Los mejores sabores de helado argentino

ice cream cupid

PH: Joel Greijer

El helado argentino es famoso por ser de los mejores en el mundo, y ahora que arrancó la temporada de primavera-verano es el momento ideal para degustarlos. Aquí compartimos nuestra selección de sabores favoritos. Los que quieran salir a disfrutar un cucurucho, pueden aprovechar los descuentos de la Noche de las Heladerías el 21-11 a partir de las 19 hs.

Dulce de leche: El sabor más clásico local, favorito de muchos. Viene en su variante sencilla, o combinada con granizado de chocolate, almendras, brownies, entre otros.

Menta Granizada: Un sabor ideal para los días más calurosos, la menta granizada es un clásico retro de las heladerías locales que sigue siendo el favorito de muchos.

Sambayón: Una combinación de licor y huevo caracterizan este típico y suntuoso sabor local que es uno de los favoritos de las generaciones más grandes.

Maracuyá: Si bien este sabor no es uno de los clásicos de la heladería argentina, desde que se incorporó se volvió muy popular, en especial entre aquellos que gustan de sabores frutales vibrantes y cremosos. Para quienes prefieran helados frutales más livianos, existen las variantes de helado hechos “al agua”.

Sabores especiales: Las heladerías acostumbran crear sus propios sabores especiales para aquellos más aventureros que quieran experimentar. Algunos ejemplos son helados de malbec o de marroc, una golosina típica local.

Si pasan a comer por UCO Restaurante les recomendamos que prueben el delicioso helado de canela que hacemos nosotros mismos.

Argentine Pastries

(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.)

Top 5 Culinary Tours in Buenos Aires

(Photo by Alaskan Dude)

Parrilla Tour: Meat eating is mandatory for most people who travel to Argentina and the Parrilla Tour is the perfect way to do it. There are two versions of this carnivorous adventure; one takes place in the San Telmo neighborhood, the other in Palermo. Both include stops at three different neighborhood parrillas, and dessert at an ice-cream parlor (newcomers to Argentina may not know it yet, but Argentine ice-cream is the best.) The guides have interesting information about Argentine cuisine and culture, and also make sure to recommend the top cuts. More information here.

Argentine Experience:  This lunch or dinner experience is a great way to get to known what the local cuisine is about. The event begins with a mate refreshment upon arriving and then, once clad in chef hats and aprons, continues onto the empanada-making phase. After that comes a delicious steak and wine lunch, during which some fun and games take place, and then a mate tasting and brewing class, and an alfajor making class, all with top notch information about the local traditions. The dinner option also includes all you can drink until 11pm and free guest list entry to a BA nightclub. Places must be booked in advance. More information here.

Fuudis Gourmet Food Tour:  The last ten years have seen a boom in the city’s gourmet culinary industry, and not only in the realm of steak.   This is the side of the city that Fuudis has set out to explore and share. Their tours include stops at various restaurants focusing on a different city neighborhood on each tour. The experience is not only culinary, it is also a fun social event and special way to get to know the city. More information here.

Cooking with Teresita: Different cooking class options are offered in this bed and breakfast in the city’s outskirts. Whether it’s a short empanada lesson, a one day food tour, or a chance to make asado you’re sure to enjoy this popular option, where you will be able to cook and sample delicious food and wines. More information here.

Buenos Aires Food Tour:  Pick Up the Fork is one of the best Buenos Aires food blogs in ciberspace; not only is it written in English, it reviews every restaurant and food stand in the city and from a sincere point of view. Recently, Allie, the taster and talent behind it, has started offering customized food tours to cater to each travelers preference, whether it’s off the beaten path restaurants, the best closed doors, or why not, where to find the best chori. More information here.

This Week in Buenos Aires

Monday

(Photo by Gijlmar)

If you´re planning to visit the city center to see the Obelisco, or to take a tour of the Colón Theatre, head to the Palacio de Aguas Corrientes (palace of running waters) on Cordoba Avenue and Riobamba first.  Originally built as a disguise for a water tower meant to provide clean drinking water to the people after the 1877 outbreak of yellow fever, the stunning palace now works as Aguas Argentinas’s headquarters (the local water company) and also as a museum. Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-1pm. Riobamba 750 – 1° Piso. 6319-1104.

In the evening, French singer and songwriter Laetita Sadier will be staging a live show at Boris Club de JazzGorriti 5568, Palermo. 4777-0012.

