Recent arrivals to Argentina may not be aware of one of the most incredible delights available at every corner store and bakery in and around the city of Buenos Aires. People know about wine, steak, pizza, and maybe even the nation-wide obsession with “dulce de leche”, but one thing that few discover until someone points it out to them is the amazing alfajor.
At the most basic level, an alfajor is two (or three. or more.) cookies with a sweet filling in-between each one. The alfajor comes from southern Spain and was brought here along with the colonists a few centuries ago, and the word “alfajor” comes from a hispano-arabic word “al-hasú” meaning “the filling.”
Many alfajores are covered in chocolate, a sugar glaze, or powdered sugar, and the filling is most often dulce de leche, but you can also find chocolate mousse and fruit fillings. Today many alfajores are made with cake-like cookies, but the maicena (cornstarch) cookies (pictured above) are the most traditional type, and often come with a light coating of coconut around the dulce de leche filling.
Different parts of the country specialize in different kinds of alfajores. While Buenos Aires has a bit of everything with a focus on dulce de leche fillings, the nearby city of Córdoba is known for having alfajores with fruit fillings, such as membrillo (quince).
In Santa Fé, their alfajores always have no fewer than 3 pastry-like cookies, filled with dulce de leche, and covered with a sugar glaze.
Mar Del Plata – Havanna and Balcarce originated in “La Feliz”, so the next time you sink your teeth into one of their sweet treats, you know where it came from.
Hopefully during your travels, you’ll get to try a different kind of alfajor in every place that you visit.