Food and Drink Sara  Martinez

Alfajores and other sweets from Iberia’s destinations

Before we begin our New Year’s resolutions, let’s enjoy some of the most traditional sweets from Argentina, Brazil, Portugal and the Czech Republic

Argentine alfajores

This luscious sandwich biscuit, based on dulce de leche and chocolate with variations for every palate, is a legacy from the Arabs that reached the Southern Cone in the 16th century

Buenos Aires’ most home-style alfajores

Besides the famous Havannas, there are other places where these sweets are made with heart and hand-decorated individually. The Armandine D’ozouville family is reaching beyond tradition with its ongoing search for new flavours. So far, there are 27 varieties for sale in the family’s Santa Clara shop in Buenos Aires.

The Sibarita line includes raspberry, blueberry, passion fruit and figs with walnuts. The favourites include chocolate, dulce de leche and rum raisin, among other classics.

The blueberry alfajor of Armandine D'ozouville's sybarite line, one of the favourites

Mendoza Entre Dos: Ariel and Constance

This married couple began baking four dozen alfajores a day at home and have just celebrated ten years of doing business. Their production has increased to 700 dozen a day without changing any of their artisanal techniques, incluidng cutting and stretching by hand. The  factory, located in Blanco Encalada (Mendoza) is the starting point for a route through the Potrerillos reservoir.

Last year, the couple won the award for the country’s most delicious alfajor with dark chocolate and dulce de leche and rum versions at the National Alfajor Festival held in Cordoba.

The cognac alfajor of Entre Dos

Brigadeiros: the official birthday dessert of Brazil

The sweet that takes Brazilians back to their childhoods was the star recipe of Brazilian grandmothers in the 1940s. This mixture of chocolate and condensed milk is a must on the country’s cold and rainy evenings.

In São Paulo, Maria Brigadeiro and Brigadeiria

In São Paulo, it’s very common to order them for any kind of event and there are several brigaderias that offer catering services. Maria Brigadeiro, founded in 2007, was the first shop specialising in these artisanal sweets. At Brigadeiria Brasil, they specialise in a gourmet line that features a wide variety of flavours.

María Brigadeiro has two stores in São Paulo: one in the JK Iguatemi shopping center and another one in the Iguatemi São Paulo

Amoriko, the specialty in Florianopolis

Somewhat more distant from the urban world, the beachside city of Florianopolis is home to the Amoriko pastry shop. The only one specialising in this sweet, it offers 17 different flavours. They can be enjoyed directly in the shop or at home, by taking a box that can be cusomised with different flavours.

The most popular flavours include salted chocolate, white chocolate with pistachios, and Baileys.

Amoriko Brigadeiros always recommends accompanying these sweets from one of their amazing coffees

Pastéis de Belém, Portugal

These egg tart pastries are sold only in one place in the entire world: the pastry shop located next to the Heironymite Monastery in Lisbon’s Belém district. The recipe has been kept secret since 1837 and only a few pastry makers know all the secrets behind this artisanal process that has not been changed to date.

Pastéis de Belém, always better with a cinnamon touch

The substitute: pastéis de nata

Although the pastéis de Belém are the original sweet, many pastry chefs have tried to imitate them due to their popularity. That’s how the cream tarts came about. There is even a contest for the best cream tart in Lisbon – last year was the tenth edition.

The Mercado de Peixe was the only restaurant that entered the competition, but it won out over the participating pastry shops.

Slovak chimneys: Trdelník

The trdelník is the king of the street markets in Prague, although its origin is in the region of Transylvania. Cone-shaped dough is dusted with sugar and usually filled with ice cream and covered with a choice of toppings. In the past, families got together in the city square to enjoy them at Christmas or during Holy Week while enjoying traditional music, but nowadays they can be enjoyed all year long.

Also known as chimney cake, it can be found in every corner of the Czech capital

The trdelník fusion

Stands can be found on practically every corner in the city centre, but Good Food is one that is popular with both tourists and locals. They’ve adapted a century-old recipe to more modern tastes with a wide variety of flavours and fillings, some savoury instead of sweet

One of the top sellers is the King, filled with vanilla ice cream and covered with brownies, nuts, caramel and chocolate.

They also say that the savoury versions are perfect after a night of partying.