Monday, September 14, 2009

Favourite Buenos Aires Activity #1: Eat Dessert

Let's be honest: Eating dessert is pretty much at the top of my to-do list anywhere, not just in Buenos Aires. I've lost track of how many times I've mentioned my lust for dulce de leche, the rich caramel spread/sauce that is to Argentines as Nutella is to Germans, or maple syrup to Canadians - in other words, essential. However, I have yet to describe the myriad desserts in which it is contained (or accompanies), not to mention the dessert-menu items that don't even contain the magical substance.

Two classics that are often served with dulce de leche are flan, a firmish pudding not unlike the crème part of crème brûlée, and panqueques, which are really crêpes. The former is usually served with a generous dollup of ddl alongside, while the latter is filled with the stuff and either rolled or folded into a triangle, so that when you cut into it the ddl oozes out delightfully. Panqueques may also be ordered de manzana (with apples) or al rhum (with rum). The only time we tried panqueues de manzana they were extremely carmelized and so sticky that they were kind of unpleasant to eat. The rum pancakes, however, are fun because they're flambéed at your table, and everyone likes an open flame.

If you need a quick-fix of ddl, grab an alfajor. There are a few different types, of which the most common are the dulce de leche (filled with ddl and covered in a sugary meringue coating), and chocolate (also filled with ddl, but covered in chocolate). Then there are alfajores de maicena, which are the homemade varieties in which ddl is sandwiched between two cornstarch cookies then, optionally, rolled in coconut or dipped in chocolate.

Every ice cream store also has a plethora of variations on the dulce de leche theme. There's straight-up dulce de leche, which is ddl-flavoured ice cream, and dulce de leche super, which is ddl-flavoured ice cream with a ddl swirl. The other day I had dulce de leche bombom: ddl-flavoured ice cream with chocolate bonbons containing dulce de leche scattered throughout. Luxurious! And of course, you can order ice cream for home delivery, which is even more dangerous than the selection of Ben & Jerry's at an NYC bodega.

Lest you think this post should have been titled "Eat Dulce de Leche," there are a few other ubiquitous desserts in Buenos Aires that deserve a taste. Queso y dulce is fresh, salty cheese served with a hefty slab of dulce de membrillo (quince paste - quince was recently a Fruit of the Day), or dulce de batata, made from sweet potatoes. It doesn't look super-appetizing but it's tasty and a good compromise between dessert and cheese courses. Frutillas y crema (strawberries and cream) is usually Ken's first choice, and the Don Pedro is another favourite: It's a scoop (or three) of vanilla ice cream, doused in whiskey.

P.S. On Tuesday we'll be back in NY and on Wednesday I'll be baking the Queen Mother of all desserts: A wedding cake, for our friends' Meredith and Philip's nuptials in Cape Cod next weekend. Blogging (and sleeping, I suspect) may be limited for the next week or so, but I'm sure you'll survive, somehow. ¡Besote!

1 comment:

montague said...

i am still blown away by the idea of being able to order your ice-cream delivered to your home. it's an amazing idea.