Ready-made membrillo (fig) and batata (sweet potato) filling. Sweetened, of course.

Ready-made membrillo (fig) and batata (sweet potato) filling. Sweetened, of course.

I can’t leave Argentina without writing about sweet baked goods, which can be broken down into the following families: tartas, tortas, facturas, galletas and galletitas, and pie (tarts, layer cakes, pastries, cookies and other small confections, and pie—most commonly, lemon meringue).

Dulce de leche, a smooth, spreadable caramel (think Nutella) made from sweetened condensed milk, reigns as a filling or drizzle. It is served to kids with bread and butter as an afternoon snack and is as clearly and importantly Argentine as yerba mate. Other common dessert accoutrement include chocolate, and raspberry, apple, fig or sweet potato filling.

Dulce de leche gets as much shelf space at La Anonima as jam and marmalade.

Dulce de leche gets as much shelf space as jam.

I’ve eaten raised donut holes filled with dulce de leche and rolled in white sugar, buttery pastries filled with sweetened ricotta cheese, cubanitos (a waffle cone in the shape of a cigar filled with dulce de leche and coated in chocolate), alfajores of various types (a cookie sandwich filled with dulce de luche), churros, and, in case you’re holding your jaw to stunt the sudden tooth pain, sugar-free vegan chocolate chip cookies.

Then there is the artisanal ice cream and gourmet chocolate on which Bariloche has built a reputation among tourists. I’m officially tired of (from) so much sugar.

2 thoughts on “Dulces

  1. Linda O

    Wow. How do you keep your little one from being overloaded? Is there an obesity factor in Argentina? or do the locals eat sparingly?

    1. ellentveit Post author

      Sugar–or high fructose corn syrup–is added to most fruit juice, canned fruit, and yogurt, and cookies and candy are everywhere. Even at Lou’s current day care, which is very professional, cookies and juice are served at the morning and afternoon snack.

      There are plenty of people carrying an extra 20-25 pounds, and we’ve seen some overweight kids and a few obese adults, but it is nothing like the obesity problem in the States. However, I think Argentines are on the same track as other developed countries. A recent editorial said that by 2016, 65% of Argentines will be classified as “sedentary”–people are busy and don’t have time for exercise as a separate activity. One thing that helps in Bariloche is the walkability of the central city and the fact that taking public transportation is sometimes more hassle than just walking two or three kilometers.

      There are at least a dozen natural food stores in Bariloche and, according to my acquaintance Valeria (from tae kwon do), vegetarianism and veganism are relatively popular (as popular as in the Midwest but not as popular as in California?). When I buy cookies at the grocery store I get ones made with amaranth and chia seeds–I don’t pretend they’re healthy, but they’re slightly less sweet than others.


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