The Food Saga: The Sweets

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Welcome to my “Central and South America Food Saga“!

Latinos apparently have a sweet tooth: there were panaderías (bakery) just about anywhere!

In Central America, as well as in Bolivia, there were less formal panaderías, but sweet snacks were always available in the street. Nuts, pop corn, bread etc. were sold pretty much anywhere.

Throughout South America, a popular cookie was the alfajor. It consists of two round sweet biscuits joined together with dulce de leche (milk jam) or jam, and covered with powdered sugar.This is extremely sweet, but quite yummy too!

Dulce de leche — sweeten milk that looks like caramel — was found in almost all sweets and candies, and it was also used as a spread on bread. In Brazil, doce de leite was notably used as a filling for churros, sold in Copacabana.

My favorite place for baked sweet was Argentina: all cities have a panadería, which sell baked good by the dozen, instead of by the unit, like in France. Typical price was 12 pesos for 12 facturas (small pastries), which is about 30 cents each. Medialunas (“half-moon”, or croissant), sweet rolls, alfajores etc, were popular choices.

Meanwhile, Brazilians are crazy about their brigadeiro, a small candy made of condensed milk, butter and chocolate powder, rolled into a ball, and then covered in chocolate or coffee-flavored sprinkles. It was sold in the streets during Carnival. But everything seemed to be brigadeiro-flavored: ice cream, cookies, cakes, cereal bars… I’m surprised I haven’t seen a brigadeiro drink!

Selling Pop Corn, La Paz, Bolivia

Selling Pop Corn, La Paz, Bolivia

Selling Nuts, Copacabana, Bolivia

Selling Nuts, Copacabana, Bolivia

Yummy Chocolate Cake, Lima, Peru

Yummy Chocolate Cake, Lima, Peru

Selling Sugar Cane, Curitiba, Brazil

Selling Sugar Cane, Curitiba, Brazil

"Facturas", Buenos Aires, Argentina

"Facturas", Buenos Aires, Argentina

"Medialunas", Buenos Aires, Argentina

"Medialunas", Buenos Aires, Argentina

Candies And Cakes, Parati, Brazil

Candies And Cakes, Parati, Brazil

Brigadeiro, Brazil

Brigadeiro, Brazil


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. I like traditional bakery…it’s warm and friendly. However, I don’t think I’m able to take a lot of sweets though.

  2. These all look delicious. You and Feng sort of grazed your way across the Americas. The most artistically decorated pastries I have ever seen were in Japan although your country of origin would be hard to beat.

    Micki is trying to teach me how to make Choux a la Creme, or cream puffs. I was a little confused at first when Google Translate gave me “Cabbage and Cream”.

  3. YUM! I’m a little spoiled here, my neighbour is originally from Uruguay and lived in Vienna for 17 years so when she invites me over for dinner as she did tonight I have South America meets European cooking + pastries.

    I need to point her to your blog!

  4. Hey Zhu,

    I love alfajores…in Brazil, there is a similar sweet called “Bem casados” (which is done with the two round cake-like biscuits, joined together by doce de leite; and then covered by glacé…so, but so good!!).
    Brigadeiros: Mmmmmm…my mom does some wonderful brigadeiros, my Lord! Love them!

    Sugar cane juice is delicious! Oh, those medialunas look so yummy! Facturas…(did you know that Facturas in Portuguese means “receipt”?) Dios mio…qué delicia!!

    Zhu, thank you for the sweet surprise :D!


  5. I’m goign crazy… wow so much pastries. I’m a big fan of pastries. I cane at them for breakfast / lunch & Dinner.

    Thanks for so sweeeeeeeet snaps

  6. @Agnes – I can’t help you, I like both!

    @Bluefish – Me neither to be honest. That said it’s nice to have the option to grab something light and sweet!

    @Tulsa Gentleman – 😆 French also call each other “mon chou”, literally “my cabage”, but it means “honey” or “sweety” 😆 Haven’t had choux à la crème in ages… it’s wedding food for me.

    @Gail at Large – You are so spoiled! Lucky you… be nice to your neighbor 😉

    @shionge – Really? Do you have a lot of sugar cane there?

    @Shantanu – Sugarcane in India too? Never knew that! How do you eat it?

    @Max Coutinho – Factura has the same meaning in Spanish, not sure why they call the pastries like that… probably means “unit”. Anyway, they are sooo good!

    @CM-Chap – Come to Argentina, it’s gonna be your dreamland 😆

  7. Hi Zhu

    I love South America. We lived in Venezuela for two years, and the food was an adventure and so yummy.

    I love alfajores, so sweet and fattening 🙂

    The coffee in Venezuela is the best coffee i have ever had.

    And the best of all are the arepas and empanadas.

    Wow your post brings so many memories back.

    Thanks or sharing

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