dulce de leche spoonful

Is dulce de leche the best flavor in the world?

by Michael on March 18, 2013

Dulce de leche seems simple. It’s made up of just two ingredients: milk and sugar. The milk and sugar are slowly cooked so the sugar caramelizes, creating an intense, complex sweetness that is the best flavor on earth. The birthplace of dulce de leche is South America. During our time in Buenos Aires, our mission was to sample as many products with dulce de leche as possible. It’s a tough job but, well you know.
layer cake

 These cakes are decorated with dulce de leche frosting with even more between the layers inside.

black and white cookie

Alfajores: A tasty twist on the New York black-and-white cookie. Take one of each and sandwich them around a layer of dulce de leche.


Here’s a simple recipe you can try at home: take a croissant, slice it open, slather the inside with dulce de leche, sprinkle powdered sugar on it. Done.

jars supermarket shelf

 These supermarket shelves are stacked with so many varieties of dulce de leche that we couldn’t try them all.

pastry shop buenos aires argentina

 Larissa’s in control as she selects some treats at a Buenos Aires bakery.

The rich gooey carmel of dulce de leche may be the best flavor in the world. We tried it in as many varieties as possible while visiting Argentina, its birthplace

Dulce de leche gelato

Not only is dulce de leche the best flavor on earth, it also makes the very best gelato.

Dulce de leche gelato

It’s hard to believe, but gelato is less fattening than ice cream. So eat up.

Dulce de leche menu gelataria

In America, an ice cream store may have one flavor of dulce de leche. In Buenos Aires they have up to a dozen. 

Dulce de leche in Buenos Aires spinning gelato cone

The gelato in Argentina is spun around, not scooped, before being placed on the cone. 

Dulce de leche Volta Buenos Aires

Mario and Jimmy are the gelato spinners at Volta, and huge Rocky fans. 

Torta de Mil Hojas

Possibly the sweetest concoction we have ever tasted is Torta de Mil Hojas, sometimes called Torta Rogel. It’s made up of many layers of crepes with dulce de leche slathered between each layer. The whole thing is topped off with a baked meringue. Our initial excitement when the cake was brought to our table faded away though; we met our match in the Torta de Mil Hojas and couldn’t finish it.

torta miloja cake

The Torte Miloja in all its glory. Count the layers. 

Dulce de leche cake rissy

Even sharing this cake between us we just couldn’t finish it. Afterwards we were a bit hepped up on all the sugar.

La Salamandra Cafe

A restaurant devoted to dulce de leche? That’s one of the things that makes Buenos Aires so special.

La salamandra cafe buenos aires

We just had to try this place. 

La Salamandra condiment

You know a restaurant is good when dulce de leche is the 3rd condiment, right after salt and pepper.

La Salamandra spoonful and cookie

For dessert try the dulce de leche three ways: a tart , a cookie and a spoonful of pure bliss.

Can a good thing be ruined?

mcdonalds buenos aires (556x615)

Even McDonalds is into it. Their dulce de leche sundae is quite popular. Funny thing though, when you meet Americans overseas they will only grudgingly admit to going to McDonalds. It’s like admitting they watch porn or something.

What are some of your favorite dulce de leche memories?

Hungry? Try a taste of dulce de leche at home.

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Tristan March 18, 2013 at 10:18 am

I’m usually not a huge fan of posts about food, but this one was amazing. As far as I’m concerned, dulce de leche IS the best flavor on the world, and I had no idea it could be in so many different things.

Note to self: Go to Buenos Aires.

Janice Telstar March 18, 2013 at 10:46 am

Love this post! I only wish I had seen it before our trip to BA–I mean of course we tried the sweet delicacy a few ways but nothing like you guys did! Guess that is one more reaosn to go back !! On the bright side, I thank you for all of the calories you saved me.

Michael March 18, 2013 at 11:35 am

Thanks Tristan. Maybe we’ll turn you into a lover of food posts.

Michael March 18, 2013 at 11:36 am

Another place to find all this is in the Elmhurst section of Queens in New York City. When Michael’s grandfather lived there a few Argentinean bakeries had opened up. Our favorite was churros with dulce de leche.

MissElaineous March 18, 2013 at 11:55 am

Buenos Aires seems like a great place to open up a dental practice.

My favorite dulce du leche memory….at home actually. If you can find a small container of it in a local international or specialty food store, buy some and store it in the fridge. I like sneaking spoonful in the morning before anyone else is up. Its self leveling so no one really notices the spoon shaped crater that my indulgence leaves behind. YUM!

Jessie March 18, 2013 at 12:03 pm

OMG. food cue!!! guess what i’ll be looking for, at the store?

