(Photo by Xiaozhuli)
We’re not sure what the consumption of medialunas per capita is in Argentina, but we’re guessing it’s pretty high and right up there with meat. So, it’s no surprise that Buenos Aires (and practically every other Argentine city and town) is scattered with panaderias (bakeries). Of course, being bakeries, their specialties include bread, cakes and pastries, like anywhere else in the world. However, as each place has its own twist on sugar and starch we’ve put together a list of typical pastries to sample next time you’re near a neighborhood carb-dispenser.
Medialunas: Hands down, the most popular pastry is this crescent shaped slightly sweet croissant. There are two types: de grasa (made with lard) or de manteca (made with butter). The first is crunchier and thin, the second puffy and moist.
Vigilantes: These pastries made mostly from butter are generally covered with quince jam and custard and sprinkled with sugar on top.
Bolas de Fraile: The Benedictine’s came up with this pastry in the XV century after searching for a sweet representation of the absolute. Perfection however didn’t come along until the Argies filled them with dulce de leche.
Cañoncitos de Dulce de Leche: The cylindrical shaped puff pastries filled with rich dulce de leche and sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar are the ultimate sugar high for those that like it really sweet.
Churros: These crunchy fried pastries are dusted in sugar, sometimes filled with dulce de leche, and occasionally coated in chocolate. They pair best with hot chocolate in winter at one of these places.
Pastelitos: Prepared for national festivities, these crunchy sweet indulgences are filled with quince or sweet-potato paste.
As a curious side fact, anarchist bakers named many of the pastries in the nineteenth century alluding to the different powers in a gesture of ridicule. Such is the case of the vigilante (which means guard), bola de fraile (monk balls), and cañoncito (cannon).
(find a review by our friend Allie Lazar of the best Buenos Aires panaderias here.)