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South America

As promised, here begins the coverage from my recent travels in South America. It was an amazing adventure and I am so excited to share my food finds as well as some of the pictures from the trip!

There were quite a few wonderful bakeries in Buenos Aires. They had a signature cake design (see below) of piped thick “ropes” of whipped cream, cheese cake or frosting on the top of the cakes to create a¬† spoked wheel pattern.

In Salta, Argentina they had this cute little candy shop set up in a park

Alfajores are the mainstay of South American snack-food desserts. They are basically sandwich cookies filled with Dulce de Leche (Caramel). There are tons of variations on Alfajores, every company creates their own twist on the classic item. I saw everything from triple decker to peanut butter to Oreo Alfajores.

Hot Chocolate is served completely differently as well. I was served a glass of hot milk with a chocolate in the shape of a submarine. After sinking the boat and letting it settle for a few minutes I took a long spoon and mixed it creating hot chocolate.

Dulce De Leche can be found in almost every dessert item. Here they were placed in waffle cigars.

Bariloche, Argentina is known for its chocolate. It is basically a mini Switzerland. Every other shop in town was a chocolate shop. I loved the way they displayed the chocolate, stacked one on top of another. There were also some unique chocolates like Aero Chocolate that has little air bubbles in it. Or what I called “Ruffled Chocolate” which had thin ribbons of chocolate¬† scrunched together.

Ok, now that the sweet tooth has been sated, I have to do a quick note on the meat. As you know Argentina is known for their amazing meat! Besides for glorious satin steaks that just melt in your mouth, I was intrigued by the other meats that were common place. The two major meat offerings are Asado, which is “grill meat” and Milanesa. Asado usually is for two or more people and it is a compilation of different sausages and meats that are grilled. Milanesa is a thin beef steak that is then coated in bread crumbs and deep fried. It is sometimes made into a Pizza pocket by putting cheese & tomato sauce in the middle and then folding it like an omelet.

This was in the refridgeration isle of a local gorcery store in Puerto Natales, Chile

The window display of a restaurant I passed in Buenos Aires

Many of the restaurants in Buenos Aires had an open kitchen design so we could watch them make the dishes. Such beautiful pieces of meat!

 

Leaving food completely, here are some of the “Best Of” pictures from the trip

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Salt Flats

Salta, Argentina

Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

Fitz Roy, Argentina

Torres del Paine, Chile

First look at the towers, albeit shrouded by clouds

Torres del Paine, Chile

 

Next up, I will give you a recipe to make your own Dulce de Leche.

Stay Tuned!

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Valentines Day: Lovey-dovey eats

Before I jump on into some great Valentines day treats I’d like to send out a quick hello to all our readers. It’s been quite some time since I’ve blogged. But for good reason- I’ve just returned from a month traveling in South America! Stay tuned for upcoming posts on the trip, my culinary discoveries and recipes inspired by my travels. Its a free culinary tour just for you!

I’m sure you have all been bombarded with e-mails on Valentines day sales, what to get your valentine, what to wear for your valentine etc. For a holiday based on connections and relationships it sure seems like the media is turning it more and more into a Christmas frenzy. My friend and I were talking about our V-day plans and we agreed the best gifts were homemade. Something special and made personally.

The biggest dessert trend we’ve seen this past year is the rise of the mini or single bite desserts. This trend is perfect for Valentines day since it’s usually a holiday celebrated in twos. Here are a few V-day dessert ideas done Urban Sweets style:

Mini cake pops are a great option especially dressed up with hearts

To go full-on Valentines day by plating the cake pops in red sanding sugar

A more subdued option: choose two colors (even simple brown and white) and create a mini dessert display in that theme

As many are predicting, this is the year of the “Pie Pop”. Perfect for Valentines day is a cherry pie pop. Paint little red hearts on the front to hint at the flavor within.

Pie Pops are great as a gift as well. Use a Valentines themed bag, place a piece of styrofoam at the bottom and use it as a Pie Pop display

Heart shaped meringues are a delicate little treat, but add more W-O-W by forgoing food coloring and using strawberry coulis to color and flavor these sugary pillows.

Create a bowl of Meringue hearts- simple and romantic

Planning a bigger event for more than just you and your loved one? Create a Valentines day dessert display by combining the ideas above into a sweets table that isn’t over the top (as in red, red, red), but elegant and provides many little treats to satisfy whatever the palate desires.

 

Happy Valentines Day from Urban Sweets to you!

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