Ode to the Alfajor

11 03 2008

With Easter two weeks away and me still not eating sweets (ok, a few bites of cake to celebrate my friend Lauren’s birthday, but really we should have celebrated it in December so I’ll say I ate the cake then?), I find myself dreaming of alfajores…

I’m not actually going to write an ode as I’ve never been much of a poet. But if anyone out there has a deep inclination to pen some long-winded verse about what may be the most delicious cookie of all time, I would gladly read it, and post it to my blog, and proclaim it to all I meet. Ok, perhaps not that last, but I do feel very passionately about the alfajor, so anything is possible.

What exactly is an alfajor? Well, it is the reason, for one, that I had to give up sweets for Lent in the first place (Lent conveniently starting for me exactly one week after Ash Wednesday, otherwise known as the day I left Argentina, land of the alfajor). More importantly, however, it is a cookie, made up of layered cookies with a dulce de leche filling. For more on dulce de leche or where to buy it, see my earlier post on it.

In Northern Argentina, the cookies are often of a harder or flakier nature and usually topped with powdered sugar. In Buenos Aires and surrounding areas it is more often a biscuit, sometimes surrounded by a meringue coating, though I prefer those that are dipped in white or dark chocolate. Then of course there is the triple layer alfajores, with dulce de leche as one layer and vanilla or chocolate cream as the other. Needless to say, I tended to eat at least one alfajor a day (hence my subsequent Lenten sacrifice). The real miracle is that even after stuffing myself with alfajores for a month, I’m still dreaming of them. But it’s not so miraculous when you consider that eating one is an experience that might be tantamount to heaven.

And in writing this post I discovered I’m not the only one addicted to the alfajor. A list of some of the alfajor love I found simply by googling the word:

  • An Alfajor blog post on mattbites, by a fellow travel writer and gifted photographer. Matt shares my obsession with alfajores, and he even gives a recipe and some gorgeous photos of the cookies.
  • An entire conversation on yahoo answers centered around one of life’s biggest questions: “What is your favorite alfajor?”
  • And just this morning I found an actual Ode to an Alfajor (though she used the name without writing an ode either; at least great minds think alike).

All this alfajor love aside, though, the supply of alfajores in Argentina is endless, so choosing the right one requires much experimentation or a little bit of knowledge. Luckily, I am now a self-proclaimed alfajor expert, willing pass my knowledge along with a few tips for alfajor tasting:

  1. You can rarely go wrong with the homemade alfajores of a sweet shop or market. They are fresh and almost always have a little too much (which is precisely the right amount) dulce de leche.
  2. When the alfajor emergency arises, head to the nearest kiosko (which is bound to be less than a block away) where the shelves overflow with various prepackaged alfajores. Beware, however, not all brands make a good one. I recommend Milka or Aguila.
  3. Then of course there is Havanna, which is an experience that will one of these days warrant a post all its own. For now, suffice to say that the beloved coffee shops are all over Buenos Aires and in many other cities, and their alfajores may just change your life.
  4. Finally, if your mouth is watering but you’re not going to Argentina any time soon, there is always the option of ordering online (something I’m contemplating once Lent is over).
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4 responses

11 03 2008
Cesar from Argentina

I think anything with dulce de leche in the middle deserves an ode. Mmm.. terrabusi, facturas, helado… Can you tell I also stopped eating sweets for Lent?

21 06 2008
fanaticoalfajor

Hey guys, I found a site with a lot of information for “alfajores”. It is in Spanish, but it has a couple of recipes

http://www.alfajorargentino.com.ar

You can translate it using google 😉

23 06 2008
Alfajor

El alfajor. Historia del alfajor, secretos de los alfajores, recetas para hacer alfajores de maicena, diferentes tipos de alfajor. Alfajor santafecino y alfajor cordobes. Marcas de alfajores milka, terrabusi, bagley, capitan del espacio, havanna y balcarce.

25 06 2008
George

I found a nice site for “alfajores argentinos”

http://www.alfajorargentino.com.ar

You can traslate it using google

http://64.233.179.104/translate_c?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.alfajorargentino.com.ar

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