Argentina’s Top 10 Candies
Intensive research and development by Rachael Leonie.
Walk into your corner kiosk, and you’re faced with hundreds of different candy options. Whether craving an accompaniment for their mate or searching for that merienda sugar rush, Argentines need their sweets. Whatever your tastebud preferences, these handful of candies retain the title of Argentine “classics.” Feast your eyes on the ten wonders of the Argentine corner kiosko:
Of course alfajors must be on this list. If you’re smart about your cookie, you’ll get the chocolate covered treat. Let your lips enjoy the split second of coolness against the chocolate coating, before hitting the soft cookie beneath. Now you’ve reached the part when the cookie crumbles as hundreds of fleeing flakes splatter your top. Yet have no fear! Dulce de leche is near! The mess will be worth it once you taste the sweet confectioned center, binding the entire treat together. Enjoy, brush yourself off, and continue munching on your Jorgito/ Terrabusi/ Vaquita/ Cachafaz alfajor.
Don’t utter one more complaint about South America’s lack of peanut butter. For Argentina gave us Mantecol, and it’s a great substitution (unless, of course, you’re one of those healthy types). Another unnecessarily messy treat, Mantecol is semi-soft nougat made from peanuts, and layered between flaky wafer. You’ll find it in every kiosk, and on the table at Christmas dinner, as it’s a popular holiday treat.
BON O BON
It’s everything you want enclosed in a charming wrapper, twisted and winged out in the old-fashioned way. It’s cool, then crispy, then soft, and as you bite through the layers, they all crash together in your mouth to give you a little taste of Chocolate Heaven. This treat has the same peanut butter and wafer tastes and textures as Mantecol, but with the added benefit of chocolate to top if all off.
Having a bad day? Grab a Marroc. Having a good day? You must have had a Marroc. It’s a bite-sized candy in a pretty wrapper with a creamy, nutty caramel flavor. Marroc’s texture is incredibly soft and the candy will just melt in your mouth. You probably ingest more calories in one of these than in an entire asado’s worth of steak, but try it just once and you’ll see why it was worth it.
Cabsha is like Argentina’s own cult classic candy. It sounds simple, but has quite a unique taste and texture to it. Chocolate, wafer, and dulce de leche comprise this candy just a tad bigger than an Argentine peso. Yet when you bite through, there’s a sort of licorice flavor to the whole thing. It’s an acquired taste, but a must-try if you’re in the country.
Do we have any banana fans out there? Apparently in Argentina, there are tons because this candy sells like hotcakes off kiosk shelves. Picture a chocolate-covered banana. And then take away the banana and add radioactive-yellow, fake banana filling. And THAT is a Bananita. It’s not our favorite flavor, but it is quite adorable to watch a lil’ porteniño (see what I did there?) chewing on these mini-banana chocolates.
There is special homeage to be paid to Vaquita, as it’s survived Argentina’s candy circuit for 70+ years now. And it’s easy to see why –it’s a classic! It’s a simple, dulce de leche rectangle that easily slides out of an old Argentine-style paper box. This candy has no surprises: your taste buds will be overwhelmed (in the best way) with dulce de leche and not much else. It’s simple and delicious. A classic that will be on kiosk shelves for as long as Maradona remains god.
TITA & RHODESIA
They’re the Jack and Jill of the kiosk: birthed and matured simultaneously, but each created oh so differently. Tita is usually the more favored, but Rhodesia is bigger so in they end, it balances out. Tita is a two-bite bar of a biscuit cookie with dulce de leche, and milk chocolate to cover it all. Rhodesia is a thicker, more crumbly cookie with a hint of lemon flavor. Neither is too overwhelming, and both are perfect post-UBA lecture, pre-dinner merienda snacks.
TURRóN Y MANI
Suitable for all tastebuds, turrón y mani is a classic packing layers of wafers upon layers of nougat and peanut butter cream. It tears like taffy, and sticky white sweet stuff will branch out of the wafers like stiffened melted wax. Turrón y mani boasts a bold red wrapper with bright yellow font, so it should be easy to spy at your corner kiosk.
PALITOS DE LA SELVA
“Palitos de la salva me enseñaron más que Animal Planet,” is the ongoing joke about these soft chewy candies. Each wrapper comes decorated with a picture of an animal and a short description of the species. The wrapper is the real reason for the candy’s success, as the sweet itself is quite basic: a long, cylindrical piece with pink and white stripes, alternating strawberry and vanilla flavors. The popular pink treat was produced by Cadbury Argentina in 1950, and has since spread to Uruguay and Paraguay due to popularity.
Which Argentine sweet is YOUR favorite? Do you agree with our list of top 10 Argentine candies? Are there any you would add (or take out!)? Let us know in the comments!