Saturday, 31 August 2013

Sweet Argentina

Argentina's alfajor cookies
Fresh from my 3 month journey through South America and Mexico this summer, I'd love to share a few more photos and findings from the sweeter side of the trip. 

After Brazil, we headed over the border via the Iguazu Falls to Argentina. As well as their famous steak and wine, I was hoping for plenty of dulce de leche (sweet caramelised milk) and I wasn't disappointed. It could be found everywhere from big plastic tubs of spread to eat on toast for breakfast to biscuits, cakes, ice cream and even as a version of the Oreo cookie.

Dulce de leche and chocolate chip ice cream
My favourite use of the ubiquitous caramel though was the alfajor, pronounced in English as the far from pretty 'alpha-hore' and made by sandwiching two shortbread style cookies together with dulce de leche, then coating the edges in shredded coconut

In their mass produced form, alfajores come coated in chocolate and are more like a sickly British wagonwheel but freshly baked they are crumbly, light, gooey and satisfying. These could be found in shops, cafes and bakeries everywhere and were even handed out for breakfast on the long overnight bus journeys. 

Buenos Aires was great for food and guided by blogs like Pick Up The Fork we managed to fit in French style brunch at Oui Oui, afternoon tea with modern cakes and pretty decor at Pierina Tea House and beautifully presented Asian food at closed door restaurant ('supper club' to Londoners) Cocina Sunae. Thanks to it's Italian influence, BA also has some amazing icecream with lots of dulce de leche based flavours to snack on as you wander around pretty neighbourhoods like Palermo and Recoleta.
Jam cookies in an Argentinian bakery
After the very European-feeling Buenos Aires and a few cities in between we reached Salta in the north of Argentina. I loved it's pastel coloured colonial buildings and street vendors cooking up steak over smokey charcoal ovens. On one of their fiesta days I tried bright red candied kumquats like miniature toffee apples, hand shaped donuts which were stretched out thinly and puffed up when they were deep fried and sweet empanandas (which are usually filled with meat and onion) filled with jam and coated with sugar.

Fortified with steak, wine and sugar we continued north and spent the next month in a very cold Bolivia and beautiful Peru. By then I was ready for a bit of sunshine and interesting food and was very excited about getting to Mexico. More on Mexico's sweet things coming up...

Colonial buildings in Salta
Candied apples and kumquats in Salta
Sweet empanadas and dulce deleche cookies
Nice choripan (sausage sandwich) street vendor lady in Salta
Salta doughnuts with caramel sauce

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