While there is quite a debate over which packaged alfajor is the best, the number one spot is almost always awarded to Havanna. Most locals call them the best alfajores in the world, and everyone prefers a different flavor or coating.
What is an alfajor? To put it simply, it’s an Argentine version of the Oreo, but much more beloved. If you’re buying them at a kiosko or in the grocery store, you’ll open up a gob of dulce de leche (Argentine caramel made from condensed milk) sandwiched between two crunchy cookies, sometimes covered in white or semi-dark chocolate. If you’re lucky enough to try some homemade alfajores, the same dulce de leche will be inside, but the cookies will be soft and buttery, and sometimes have a hint of almond. Homemade cookies are rarely covered in chocolate but sometimes have coconut shavings stuck to stray dulce de leche around the edges. If you want to try making them at home, I like this recipe from CDKitchen, which most closely matches how I’ve seen alfajores prepared in Argentina.
The first difference in Havanna’s packaged alfajor is the cookies. They melt in your mouth faster than the crunchier cookies in most packaged alfajor brands, like Terrabusi or Bon o Bon (which are also heavenly in their own ways).
The second difference is the selection. Your usual decision at a kiosko will be between the chocolate covered kind and the one without the chocolate. But at Havanna, you can choose from the traditional chocolate coating, white chocolate coating, dark chocolate coating or a crunchy merengue coating. And instead of just dulce de leche in the middle, Havanna offers dulce de leche with Cashews and other nuts, jam or chocolate creme. And if the big cookies are too rich, you can order Mini Alfajores with all the same flavors and coatings.
The only fair solution? Get the assorted box to share. You can’t leave out any flavors!
–Tara for TKGO City GuidesRetails everywhere. Click here for a list of locations on Havanna’s web site (in English), but know you can also find the basic chocolate-covered dulce de leche Havanna alfajores at most kioskos around the city. Official site (Spanish, more complete) > Official site (English, a work in progress) >
More on general South American alfajores from Wikipedia >