Food in Argentina has a reputation for concerning itself solely with beef and wine. The famous Argentine “asado” (which, crudely put is something like a meat BBQ) is a real indication of just how much red meat an Argentine can eat in one serving.
In addition, no asado is complete with a good bottle of Argentine red wine and there are plenty of tasty examples to choose from of an evening. The Malbec range is particularly good and very strong. One glass is enough to make the head start swimming and set the tongue loose. However, alfajores are what Argentina is really all about.
Food in Argentina is Not Only About Beef and Wine
It is perhaps less known that food in Argentina serves an incredibly sweet-toothed population. There are bakeries upon bakeries full to the brim with the most exquisite cakes, pastries, biscuits, tarts, muffins, puddings, chocolates and ice-creams. On top of that, all things sweet are much cheaper than anything healthy or made from natural ingredients.
When do Argentines Eat Alfajores and Other Sweet Food?
For breakfast, Argentines are most likely to eat a hot cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate accompanied either buy a large handful of biscuits, two or three medialunas (sweet croissants) or two to three facturas (pastries filled with a variety of sticky substances, including custards, jams and dulce de leche).
As a snack, alfajores are the food of the hour and can be snacked upon at any time of day. Artesanal alfajores exist by the thousand and are sometimes covered in chocolate, sometimes filled with coconut, but invariably served in some way with thick, large portions of dulce de leche.
More Facts About Alfajores?
Alfajores, appearing as something half-way between a sandwiched biscuit and a cake, are sometimes made from maicena (a much crumblier substance that is very messy to eat and therefore much more fun and devilish) or with normal wheat flour and manufactured by many different companies and coffee store outlets, such as Havanna.
It is true that beef and wine will always have a place in the hearts of Argentines. The food served in Argentina will also place emphasis on a good steak and a large glass of red, but alfajores are equally, if not more important, as they are consumed more regularly and available everywhere at a very cheap cost.
Learn to Make Alfajores
Lots of places in the city of Buenos Aires teach how to make alfajores. In fact, for 5 pesos, the non-profit organisation, South American Explorers, offer a class every month in one of the popular hostels in the Microcentro. Not only is this a good way to learn how to make alfajores, but it is a good way to meet other like-minded travellers along the way.
Argentina’s Food Has Not Been Entirely Covered in This One Article
In response to a recent message receieved about this article, it is important to state that there are clearly lots of elements of the Argentine diet that have not been included. For example, mate (an Argentine beverage) has not been touched upon.
This article is merely pointing out that Argentina, whilst having a reputation for being the place to go for wine and beef, is also full of many sweet delights. Equally, a point has been made that the Argentine diet is not full to them brim with refined foods. However, it is impossible to refute that every coffee shop, restaurant and panadería serves wonderful examples of exactly that.
Medialunas are important breakfast items and facturas are full of sweet things – dulce de leche, sugar, jams and custards are the kinds of facturas available to buy by the dozen in food outlets or three for 2 pesos from most mobile food stands across the city.
This article has been written after living in Buenos Aires for over a year and has been written with knowledge. It has not covered everything, but that was not the intention. The intention is to highlight the sweet side of the Argentine palette and to push aside the myth that Argentina is only about beef and wine because it isn’t.
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