Larissa March 18, 2013 at 12:03 pm

And I am proud to say I was responsible for putting that stuff in your fridge in the first place 🙂

Larissa March 18, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Yep–puts marshmallow fluff to shame!

Jennifer March 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I would argue that the best flavor in the world is salted caramel with sea salt on dark chocolate…you say tomato, I say tomahto, I guess. 🙂

Michael March 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm

You know Jennifer, that is probably a close second.

Lillie March 18, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Oh my gosh– I am licking the screen…

Kate March 18, 2013 at 9:31 pm

I need to find a vegan version of that ice-cream! I love that it is spun and not scooped. Did you see any dairy-free gelato options in Argentina? Italy is pretty good for dairy free gelato.

Cat of Sunshine and Siestas March 19, 2013 at 2:34 am

I don’t love dulce de leche (my Argentinian friend in Spain once got us a cake specially made, and it turned me off forever), though I’m always willing to give things a second try!

Andi March 19, 2013 at 8:20 am

My wedding cake (I was married in Buenos Aires) was made of a mixture of chocolates and dulce de leche. Best cake I’ve ever had in my life! I’m a HUGE fan of the stuff. Dulce de leche liquor is incredible too!

Christina Gmyr March 19, 2013 at 9:10 am

wow, I’m drooling! Great post 🙂

Theodora March 20, 2013 at 1:23 am

Loved this post, Larissa…

Michael March 20, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Watch out, that can be habit forming.

Michael March 20, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Hi Kate,

There were dairy-free options. As a side note, we often found dairy-free options in Israel too for kosher dining reasons.

Michael March 20, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Sorry to hear that Cat. And we really trusted your opinions until now. 🙂 Maybe the cake was like that torta we had that was really too sweet.

Michael March 20, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Those were some lucky wedding guests.

Michael March 20, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Thanks Christina. The acai looks good too.

Linda @EcoTraveller March 20, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Awww, man… this is when you really need to be able to smell over the internet! I am so salivating right now! WANT.

Robin Lee March 22, 2013 at 11:21 pm

I have to admit, I found the dulce de leche ice cream a bit too much. but i did buy one of the jars on my first visit to a grocery store in BA cause there was an entire isle for it! my favorite was dipping apples in it…. yumm. But one question, is it any different to caramel ?

Larissa March 23, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Thanks, Theodora. But in all fairness, Michael wrote this one (someone had to take the photos while I ate all the goodies) 🙂

Larissa March 23, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Linda, I promise I won’t tell anyone if you lick the screen 😉

Larissa March 23, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Hi Robin! Good to hear from you 🙂

According to our research (makes us sound smart, don’t you think?), the literal translation is “sweetness of milk”, and it is also known as “milk caramel”. So in answer to your question, dulce de leche is the same as caramel–the Argentines have simply raised it to an art form!

And agree with dipping the apples!

Just One Boomer (Suzanne) March 24, 2013 at 11:24 am

One thing I learned in Buenos Aires is that a little dulce de leche goes a long way. Did you try panqueque con dulce de leche — basically a dulce de leche crepe?

Micki March 25, 2013 at 6:18 am

Loved this post. We’ve actually planned a trip to Turkey this year to try their stretchy ice cream (dondurma), and I’m thinking you may have just inspired us to visit Argentina too 🙂

Claudine March 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I never tried dulce de leche, but if I can find some, I will. It looks so delicious in these photos.

Matthew Hirtes March 27, 2013 at 3:08 pm

It’s upt there as one of my favourites. But you have to come to the Canary Islands and try helado to gofio. Now that’s taking taste sensations to another level.

Michael Hodson March 27, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Wow, looks like they put that stuff on everything down there. Same in Spain too

Michael March 27, 2013 at 11:39 pm

We didn’t try the crepe but that Torte Miloja had about a dozen crepes stacked up in it.

Michael March 27, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Hi Micki, We missed that when we were in Istanbul. An excuse to go back!

Michael March 27, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Hi Claudine,

Check your local market, they may have some.

Michael March 27, 2013 at 11:41 pm

I’ve never heard of that Matthew. There’s always something new to discover.

Michael March 27, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Hi Michael,

Perhaps it started in Spain.

Mrs. Tucker (Patti) May 28, 2013 at 8:54 am

So much YES! in one post…thanks for jump-starting my appetite this morning!

Nix October 17, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Hi… torta “Miloja” —> torta “Mil Hojas” in reference to the pages of a book. Regards

Michael October 17, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Thanks for the correction which we’ve made. Either way it is delicious.

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