Tag Archives: gelato

Dulce de Leche in Buenos Aires

Milk caramel needs a translation to Spanish to earn the sweet, sultry name it deserves, which here is dulce de leche. It is probably inaccurate to call dulce de leche an obsession in Argentina; it is so integrated into the everyday life, culture and food — especially sweets — of this place that it occupies a realm entirely different than obsession. It’s so present and normal it’s nearly negligible.

Dulce de leche comes to its sticky, sugary goodness through the slow heating of milk and sugar, which caramelizes. While the origins of dulce de leche are up for debate, it is a beloved treat throughout Latin America, where it also goes by names like manjar, arequipe and cajeta. It did, however, take Haagen-Dazs introducing dulce de leche as an ice cream flavor worldwide in the late ’90s to get many outside Latin America to taste it.

Still, Argentina holds its place as one of the world’s top producers of dulce de leche. Here in Buenos Aires, it seems dulce de leche is incorporated into everything sweet, even healthy breakfast cereal bars. If a food doesn’t come readymade with the sweetness, then supermarkets sell jars of dulce de leche to spread on anything an Argentine’s heart desires. Here are some of the best, most indulgent ways I have experienced dulce de leche so far in Buenos Aires.

Chocolate with almonds and dulce de leche Freddo gelato, by Karina for TKGO

Helado

Ice cream in Buenos Aires bears a close resemblance to Italian gelato, but what they have here that they don’t in Italy is a slew of dulce de leche flavors. Dulce de leche with brownie, or nuts, chocolate chips or “classic.” I’ve found dulce de leche to be the ideal accompaniment to any flavor of the chocolate persuasion.

Pastries

Dulce de leche pastries

Dulce de leche-stuffed pastries at Suevia

 

Pastries a plenty come stuffed with dulce de leche here. My favorite so far was from Confiteria Suevia, the bakery around the corner from my apartment. It was a thick, sweet powdered roll about the size of a fist sliced in half and slathered with dulce de leche holding the two pieces together.

Alfajor

Havanna alfajores, courtesy of Havanna.com.ar

 

Argentine alfajores consist of two sweet biscuits stuck together with a filling of dulce de leche and then — as they’re often found here — coated in chocolate. They’re sold in cafes, bakeries and supermarkets, and they are just as epic and decadent as they sound. For more about the famous alfajores at Havanna, read Tara’s TKGO City Guide listing here.

Karina for TKGO

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Hello, Buenos Aires!

It’s been a bit since I’ve authored a TKGO post, but my move to Buenos Aires and consequent settling-in time provided the perfect opportunity for Tara, the arctic adventurer, to bring you her awesome TKGO Antarctica installment. Now that I’m in the Southern Hemisphere and closer to Antarctica than ever, I might just have to figure out how to take a jaunt down there. At the very least I’ll make it to Patagonia!

I’ve been in Buenos Aires for about two weeks now, living in a Palermo apartment with two (American) friends and fellow Northwestern graduates, one of whom studied abroad here two years ago. We’ve developed a network of other recent college grad American expats, as well as Argentine friends, and spent time exploring the city’s sights, food, nightlife and routines. It’s only the beginning, though, because we’re here to live. Rushed tourists we are not, and that is my favorite part of all of this.

 

Street República de la India in my Palermo neighborhood, by Karina for TKGO

Having moved here sight unseen, I thought it would be appropriate for my first post to be an overview of my initial impressions, reactions and feelings related to this vibrant city — a city I’m already totally in love with, despite the copious amounts of dog poop. (Read on…)

Initial Impressions of Buenos Aires

  • It’ll be impossible to establish a regular sleep schedule. Last Saturday we planned to go to a bar with some friends, and our Argentine amigo informed us a 2 am arrival time would be way too early; we’d probably be the only ones there. We left said bar around 6 am, and needless to say, the party was still going strong. Most boliches (clubs) here don’t even open their doors until 1:30 am or so. This city, quite simply, is totally crazy.
  • The food is more delicious (and diverse) than I expected. Of course the steak is unparalleled, but what about crisp and doughy empanadas, some of the most decadent gelato known to man (I’m convinced! Have you tried Freddo?!), and don’t even get me started on the pizza. I most definitely could expand on this point for lines and lines, but I’ll save the details —including food porn photos — for later blog posts.
  • There’s a lot of dog poop. Walk and text at your own risk! For reasons unfathomable to me, people have something against picking up their dog’s droppings on the sidewalks here. I’ve learned to walk with very regular downward glances.
  • The city has a beat. I’m not sure if it’s the thumping nightlife, the heated tango, love for music and dancing in general, or perhaps fervent passion for sports teams — and it’s probably a combination plus more — but you can just feel it here. People have a spirit, excitement and passion for each day and whatever it is they’re doing. I’m sure my childlike glee at being in such a new place amplifies my sense of this, but I want to feed off this city’s energy forever.

Karina for TKGO

Dining in Italy

Italian fare is one of the most influential and beloved cuisines worldwide, including — and especially — the place I call home. New Jersey is a haven for Italian-Americans (insert “Jersey Shore” cracks here), and I grew up dining at sublime local Italian restaurants. My trip to Italy was a chance to taste dishes I’ve enjoyed for years in family-run restaurants and my friends’ homes, back where they all originated.

Between bites of our first meal in Italy, my family and I recognized the genius of the country’s homeland cooking. It’s all about simple, focused dishes comprised of quality of ingredients, and that makes a world (or country?) of difference. The tomatoes were impossibly sweet, the olive oil pungent in the best way possible and the pasta always cooked to al dente perfection.

