If there’s one thing you must learn about Argentina before visiting, it’s how much the locals love sugary treats. If you’ve got a similarly sweet tooth, then make sure you get your teeth around these six classic Argentina desserts.
Dulce de leche
Although it’s not officially a dessert, no list of the top sweets to devour in Argentina would be complete without a mention of the country’s official obsession, dulce de leche. Added to cakes, spread between cookies and enjoyed straight from the spoon, it’s fair to say that you can’t go far in Argentina without being introduced to this paste. Made from condensed milk that is cooked until it turns into a rich, caramel-like spread, few things are as classically Argentine as dulce de leche.
Similar in style to those found on our list of the top Chilean sweet treats, alfajores again don’t really qualify as Argentina desserts. Eaten at breakfast or as a tongue-tingly contrast to the bitterness of a gourd of mate, the alfajore is the perfect temptation.
Made from two cookies sandwiched together with a layer of – yes, you’ve guessed it – dulce de leche, they can be covered in chocolate, left bare or sprinkled with coconut to become alfajores de maicena.
Perfect for breakfast or a treat at any time during the day, medialunas are the most widely available of these classic Argentina desserts – even if they probably count more as a sweet snack rather than an actual postre.
Crescent shaped and regarded by many as the younger cousin of the French croissant, they are made from puff pastry composed of either butter (medialuna de manteca) or lard (medialuna de grasa) and topped with a sugar glaze.
Made from thin layers of puff pastry interspersed with layers of dulce de leche and topped with peaks of thick Italian meringue, this cake is the ultimate in a sweetness overload. While the combination of the crisp pastry soaked with the syrupy dulce de leche and mixed with gooey meringue might sound to die for, rogel is only for sweet addicts and is a real treat that is mostly served at weddings or on important occasions.
Dulce de membrillo
Dulce de membrillo is a red paste made from cooked membrillo (quince), boiled with water and sugar to become thick and spreadable. Most Argentineans eat it on bread or cook it in pastries, mostly for breakfast but you wouldn’t be breaking any rules if you snack on it at other times during the day.
As a country with strong links to Italy, it perhaps comes as no surprise that helado or ice cream is another Argentine staple when it comes to dessert. But they’ve certainly put their own national stamp on it. Prepare for scoops of flavors you might never have known existed: maracuya (passion fruit) and even mate.
But, those on vacation in Argentina and hoping to live like the locals do and consume dulce de leche with every meal won’t be disappointed with their helado – expect to find at least two types of ice cream where Argentina’s most ubiquitous flavor takes a starring role.
Where to find these classic Argentina desserts
Dulce de leche can be bought from any supermarket, although it’s recommended you sample homemade dulce de leche too as it has a different (and supposedly more traditional) flavor.
Medialunas, alfajores and pastries containing dulce de membrillo are best located in confiterías or pananderías, which can be found on most streets in Argentina, while you can’t walk further than a block in Buenos Aires without stumbling upon yet another heladería!