Food is memory. My memories of places are informed by the taste of the sweet things I ate there.
Chocolate in Argentina
First there was Bariloche. We crossed the border from Chile here; it was our very first stop in Argentina. There was a street called the Street of Chocolate Dreams; a chocolate department store; a chocolate cafe with giant Russian dolls in the window; a forest-themed chocolate restaurant/factory…there was a lot of chocolate. By the final cafe we all said we were sick and tired of it all; we never wanted chocolate again.
Then there was Buneos Aires where the women were almost all whippet-thin, but cortados were always served with a glass of water and either a bite of chocolate or a small medialuna on the side. I later read in Bad Times in Buneos Aires that, amongst well-heeled Porteñas, the chocolate serving was a test: you were supposed to make a show of being able to resist it.
When I think back to Buenos Aires I can see a picture of myself in El Ateneo Gran Spendid. Sitting at a small table on what used to be the stage in the theater-turned-bookstore sipping a cortado and not even trying to resist the delicately wrapped square of dark chocolate on the saucer.