Since a trip through Italy is as much a culinary experience as a sightseeing tour, I compiled a photo log of bites I just could not get over, spanning every course of a meal. I must admit one of my favorites is not included below, and it was the classic Roman carbonara dish at a place in Trastevere. I somehow failed to photograph the plate and get the name of the restaurant, (Double failure! There’s no excuse, really, but we had been walking forever and the Spain-Portugal World Cup game was on….) but here is an image from the restaurant’s packed outdoor seating area. If by chance you recognize it, please let me know!

 

Mystery restaurant in Trastevere, Rome, by Karina for TKGO

 

Bruschetta (and penne with marinara sauce) at La Pallotta in Assisi

There’s really nothing more to this dish than what you can discern in the picture, but it was delicious. It tasted as though it had been thoughtfully and carefully prepared, from when the ingredients were selected to the moment it was plated.

 

Bruschetta (olive tapenade, tomato and olive oil) at La Pallotta, by Karina for TKGO

 

Similarly, the penne with marinara sauce my sister ordered didn’t look like much, but we all spent the meal grabbing bites. If this dish tasted everywhere else like it did at La Pallotta, the world would be a more delectable place.

 

Penne with marinara sauce at La Pallotta, by Karina for TKGO. (My sister had already started eating before I snapped the photo, hence why the place is a little messy.)

 

Greek Salad at Cul de Sac in Rome

I know I went for a Greek salad in Italy, but I needed something other than pasta for lunch on a hot day in Rome, and I am still glad I didn’t guilt myself out of this decision. (Also, I was sure to order an Italian white wine to accompany it.) The feta cheese was unparalleled, and it combined with sweet and crisp tomatoes, red onions, kalmata olives and cucumbers and drizzled with olive oil was exactly what I was craving.

 

Greek salad at Cul de Sac, by Karina for TKGO. Also pictured: my father's baked pasta dish

 

Prosciutto and Melon at Osteria de’Benci in Florence

Peanut butter and jelly might be the most celebrated of unlikely food combinations, but it really should be prosciutto and melon. The juicy sweetness of the melon and drier, more savory taste of prosciutto strike an ideal, mouthwatering balance. We took to ordering this classic and unfailingly divine Italian appetizer at least once a day, but at Osteria de’Benci it was best. Both the melon and prosciutto melted in our mouths.

 

Prosciutto and melon at Osteria de'Benci, by Karina for TKGO

 

Also of note: Osteria de’Benci’s “drunken spaghetti,” is a dish you won’t see everywhere and will want to try, even if it looks like brains in this photo. It’s al dente spaghetti soaked in red wine.

 

Drunken spaghetti at Osteria de'Benci, by Karina for TKGO

 

Pizza at Pizzeria Aurora in Sorrento

My dad described the slivers of parmesan cheese on top as “cheese from the gods.” The thinly sliced prosciutto also was a godsend, and the hearty crusty was cooked crisp in a brick oven. If you find yourself in Sorrento and wanting to try it (do it!), it’s the only pizza on the menu that says it’s folded over.

 

Pizza at Pizzeria Aurora, by Karina for TKGO

 

Truffle Pasta (Trofie Tartufo) at Maccheroni in Rome

Trofie is small pasta twists, and its folds scooped up perfect amounts of the creamy and slightly earthy tartufo — black truffle — sauce. It is rich, so you probably won’t finish your plate. I say, use it to barter for bites of other people’s dishes, because everything we tried here was ambrosial.

 

Truffle pasta, by Karina for TKGO

 

Also of note: We ordered a plate of ravioli with pumpkin flowers at the suggestion of our waiter (who, as we learned, carried a photo of the captain of his favorite Italian soccer team in his wallet, but not his girlfriend) to share at the start of our meal and it was gone in record time. I highly recommend it, as well as the meatballs, which were succulent and far from any of the bready concoctions par for the course over here in the States.

 

Meatballs at Maccheroni, by Karina for TKGO

 

Gelato at Il Gelato di San Crispino in Rome

This place is super close to the Trevi Fountain, so you really have no excuse not to go — and trust me, you want to. The superb gelato served here is devoid of anything artificial, and the fresh taste of every flavor proves it. My surprise favorite was chocolate meringue, but the family’s unanimous winner was strawberry. We were so crazy about that one flavor we returned two days in a row to have it.

 

Rum/chocolate and strawberry at Il Gelato di San Crispino, by Karina for TKGO. Sadly, my camera was unable to capture the delicious beauty of the gelato.

 

Karina for TKGO

Sweet Treats to Greet the New Year

Too much rhyming?

When I think of New Year’s Eve, I think of all the goodies laid out on tables all over the world to satisfy hungry party-goers. Here are a few of my favorite spots to find those delicious morsels.

Cesibon, Naples, Florida

 

My sister at Cesibon in Naples, Florida, by Tara for TKGO

 

I’m currently in Naples, Florida, with my family for the holidays, and my favorite part of the whole city is the homemade gelato from this little stripmall shop. Let the owners (who are French but studied gelato-making in Italy for years) tell you which two flavors to mix. You may be surprised, but coconut and pinneapple is a heavenly combo!

Find Cesibon at 8807 Tamiami Trail N, Naples, Florida 34108; (239) 566-8363.

Caramelito, Buenos Aires

 

Caramelito in Buenos Aires, by Tara for TKGO

 

You can’t even walk inside this tiny store, it’s so packed with nuts, wrapped candies and dried fruits (with the pits still in!). Pick up a little of everything—I like the fig varieties the best—for a good party.

 

Find Caramelito on the corner of Pasteur and Viamonte in Buenos Aires. Courtesy of Google Maps.

 

Glup’s, Paris

 

Glup

 

This French version of Candyland is packed wall to wall with pour-it-yourself sugary treats. You name it, you’ll find it: watermelon sours, licorice ropes and everything in between.

Find a list of Glup’s locations here.

Tara for TKGO