hostel in the middle of Bolivia’s world famous Salar De Uyuni. There were eight of us enjoying a tour of the salt flats, two Argentinians, one American, one Greek and two Brits (myself and Tom).
Breakfast arrived, just the usual toast, jams and spreads. There was a sigh of joy as people noticed dulce de leche had arrived alongside the spreads. My ear obviously pricked at talk of a sweet, thick, caramel-like spread which is an Argentinian staple, often found in other South American countries but unfortunately not on my table yet. Oh it was delightful and my mind wandered at the thought of travelling Argentina with an endless supply….
Once in Argentina my dulce de leche love was taken to another level when I first looked through a bakery window. Hmmm look at those baked goods filled to the roof with a light brown caramel-like spread. What could this be, I wondered? Oh my god it’s only cakes, pastries, cookies and bread stuffed with dulce de leche. That was when I knew Argentina would make me very happy indeed.
Argentinian bakeries were on most street corners. You wandered in, picked up your basket or plastic container and filled them with your chosen selections. Sometimes the bakeries also included a cafe where you could feed your sweet tooth alongside a coffee while taking part in South America’s early evening snack time. Whether you decided to takeaway or sit in it was always REALLY hard to just pick one or two items…
Now, don’t get me started on alfajores. Wow. They are Argentinian biscuits filled with dulce de leche, you can get them covered in chocolate or plain. In an alfajor there can often be more than one layer of dulce de leche too! These could be bought in supermarkets in your usual biscuit aisle or you could get enormous freshly baked versions from the local bakery OR even an alfajores chocolate shop…
Some alfajores even managed to travel back to England with me (as Argentina was pretty much my last stop), they were slightly melted but made for good HELLO I’M BACK, NICE TO SEE YOU presents.
Let’s not forget that there were also a whole host of other delightful treats filling the shelves of your typical Argentinian bakery. Second only to an alfajor was a fruit tart, delicate in look and divine in taste.
Possibly joint second was a dulce de leche slice-type-thing (cannot remember their actual name). The flaky pastry was always piled high and topped with chocolate plus a drizzle of icing. The challenge was always to try and fit your mouth around it…
There you have it, if you’re off to Argentina you can definitely add bakeries to the long list of treats that country offers you. Just remember after eating every ounce of that BBQ-d cow, perfect as it is, you still need to leave some room for a trip to the bakery.
- Read a previous blog which talks of the delights of meaty Argentina amongst other country treats, I’ll go anywhere for food…(not prison).
- A world of beer! 10,000 views let’s celebrate with a beer!