 

Tuesday

(Photo by Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires)

Don’t miss the latest Argentine fashion at the BAF Week which kicks off on Tuesday. For this Autumn- Winter season fashion designers and illustrators paired up to show inspiring ways of keeping warm and staying pretty.

Later on, stop by the trendy Palermo Club Niceto for Andrew Bird’s live show. The renowned multi-instrumentalist indie artist will be playing starting  9pm.  Tickets here.

Wednesday

(Photo by r2hox)

Stop by the Juan Gatti exhibit in the Sivory museum behind the Palermo Rosedal and then head to the Planetarium where an audiovisual exhibit by the same artist is being screened.

In the evening, the hip Palermo Shanghai Dragon hosts happy hour and a weekly beerlingual bilingual pub quizAráoz 1199, Palermo

Thursday

(Photo by oso)

Weather forecasts anticipate sunny days and perfect temperatures, ideal for a walk in the ecological reserve in Puerto Madero where you can get the best view of the city!

Later on stop by the stunning Colón Theatre where Sleeping Beauty is being projected in 3D from Tuesday’s to Saturday’s at 8pm.  Cerrito 628, Downtown.

Friday

(Photo by avlxyz)

Book your place for a special lunch with the Argentine Experience who will give you the 411 on everything local and feed you great Argie meat and more! They also organize mate and dulce de leche tastings. More information here.

Later on stop by La Catedral in Almagro where you can take a tango lesson starting at 7.30 pm or 9pm. Sarmiento 4006, Almagro.

Saturday and Sunday

(Photo by Rock Cousteau)

Remember to make a reservation for Hernán Gipponi’s unique must-try brunch, served on Saturdays and Sundays! Soler 5862, Palermo Hollywood. 3220-6800.  info@hgrestaurant.com.ar.

PM Open air music– Outdoor live music, art and more merge in this new Saturday event which takes place in Palermo from 2pm to 9pm. Paraguay 4905, Palermo

Elton John will be playing at Estadio Velez Sarsfield on Saturday. Get your tickets here.

Find a ten-day weather forecast here and don’t forget to stop for ice cream at one of these fantastic Buenos Aires heladerias!

Typical Argentine Merienda

(Photo by amanky)

In Argentina we follow the Spanish-Italian tradition of the merienda, better known in the Anglo world as afternoon tea. It is basically a small meal between lunch and dinner. Although the culinary options nowadays have broadened and include treats such as muffins and bruschettas, classic Argentine meriendas consist of:

Cafe con leche and medialunas: A typical local staple served at all hours consisting of coffee with milk and yummy croissants made of lard (de grasa) or butter (de manteca).  In winter the coffee might be substituted by a submarino (a piece of chocolate dunked into hot milk).

Mate and facturas: Sugar and a caffeine like booster (mateine) come together in this combination of bitter mate and sweet pastries filled with dulce de leche, custard and quince jam.

Licuado de Banana and Tostado de jamón y queso: A favourite for Spring and Summer, this combination of banana and milk smoothie and grilled ham and cheese sandwich on special crustless bread, is a great afternoon energy booster.

Tea with milk and toast: The simplest version of the snacking combinations, and the one most commonly found in households. Toppings for toast are of course dulce de leche, maybe jam and for the light version cream cheese.

Top 5 Alfajores

(Photo by Silvio Tanaka)

The alfajor is a typical sandwich like snack made up of two “cookies” usually filled by, you guessed it, dulce de leche, (although there are variety’s filled with fruit jams and chocolate as well) and covered in chocolate, confectionary, sugar or coconut. Each region of the country has its own type of alfajor, which varies its fillings and dough type. The most well known are the Cordoba alfajores, with an airy dough typically filled with fruit jams and chocolate and coated with a sugar glaze, the northern alfajores which are often filled with meringue, and the coast alfajores which have a more compact dough and are generally covered in chocolate. Below are our favorite five for you to seek and sample.

Havanna: This famous Mar del Plata alfajor company is probably the best-known producer of these top-quality treats. Their chocolate alfajor is what made them famous and it is everything it should be, plus, they are easy to find and can be bought at the airport to take back home.

Estancia el Rosario: This is the epitome of the Cordoba alfajor and is quite different from the coast versions we usually get in Buenos Aires.  Their must try`s are the fruit filled kind, which is typical of this region, and their dulce de leche ones are also sublime. Find the addresses of stores in Buenos Aires that sell their products here.

La Olla de Cobre:  Although not so readily available as the other two, these Areco delicacies are well worth the trip to the countryside. Plus this is a great place for chocolate too, made from scratch starting from the processing of the cacao bean to the delicious end product.

