Join twowildtides on the country challenge. Each week, we’re going to be heading to a new country (in spirit). Primarily, we’ll be cooking a meal from each country; but we’ll also be watching travel documentaries, reading travel blogs, and listening to music. During the global pandemic, travel is largely inaccessible. We want to reignite our wanderlust, satisfy our travel bug as much as we can, and learn some new things along the way. I have a feeling our bucket list will have a number of items added to it through this experience as well. We created a simple alphabetical spreadsheet with all the countries of the world, and each week we will draw a random number that corresponds with a country on the spreadsheet.
This week, we travelled just a little further south to the country of Argentina. Known for its vineyards and wineries, delectable meats, and vibrant culture, Argentina would be a top stop on a South American backpacking trip. One of the most notable geographic features of Argentina is Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfall system in the entire world. Check out these photos, it’s a spectacular sight I hope to see in person one day.
When I think of Argentina, I immediately think about my favourite wine: Malbec. Specifically, Malbec from the Mendoza region of Argentina. Naturally, I picked up a bottle and thoroughly enjoyed it while I prepared this week’s dish. (I couldn’t let myself get away with only drinking the wine to represent this country!)
The national dish of Argentina is Asado, which is essentially BBQ’d everything. Because we only have a tiny grill and no access to the delectable meats of Argentina, we opted for another dish. It has been a while since we made a dessert to represent a country’s cuisine, and I saw Alfajores on almost every single article I read about Argentinian cuisine, so I decided we had to give it a try. Alfajores are little cookie sandwiches with dulce de leche layered between two shortbread-like cookies and rolled in shredded coconut. They looked so scrumptious.
Alfajores are called “the most consumed cookie in Argentina” in this post by AmigoFoods, a “national treasure” in this post by Rainforest Cruises, a “national icon” in this post by Nomad’s Paradise, and Argentina’s “national cookie” in this post by BBC GoodFood. This post by CultureTrip tells us that “Argentines consume alfajores for breakfast, dessert and, well, all throughout the day” and this post by Trip101 states that Alfajores are loved by children. Authentic Food Quest says that Alfajores are “to die for” and Chef’s Pencil says that they are “the best combination of sweets you can try in Argentina”.
We followed this recipe by El Mundo Eats.
I’m not much of a baker, but these were fun to make. I was surprised to see just how much cornstarch they require! I did have a moment of panic when my dough really was not coming together, so I had to add some water that the recipe did not call for, but that ended up saving the day. I was so pleased after taking these out of the oven and seeing that they had baked perfectly. I whipped up a simple dulce de leche from a can of sweetened condensed milk.
They might not be as aesthically pleasing as the photos in the articles I reviewed, but they sure did taste good. The hint of lemon zest stood out in the best possible way, giving them a refreshing tang. The texture was crumbly but they were still easy to handle, and not too chaulky given all the cornstarch in them. I don’t think you can ever go wrong with dulce de leche, and these give credit to that theory. So delicious and loved by all we shared them with. I would definitely make Alfajores again.