Sweet Treats Are The Main Course For A Traditional Breakfast In Argentina

Breakfast around the world comes in many forms. From the aromatic, salty, and spicy flavors of Malaysia's nasi lemak to the beautiful spread of dishes that comes out for a Turkish breakfast, the traditions of the day's first meal take on fascinating contrasts.

In Argentina, morning dining is not an all-out affair — that's saved for lunch and dinner. Instead, people in this South American nation prefer their first meal light, limited to a pastry or toast, accompanied by a drink. Typically, these bites are sweet in nature, either pastries called facturas — which is the same word for receipt in reference to their on-the-go nature — or tostadas, which are toast.

Such morning bites come in many forms, from sweetened croissant-like medialunas to sugar-coated palmeritas and even simple churros. The toast or pastry is often accompanied by a sweet spread, ranging from sticky dulce de leche to beloved dulce de membrillo, which you might recognize as the quince paste on a fancy charcuterie board. It's a meal enjoyed quickly, but one that still hits the spot.

Argentines enjoy a small pastry or toast for breakfast

The practice of eating a small pastry for breakfast isn't unique to Argentina. A simple baked good, accompanied by an energizing drink, is a common morning routine in European countries like Spain, Italy, and France. Croissants are an especially popular option in these regions. With many Argentines owing their ancestry to European cultures, their light breakfasts are hardly surprising.

In fact, many of the breakfast treats popular in Argentina are evolved versions of European pastries. Medialunas — which are one of the most iconic Argentine morning items — are similar to a croissant but contain eggs and aren't laminated. They often have a dulce de leche, pastry cream, or chocolate filling, and are dipped into a cup of coffee. Other morning options include rosquitas, which are deep-fried donuts, as well as bola de fraile, a type of jelly donut. The absence of savory breakfast items evinces the sugary predisposition of people in this South American nation.

Accompanying all the sweet options is a beverage — or several. Traditionally, it's an easy-to-make café con leche served with a small glass of carbonated water. You'll often find freshly squeezed orange juice on the menu and, unsurprisingly, Argentina's national drink, yerba maté, is always an option, too. It's common to enjoy such breakfast fare at a café or bakery, or simply while walking to your first activity of the day.