|Nicely packaged sugar-high.
IF YOU THOUGHT Argentina’s gift to the world was Maradona, tango or perhaps beef, you thought wrong. I hereby introduce you to the alfajor.
Admittedly these delicacies are also found in other Latin American countries, but nowhere else do you find people as passionate about these wee confectionaries as in Argentina – and Argentines do like to claim these treats as their own invention.
In reality, alfajors originated in the Arab world, travelling first across the sea to Spain before immigrating later to the Americas along with Spanish housewives. The basic form of these treats is made up of two crumbly sweet biscuits sandwiched together with a layer of dulce de leche, a.k.a. caramel or jam.
The more modern version, however, would make the colonial señoritas blush. Such infusions as the triple-decker alfajor dipped in a dark or white chocolate coating, or rolled in shredded coconut or bits of almonds with edges wrapped up like a bow, is quite the norm in Argentina. Every town in the country has its own bakery dedicated to the creation of the perfect alfajor, and the locals will declare theirs to be the best in the country.
Over the years major companies such as Havanna have produced alfajors by the box load in individually wrapped foil paper. They have successfully established stores as far away as Australia, introducing the heavenly goodies to the world. But nothing beats a home-made alfajor – though to sample these you will have to set out on a journey or find your inner Argentine and attempt to create some in your own kitchen.