Tag Archives: Ice cream

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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Garlic Flavored Ice Cream

After four months of living and working in New York City, I bid goodbye to the neighborhoods I’d come to love and flew down to Puerto Rico to spend 12 days with my Tía (Aunt) Nora and cousin Annette. I realize I am very lucky to have family living in an awesome place (read: paradise), and it definitely has its perks, among which is the insider knowledge. One of my final days in PR, my aunt took me to an ice cream place in the small mountain town of Lares. (Lares actually was the site of one of the first revolts against Spanish Rule back in the day. Read more here.) “They have garlic ice cream!” is about all she told me beforehand.

Heladería de Lares does have homemade garlic ice cream, along with avocado, cod, rice and beans, and cheese, as well as more traditional sweet treat flavors, like the delicious rum and raisin. The heladería was fairly empty while we were there, so we were able to ask questions and sample a slew of flavors, all of which were light and sweet — even avocado. Corn was my personal favorite and it’s also a top seller, according to the very patient (but after half an hour, slightly annoyed) woman helping us. Small kernels of corn broke up the smooth ice cream, which had the consistency of gelato. Eating it tasted almost like biting into a piece of sweet cornbread. Icy, refreshing cornbread, that is.

The flavors were so intriguing to me that I just had to share them with the world, or at least try. Below is a video of the flavors, which Tía Nora and I attempt (and occasionally fail) to translate along the way. One that proved difficult was quenepa, which is a tropical fruit they sell on produce trucks roadside in PR and also goes by mamoncillo. (If that helps at all. I had no idea what a mamoncillo was, either.) I’ll have to try one of the fruits — and its Heladería de Lares counterpart — when I return!

To taste for yourself: Drive to Lares, which is near Arecibo and Las Cavernas de Camuy, and ask how to get to the famous heladería. Seriously.

-Karina for TKGO