… how different it is living like a Porteño than just visiting - living the local flavor sort-of-speak: ‘el saborsito Argentino’, that’s Palermo!
One of the more elegant neighborhoods of Latin America’s southern cities: Palermo reminds me of Paris, but with a latin shades and a sunnier disposition (both its weather and its people)!
Art Deco and Empíre architecture permeate the neighborhood, dotted with parks all around like little pearls of green: sunny ☀️ Autumn there now … warm pleasant days and chilly nights combined with great little bistros serving the best Argentinian beer cuts and smooth Malbec reds 🍷 - it’s the perfect combination for staying there an extended time.
What I really liked about Palermo is that it wasn’t as touristy as other parts of the city such as La Boca or Recoleta neighborhoods; Palermo is a neighborhood of locals going about their daily lives - loving and living, eating and drinking, parting and relaxing.
I spent my days in a local chic apartment I rented, bigger than any hotel room and more comfortable and even elegant: huge art deco lamps, comfy sofas, modern kitchens and beautiful huge beds - inspiring many a-romantic night and fomenting dreams of faraway places …
Staying next to the Güemes park allowed me to experience savory things like: early morning capuccino topped with delicate cinnamon and my usual 2 media-lunas (like a mini 🥐 croissant), then walking across to the park and watching the parade of dogs strolling around - Buenos Aires is definitely dog-friendly city (Porteños love their cachorros). There were also 4 adorable old ladies sitting down on the cement bench across form the beautiful Spanish style imposing church - wearing their Covid masks 😷 matching their white hair - ‘Buenos Dias Lindas bonitas’, I would say to them with a loud voice (good morning pretty, beautiful
Ladies) … reacting with smiles which I could see in their eyes, ‘good
Morning young man’, they would reply.
Settling into a routine in Palermo
Was sweet and easy - daily coffee at the traditional old-world Italian cafe in my neighborhood (which could be any Cafe one back in Italia 🇮🇹 ), then a walk in the park and church visit, followed by a nice hard gym session - prepared me for my day: then venturing later to meet a friend for lunch, or heading to the mall to window shop or the movie theatre with friends to see the latest películas - such as Marvel’s Morbius, my afternoons were relaxed and fun!
Back at the apartment to freshen-up, relax on the balcony overlooking the citify - like little ants going about their busy business, napping a bit and then meeting a friend or two for early evening coffee or a visit to my favorite bookstore. Picture an opera house that has been transformed to a gigantic bookstore - the stage a cafe now with a gay d piano, the bleachers full of rows of books and the balconies adorned with cubbies and more books 📕 … it’s amazing!
Argentinians dine very late (dinner around 9pm and later) - but what dinners - delicious cuts of beef 🥩, rib eye was my favourite: juicy and perfectly cooked, melts in your mouth as you follow it with vinegary chimichurri sauce and a nice Malbec wine! Their fish is also very good - light and buttery, fresh and aromatic; perfectly paired with a nice Argentinian white wine. And for desert - a home made Alfahor: a chocolate and dolce de leche cookie sandwich dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with pistachios on top … it is an Argentinian passion (they sell candy- bar versions in every Kiosko in Buenos Aires, Argentinians adore them.
After a night stroll around a chilly Palermo evening, you would figure that the locals would skip the many ice-cream shops dotted all-around, but Argentinians also adore ice cream! They are addicted and I am told they are super popular all-year-round…
The day before my last in Buenos Aires, I see my favourite four viejitas (cute old ladies) in the Güemes park, sitting on the same cement bench on the other side of the church … when they sport me, they ask ‘and how do we look today compared to yesterday’ - ‘much more beautiful of course’ I yell back!
Classier and even more lovely than the brash Brazilians - muy educados, the Argentinians always say ‘Buen dia’, Perdon (forgive me) - they say with any kind of trespass. And their ‘no, por favor’ … when you always brings a smile to my face. ☺️
Anyway, my experiences are the real Palermo for me, they are the essence of the sabor Poeteño: of mi Buenos Aires!
- I’ll be back again I know it! This might even the perfect place to retire someday! Who knows? 👍🏻
Adios 👋🏻 mi lindo Buenos Aires!
Argentinian Alfajores Recipe
4 egg yolks
¼ cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup unsalted butter European butter is tastier and has more dairy and fat than water, making it ideal for this recipe
2 cups cornstarch or 1 cup of cornstarch and ½ cup of all-purpose flour (they will be less crumbly yet not so melt-in-your-mouth)
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
½ tsp brandy or cognac (optional)
14 oz can dulce de leche
Desiccated coconut or unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)
Confectionary sugar to dust the tops
Preheat oven at 350 degrees F (180 C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and reserve.
In the bowl of a mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar at medium speed for about 2-3 minutes or until the mixture is pale. Beat the butter until homogeneous.
Add half of the cornstarch, then the baking powder, and the other half of the cornstarch, mixing with a spatula after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest.
Using your hands, knead the dough on a surface lined with parchment paper just until it is no longer sticky. I prefer to not flour the surface because it will absorb the flour, making the dough dry. If the dough becomes dry either way, stir in about 1 or 2 tbsp of milk.
Roll out the dough in a thin layer (about 1/8-inch thick) and cut out discs using a cookie cutter (about 2 ¼-inch diameter). Re-roll the leftover dough and repeat the process.
Using a metal spatula, gently transfer them to the prepared baking sheet, keeping them about 1-inch apart.
Bake for about 8 minutes or until set and lightly brown on the bottom edges. Let them cool before filling with the dulce de leche.
To fill them, either pipe the dulce de leche over half of the cookies or spread it on with the back of a teaspoon. The first option will be less messy and will avoid breakage. Then use the remaining half of the cookies to top the filling (sandwich), applying gentle pressure on the center using your full, flat hand instead of pressing down on the edges.
If you prefer (optional), roll the sandwich cookies in shredded coconut to make the coconut stick on and cover the dulce de leche around the rims. Sift confectioner’s sugar on top of the Argentinian alfajores and enjoy!
Recipe Notes 📝
Prepare Ahead (Alfajores Recipe)
Make cookie dough, wrap very tightly with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. Or, freeze cookie dough wrapped in plastic wrap and placed into a freezer bag for up to 3 months. This is one of those easy freezer meals!
How to Store Argentinian Alfajores
Let cookies cool completely before adding the filling. The baked Argentinian alfajores keep well in airtight containers for up to 7 days. Be aware that dulce de leche will transfer moisture to the cornstarch cookies, softening them after a while. But they are still good!