Tresam: These extra sized alfajores come from Rosario and are filled with top quality San Ignacio dulce de leche. They are most well known for their alfajor de maizena, which is made with cornflour and decorated on the sides with coconut.

Del Tucuman: As the name suggests these traditional delicacies come from the North of the country. Their typical alfajor is called cicero or casita, and is filled with meringue and cane sugar; a totally different alfajor from what we generally see in Buenos Aires.

Top 5 Argentine Desserts

(Photo by Manu Contreras)

Most Argentine desserts were influenced by different immigrant groups who populated the country.  A few ingredients however, including the famous dulce de leche and quince, sweet potato, fig and chayote jams, have given them a unique local flavor. Below is a list of top five typical Argentine desserts.

Vigilante: This is probably the most emblematic Argentine dessert and is rumored o have been Borges’ favorite. It consists of a slice of solid quince or sweet potato jam (in Salta it is also served with chayote and fig jam) over a slice of Port Salut type cheese.

Flan con dulce de leche: Flan is a dessert that was adopted locally from different immigrant influences. The delicious creamy egg based treat is typically eaten with dulce de leche or with dulce de leche and whipped cream (flan mixto). Another similar dessert from Colonial times is Ambrosia, which is said to have been Domingo Faustino Sarmiento’s top choice.

Budin de pan: Commonly known in English as bread pudding this dessert has many variations around the world. The Argentine version consists of a smooth dessert (no chunks) with raisins and like flan is also served with dulce de leche and whipped cream.

Arroz con leche: Rice pudding is another international dessert that has become a typical local delicacy. The sweet rice concoction was very popular amongst the gauchos and in the north of the country there is a similar dessert prepared with white corn instead of rice called Mazamorra.

Panqueque con dulce de leche : The French crepe was quickly adopted by the locals and transformed into a typical delicacy with a warm gooey dulce de leche filling. A delicious sweet treat that no DDL lover should miss.

Those who have perfected their own versions of local delicacies (sweet or salty) can’t miss Seashells & Sunflowers 2012 Argentine Recipe Contest.

Top 5 Dulce de Leches

(Photo by sunday driver)

Dulce de leche is a part of the local identity, and many a visitor has become a fan of its delicious sweet taste.  Not every dulce de leche is the same however (find a recipe here).  Some are darker with an intense sugary flavor, others more milky and smooth. Keep in mind that there are three types for different uses: the classic dulce de leche, the respostero (to make cakes and other baked goods), and a special kind for making ice cream.

Below is our pick of the top 5 classic dulce de leches for you sample and pick up on the way home!

Chimbote: This creamy dulce de leche is one of the most well known, especially amongst D.d.L fans from abroad that stock up on the milky caramel at the Duty Free shop on the way back home.  A top quality spread with just the right balance of sweetness.

Havanna: The famous Mar del Plata alfajor company has made its fans happy with this dark and thick dulce de leche. Its grainy texture and deep sweet flavor is a perfect pair for desserts such as crepes and flan.

 La Salamandra: This top quality dulce de leche became famous internationally after winning a prize at The Fancy Food Show in New York and exporting to over 25 countries. It’s easily found in supermarkets and perfect to enjoy by the spoonful.

Estancia el Rosario: These dulce de leche producers are in Cordoba and they stand out for their variety of dulce de leches, including solid dulce de leche bars and goat milk dulce de leche. They also offer a 450g pot that comes in a milk jug that makes a great gift. Find the addresses of stores in Buenos Aires that sell their products here.

El Monacal: The monks from Abadía del Niño de Dios in Entre Rios are responsible for this creamy homemade delicacy that they produce with milk from their own dairy farm. They also make cheese, beer and honey, providing jobs to the community. Their dulce de leches are available in health stores around the city and in big churches such as the Abadía de San Benito in Belgrano.

Argentine Gifts

Christmas is all about giving, and traveling is a great opportunity to buy original gifts, be it for the festive season or for the sake of generosity. Below is our selection of top Argentine tokens to give away or take home as a souvenir.

Mate: Mate is a traditional bitter tea like beverage, which was originally taken by the Guarani Indian as a ritual. The yerba (dry mate leaves) is poured into a special gourd and then a metal straw is inserted. Hot water (but not boiling) is poured into the gourd and the beverage is sipped from the straw. The mate is then refilled with hot water and passed on to the next person, be it a friend or family member. This makes mate drinking a special community tradition and the preparation has many associated rituals to it. Additionally the beverage is full of antioxidants. Mate gourds, metal straws and other accessories can be readily found all around the city, and the perfect compliment to this gift is The Mate book.

