Sweets, dulces and postres are everywhere you look in Argentina. Argentinians have a love affair with these delicious but calorie laden delights. Bakeries or panaderias, ice-cream stores or Helados and the famous alfajores tempt you at every corner. We cannot talk about authentic food in Argentina without talking about the postres the country has to offer. Every meal is a reason to have something sweet, and you will have plenty to choose from. To make it easier for you, we are highlighting the top 5 authentic desserts in Argentina that you should experience.
1- Dulce de leche
You cannot miss dulce de leche when you come to Argentina. It is everywhere and used in all types of desserts and sweets. It is made of sweetened milk that is heated and becomes caramelized to create this nice sweet caramel milk paste. It is eaten practically at all meal times, including breakfast where it is spread on bread or toast. You will easily find dulce de leche at all supermarkets, but we would highly recommend that you try a homemade or artisanal kind to avoid the artificial sweet taste that you may find in industrial ones.
Dulce de leche is also used in one of the easiest dessert to make, chocotorta. It is a chocolate cake made of chocolate cookies dipped in coffee and layered with dulce de leche and creamed cheese. The best part is that you don’t even have to bake it! A chocoholics dream come true!!
Alfajores are some of the most prevalent sweet specialty in Argentina. They are a type of cookie made of two sweet cornstarch biscuits joined together with dulce de leche. You will find alfajores coated with dark or white chocolate, or simply covered with coconut or sugar powder. Alfajores can be eaten for breakfast, as a dessert at lunch or dinner, or as a snack to accompany the tea, coffee or mate (traditional drink of Argentina).
Alfajores are sold in panaderias (bakeries) as well as cafes or in individual packets at specialty stores like Havana, which offer some of the best in Argentina. Although they are rich and sweet, they are not overwhelmingly sugary, it’s very easy to get tempted to eat one every single day.
We discovered this amazing dessert outside on our first trip to the Pampas for an asado, which you can read more about here. It was here that everyone was eagerly waiting for aunt Sandra’s homemade rogel. Rogel is a unique cake made of several layers of light pastry separated by dulce de leche and topped with meringue. The layers of pastry are thin and make for a nice soft cake. The gooey meringue adds a new level of sweetness that can make it a little too sweet. Nonetheless, the combination of textures mixed with dulce de leche is a sure winner!
While not easy to find, it is worth hunting down. It is mostly eaten at home for dessert or made for events. Look for it at cafes or panaderias and don’t give up your search for it. It is delicious and you will thank me later 🙂
4-Dulce de Membrillo
This dessert is off the beaten path and is based on the fall fruit called Membrillo or Quince in English. This fruit looks like a bumpy pear, but it is not sweet in it’s raw state. Argentina actually ranks among the world’s top producers of quince. The most popular culinary use for quince in Argentina is dulce de membrillo. It is not too sweet and a popular filling for facturas (tiny little pastries sold at most bakeries), in tarts, sweet pastries such as pastelitos or sold as a paste for budin (cake). You will also see dulce de membrillo paired with cheese on another off the beaten path dessert Vigilante.
This is another unique desert from Argentina that is not commonly served in restaurant. It helps to know about it in advance because it is not often sold at restaurants. Most portenos eat it at home. It is a very simple two part dessert which consists of two slices of paste and cheese. The sweet paste part can be either dulce de membrillo or dulce de batata (sweet potato paste). The second part is a slice of queso or cheese that is similar to a Gouda. We recommend to try the one with the dulce de batata. It not intensely sweet, it doesn’t taste like a potato and it literally melts in your mouth.
Even More Authentic Desserts in Argentina
Argentina has many more sweets, dulces, and postres and it seems that every time we meet new people we find out about a new dessert. To complete this list of the top 5 authentic desserts in Argentina, we would like to add the following four that are also part of the Argentina dessert culture.
The abundance of Heladerias (ice cream parlors) speaks to the popularity of helados or ice-cream. Brought to Argentina by Italian immigrants, Argentina’s have perfected the recipe which is more similar to gelato. Our previous article about the Italian influence in Argentina goes into much more detail about helados. For now, we say indulge in helados and try the very popular dulce de leche flavor.
Medialunas are popular pastries which have the traditional crescent or half-moon shape of French croissants. Compared to French croissants, they are a taste sweeter and are a little more doughy. They can be found at panaderias as part of the facturas (pastries) that are often sold by the dozen. There is always a good time of Medialunas. At breakfast, with coffee or at the merienda, which is “Argentine tea time” designed to tide people over until a late dinner.
During merianda, medialunas are usually served with cafe de leche (coffee with milk). Our previous article 10 surprising discoveries about Buenos Aires goes into more detail about merienda, coffee and medialunas.
Facturas are the name given in pastries that can be found at the many panaderias around the country. They are little pastries are often sold individually or by the dozen. It’s worth buying a dozen to sample the different types and it is more economical making it a good excuse to buy more 🙂 These little pastries are covered with sugar and are usually filled with dulce de leche, crema pastelera (custard) or dulce de membrillo. They are also available plain and without any filling. They are so many kinds and it is difficult to try them all. Though we encourage you to give it a try if on your next trip to Argentina 🙂
This is not a comprehensive list of all the authentic desserts in Argentina. We wouldn’t take that challenge on 🙂
We’ve outlined popular and traditional desserts as well as some that are off the beaten path for your enjoyment. Let us know if there are any desserts that you feel are missing from this list.
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