I realise to the uninitiated the headline above doesn’t make sense. But let me explain, fellow greedy food lovers.
Ever heard of alfajores (pronounced al-fa-hor-es)? Picture this in your mind. Taste it.
So, your Jaffa Cake has gone on holiday to South America. He’s had a lovely time. Dabbled in a bit of Tango. Splashed himself with colour. Got tarted up. Downed some Malbec.
This is Argentina’s answer to our much-loved jelly-topped treat - with one significant difference - dulce de leche. The sticky stuff of the gods.
This luscious, fudgy condensed milk confection is so commonplace in South America it must practically bleed from the veins of locals, who use it to drown tres leches cakes, to layer between sponges, to roll into balls of brigadeiro.
Alfajores are crumbly, spongy biscuity bakes - somewhere between cake and shortbread - absolutely smothered with aforementioned caramel goo, and topped with another biscuit/cake.
There may be a rolling of coconut around the edges. A dusting of sugar. A splodge of chocolate. Hungry yet?
Now, let’s get to the good stuff. A couple of Argentinian expats have turned alfajores into a work of culinary art, launching Sur Chocolates from their artisanal studio in Basingstoke.
Maria has been a chocolatier of some renown for around 20 years, having worked in high-end hotels, and for brands such as Rococo, while PR bod and media guru husband Emanuel works behind the scenes, bringing flair and personality to the brand.
All of their products are made with the finest natural ingredients in small batches, inspired by the flavours of home - be that a steaming hot, tiny cup of cortado coffee, or a glass of berry-ripe Mendoza Malbec.
When our shipment arrives I’m giddy with excitement. Not only is there a QR code in the box, leading to a soundtrack of Argentine songs (nice touch), but every single alfajor has been individually packaged in a tin - Mr J has already bagsied these to keep ‘stuff’ in in the garage.
There’s an interesting range of flavours, and we arrange them on the table in order of intensity.
First thing to notice is the stunning sheen of the glossy, expertly tempered chocolate. The beauty of the colourwork. These little cuties would make amazing gifts for a chocolate addict.
Then, there’s the cut. The chocolate is crisp, flaking into tempting shards under a knife. Each biscake is generously coated.
Onto the tasting.
Lemon Pie: Not too sharp, but with a bright, sunshiny lemon hit. The crumbly biscake has a hint of citrus, paired with lemon ganache and a layer of meringue.
Caminito: A lemony biscuit layered thickly with caramel, coated in splashes of coloured white chocolate inspired by the La Boca neighbourhood of Buenos Aires.
Chocotorta: Combines the alfajor with another South American classic. A chocotorta is a kind of ‘ice box’ cake of days gone by, still loved by many. Chocolate biscuits are layered between a mixture of dulce de leche and cream cheese, transforming into a big, gorgeously gooey dessert. In alfajor form, what you get are chocolate biscakes, with a generous spread of sweet, chocolatey yum. A firm favourite at the table.
Cortado: Coffee biscakes with dulce de leche, coated in 47% Venezuelan milk chocolate. Nutty, with hints of toasted toffee, and a slight bitter edge. A winner alongside a mug of milky coffee.
Menta Negra: Maria didn’t want this one to taste synthetic, or like toothpaste (let’s be honest, we’ve all had bad mint chocolate). The flavour profile she was after was ‘mojito’. And I think she’s judged it just right. There’s just a breath of sweet mint, balanced out by 70% Peruvian dark chocolate.
Negro: An orange flavour biscake, with dulce de leche, coated in organic Peruvian chocolate. Clean-tasting and moreish.
A box of 6 comes to £25, or they’re around £3.75 each, with UK-wide delivery available. HIghly recommended by this foodie. Buy them at surchocolates.co.uk
If these float your boat, also check out emporiumnorwich.co.uk where the lovely Marcela makes brigadeiros - from classic, to milky, to Nutella-filled and red velvet, brigadeiro cookies, brigadeiro spread and filled brigadeiro cones.