desserts, Traditional Food

White, Gold, and Caramel Brown, the Wonderful Alfajores of Cusco

Sweet Alfajores

Sweet Alfajores

The glass cases of our bakeries, grocery stores, coffee houses, and some restaurants show off alfajores year round. These traditional cookies are there for the hour of coffee whether in the morning, at night, or anytime of the day. It is fun to please the palate with the taste of an alfajor.

It is wonderful to eat an alfajor during the day, whether by itself or accompanied by a mazamorra ( a purple corn pudding), an arroz con leche (rice pudding) or a hot drink. The flavor of this confection is sweet because of the caramelized milk (manjar we call it in Peru) that sits between two soft cookies. It is so popular that it is almost always present at parties and receptions. There are now pastry businesses that make them under their own brand names.

Some people, including those from other countries, such as Argentina, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia and, of course, Peru, will walk around through our streets by the Plaza with a platter of alfajores for sale. You will see these delights carefully placed on the white platter and will see the cookies gleaming from their dusting of powdered sugar. Sometimes people will even put grated and dried coconut on top. This dessert adapts to the different characteristics of each country since it is consumed throughout Latin America.

Its price varies. In the streets you can find it from 1/S while in the coffee houses and pastry shops the price varies according to size. You will find them from 2.50/S to 4/S. These delicate round cookies filled with caramel, honey, or marmalade are available every day of the year. They are present for the joy of diners whether they are young or old.

Alfajores are part of our Peruvian culture from colonial times, when Spain invaded and took control of South America. With the arrival of the Spaniards came not just desolation violence, and hunger but also their culture, religion, and culinary arts. That is how the alfajores came to our Peru.

These soft and delicate cookies filled with caramel alongside a cup of coffee have an incredible flavor and delightful texture. The golden color of the cookies dusted with white powdered sugar along with the sweetness of caramel are a temptation for any visitor who likes sweets.

To walk along the different narrow streets of Cuzco is to share space with its people and its energy. It is so sweet and agreeable that it is like biting into an alfajor.

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