South American Famous Dessert – Dulce De Leche

South American Famous Dessert – Dulce De Leche

Dulce de leche is a favorite in most South American countries. It can be eaten as a dessert, as part of a dessert, filling cakes, topping cakes, as candy, over toasts, over loaves of bread, with crackers, or by the spoonful!

In each country dulce de leche has a different name and its recipe is slightly different, except in Argentina and Uruguay, where the recipe is the same and is called the same.

Actually it is impossible to determine whether it is a Uruguayan dessert, a Argentinean dessert or from another country. Some years ago, in 2003, Argentina claimed before the UN that the dulce de leche be proclaimed an Argentinean product and Uruguay asked it to be proclaimed a Rio de la Plata product, thus making it clear that the origin is really unknown.

So here we will try to make up the history of this famous dulce de leche, which is not an easy thing to do!

-One legend takes us way back, as it is said that the dulce de leche can be found in very old cultures, and it is named in the Ayurveda (thousands of years ago), and was then named Rhabadi Ayurveda, “Science of Life”, traditional medicine from India, (5000 years ago) is also one of the most modern methods of alternative medicines in our days.

-Another of the oldest legends is originated in Europe, in the 14th century where a dessert called “confiture de lait” in the Normandy region was already enjoyed by the people there.

-Years later, one of Napoleons’ cooks, making sweetened milk for the troops, by accident ended making dulce de leche!

-We have heard also that origins are called to be Mediterranean, having it been started to prepare in Spain, XIX century, where no longer is made now.

-Chileans claim that the dulce de leche came to their country, when the Libertador San Martin crossed the Andes. It was called “Manjar Blanco” and goes back to the XVIII Century, since then Chileans are enjoying it.

-Argentineans say that the dulce de leche was originated in their country, when one of the maids of the Juan Manuel de Rosas household was preparing sweetened milk for her master, and because she had to attend Juan Lavalle who came to sign a peace treaty with Juan Manuel de Rosas, she was distracted and when she went back to continue preparing breakfast, she found this caramel color paste in the pan, and Juan Manuel de Rosas tried it and found it very good and tasteful.

-Uruguayans say that the dulce de leche was born when the slaves that were brought by the end of the XVIII Century had a great need for a more nourishing meal and they invented adding sugar to the milk and letting it boil long enough. The slaves showed it to their masters and they started to enjoy it too. After that it started being produced in large amounts.

Also, in other South American countries dulce de leche is known and enjoyed as well, though it has different names in each country:

–Mexico, called Cajeta, and is made with goats’ milk
–Colombia, Venezuela and Panama called Arequipe
–Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile and Peru, Manjar Blanco (sometimes only Manjar)
–Brasil, it is called doce de leite
–In Cuba it is called dulce de leche “cortado” (cut, as they cook it differently, and it is not as soft a paste as in other countries)

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