(Photo by tditz_gb)

Facón: The facón is an elaborate gaucho fighting and utility knife that is carried in a leather sheath on a belt. Many are delicately carved with intricate silver designs and make beautiful decorations and gifts. To aquire silver facones head to Marcelo Toledo and Juan Carlos Pallarols in San Telmo, where other amazing silver objects can also be found.

(Photo by Eduardo Amorim)

Dulce de Leche and Alfajores: These are probably some of the most popular souvenirs people take back home after traveling to Argentina and there´s good reason for it. The famous caramel spread, and the sweet, cake like sandwiches with dulce de leche fillings are easy pleasers.

(Photo by bradlauster)

Wine: Argentina is famous for its top quality wine at friendly prices. Wine bars, and gourmet restaurants (including Fierro´s HG Restaurant) offer harder to find gems, and are well worth browsing.

(Photo by vmiramontes)

Tango Music:  A tango record is a great gift for music lovers and romantic spirits.  Other tango paraphernalia such as dancing shoes can also make a good present. To shop for tango music head to Zivals on Corrientes Avenue and in Palermo, or  buy  directly from their online tango store.

(Photo by totordenamur)

A San Telmo Antique: San Telmo is a world known antique center where valuable collectors items are sold, but also, where knick-knacks and unique objects from the immigrants that populated the country can be found.  Another place to look for antiques and unique finds is the Dorrego Flea Market in Palermo.

(Photo by lauromaia)

Buenos Aires Urban Art: Anyone who has been on the graffitimundo, or Juanele AR tours has had the chance to see that the local urban art is booming. Once a year, during the Christmas season, Palermo art gallery Hollywood in Cambodia  hosts a special sale of some of the best local stencils, graffitis, and illustrations by some of the most active Urban artists of the Buenos Aires scene.

(Photo by jimsnapper)

We All Scream for Ice-cream

(Photo by LWY)

Hot sunny days call for refreshing treats and there’s nothing like ice-cream to indulge in after visiting the city sites. Brought to the city by Italian immigrants, the delightful sweet cream has been made perfect by the quality local dairy and unique regional flavors amongst which, of course, dulce de leche reigns.  As anyone who has walked the streets of Buenos Aires knows, ice cream parlors abound, which is why we have put together a suggested list of places to try the very best the city has to offer.

Persicco–  Probably one of the most respected and well-known ice-cream shops in the city with many branches including one in Palermo, Las Cañitas, Caballito, Downtown, Martinez, Recoleta, and Pilar.   They offer two unique chocolate flavors; Chocolate Goldoni (chocolate mousse ice cream with white chocolate coated cereal) and Chocolate Persicco (chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips, cognac and nuts) and also serve kosher, light options, and some flavors that are approved for people with celiac disease.

Cadore- This traditional ice cream shop opened first in the late nineteenth century in the Italian region of Cadore. In the 1950´s the Olivotti family that founded it moved to Argentina opening up their shop in the Av. Corrientes theatre district,  where the old family recipes are still prepared today. This is the place to go for a classic dulce de leche ice cream. Corrientes 1695, downtown. Buenos Aires. 4374-3688.

Jauja- This Patagonian ice-cream shop with a branch in Palermo offers top quality ice creams without artificial flavoring or additives. They also make their own chocolate, priding themselves on the quality of their ingredients. Their creative approach to ice cream making has led to an ever changing menu of flavors made from unique combinations and fruits such as quince and rasperry-malbec. Cerviño 3901, Palermo – 4801-8126.

Arkakao- Tea house, restaurant and most of all gourmet gelateria, this extension of the Italian Kakao and the Piemontese Venchi serves some of the best ice cream in town thanks to the imported Italian nuts and chocolates and the quality local milk, all without additives or preservatives and produced daily to ensure a freshness. The detailed care of the ingredients  and process make Arkakao ice cream delectable and perfect. Additionally they offer a variety of serving options for those looking to span out of the traditional “cucurucho”. Quintana 188, Recoleta. 4813-7585.

Via Flaminia- Another of Buenos Aires’ renowned classic ice cream stores is this elegant downtown parlor, which was founded in1965 in Florida street. Their ice creams are known for their creamy perfection with traditional tastes such as sambayon, and chocolate flavors being their specialty. Florida 121, downtown. 5032-9911.