Sweet Tooth

Where is the most delicious place in Argentina? That’s right, an ice cream shop. But where is the second-most delicious place? A bakery. Argentine bakeries are places of delicate pastries and rich scents, of sugar and well, not so much spice, but plenty of sugar! At the very tip-top of Argentine delicacies is the alfajor, a kind of dessert made from two cookies with dulce de leche in the middle, all of it covered in chocolate. (Something like a wagon-wheel.) This is the classic, anyway, although there are infinite variations, including chocolate or jam or local sweet spreads in the middle, hard merenge coverings, fluffier cake-like cookies, or coconut around the dulce de leche. They are heavy and probably add more calories to your body than they actually contain, but they are delicious.

The alfajor may be the king of the dessert world here, but the medialuna, or croissant, is definitely the most popular. This is primarily because it is not seen as a dessert but rather as a breakfast/lunch/snack food, available constantly at every single cafe, which can be found on every single corner in the city. Argentines probably consume more medialunas every day than there are fish in the sea. They aren’t quite the same as French croissants, but are usually sweeter and not quite so fluffy. Dipped in hot chocolate they are about the best thing in the world.

Of course, medialunas are only the beginning of Argentine “facturas,” or pastries. You can find any combination of pastry dough, dulce de leche, and jam that you can possibly imagine, in all shapes and sizes, with nuts or coconut thrown in, maybe some chocolate. Like donuts, people often go to a bakery and buy an assortment to bring in to the office or a friend’s tea.

Argentines may not do much more than beef and sweets, but just like beef, let me tell you, they’ve got the sweets all figured out.

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