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.

Local Specialties to Indulge your Sweet Tooth.

Grey cold days like the ones we’ve been having lately are great for comforting afternoon snacks in traditional teahouses such as Las Violetas in Almagro or Confiteria La Ideal downtown. Here are some local specialties to sweeten the afternoon.

Dulce de leche: Probably the most famous of Argentine sweets, this caramel cream is used in pastries, spread on toast, eaten by the spoonful and included in all kinds of desserts.

Alfajores:  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. More information about alfajores is available here.

Rogel Cake: A very sweet cake made with alternating layers of puff pastry and dulce de leche and topped with meringue.

Pasta Frola Quince pie: Another typical sweet used in pastry’s and deserts is Quince paste (dulce de membrillo) and candied yam jam (dulce de batata), which are often combined with cheese for dessert. Quince paste also the main ingredient of Pasta Frola, a fruity pie that goes well with coffee.

Medialunas and Facturas: The local croissants and pastry’s come in many varieties. There are two types of medialunas (croissants), de grasa (made with lard) or de manteca (made with butter). The first is crunchier and thin, the second puffy and moist. Amongst the pastries you will find varieties with dulce de leche, with quince and yam jam, and with custard (crema pastelera).

Vainillas: These very lightweight  airy “cookies”  made from egg, vanilla and sugar are the favorite of many local children (and adults who wont admit it) who dunk them in milk as an afternoon snack.

Submarino: Another thing Argies like to dunk is a bar of chocolate in a cup of hot milk for a local take on a typical winter comforter.

We Recommend: Cooking Classes in Buenos Aires

 

One of the best parts of traveling is trying the local food, and, for those who like to cook, discovering how to make it! Alfajores, empanadas, asado, locro stew, chimichurri sauce, dulce de leche, and pastries are all part of our traditional menu. We are sure you will enjoy tasting these savory meals and recommend you try making them by taking a cooking class in English.  Find some options below:

(Making empanadas by Scorbette37)

 

Cooking with Teresita:

Different cooking class options are offered in this bed and breakfast in the outskirts of the city. Whether its 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.

 

Contact:

http://www.try2cook.com

4293-5992

teresitabella@gmail.com

 

Argentine Cooking Clases

Norma is a warm and welcoming woman who teaches how to make empanadas, locro, and alfajores in her Saturday classes where you will also enjoy a great lunch with wine. The plus side is that her classes are in Belgrano.

 

Contact:

http://www.argentinecookingclasses.com/

nsoued@gmail.com

15 4470 2267

 

Cecilia D’Imperio

Certified chef, Cecilia D’Imperio, has been teaching cooking classes for twenty years having written books and articles as well. She teaches a variety of personalized courses and short seminars, which you can adapt to fit in your schedule.

 

Contact:

http://www.ceciliadeimperio.com

info@ceciliadeimperio.com

 

Other links:

How to Make a Typical Argentine Asado

How to Make Dulce de Leche

Rabbit Empanadas Recipe

Hernan Gipponi’s White Salmon with Sauteed Squid

How to Make Dulce de Leche

(Photo by Sunday Driver)

Those who have been to Argentina will surely agree that dulce de leche is an instantly acquired taste, and have probably taken some back home with them. Now we challenge you to try making your own!

You will need:

-A copper pot
-1 litre of milk
– 200 grams of sugar
-1 teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in half a cup of water
– Vanilla extract (approximately a tablespoon or to taste)

Begin by bringing the milk and sugar to a boil on a very low fire and stirring constantly.
Slowly add the dissolved baking soda and vanilla, continue stirring.
Continue to cook until it acquires the typical brown color of this dulce de leche. (It will take approximately 2 hours).

Let us know how it went and how you like to eat your dulce de leche the most!