When travelling around Latin America, especially in Argentina, you will find alfajores everywhere and in many different types and recipes to try. But where did these popular sweet treats originate from?
Alfajores made their first appearance in Spain during the Moorish occupation, the Al-Andalus time period between 711 and 1496. In the Medina Sedonia region in Southern Spain the treats are still made from flour, honey, almonds and spices like cinnamon. The Spanish recipes have been handed down among generations for many centuries and these alfajores will look very different from those found in South America.
When the Spanish colonised parts of the world such as Latin America they took the idea of the alfajor with them and adapted them to the local ingredients that were available. This is why alfajores differ in different regions in Latin America.
Alfajores are very popular in the South American countries of Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Brazil. Argentina is the world’s largest consumer of alfajores both per capita and in total. Recent statistics revealed its population consumed 6 million alfajores each day. These sweet snacks are an essential part of Argentine cuisine and are enjoyed at all times of day and come in a variety of forms. In Argentina and Uruguay, they are usually made up of two cornstarch cookies held together with dulcet de leche and either covered in chocolate or coconut shavings. Sometimes they are large enough to share as a dessert or you can buy them in single packs at a kiosk on most street corners. Each region of Argentina has slightly different alfajores recipes, so you will find many different types to try.
For us, alfajores are the must-try for anyone visiting South America that has a sweet tooth especially as many in Argentina contain our favourite ingredient dulce de leche. Make sure you try some on your next visit.
Learn how to make Argentine style Alfajores here
- How to make: Alfajores de Maizena (vinesofmendoza.com)
- Origins of Alfajores (site.buenaondafoods.com)