Is Argentina the sweetest country on earth? I have the teeth to prove it.

Argentina sweets

During my four months in Argentina, I have been to the dentist a total of 12 times, had two root canals, two crowns and one standard filling. For about 15 minutes of that time, I had no more than a small metal tooth in place of my molar, and my inadequate Spanish left me convinced I was going to have to face the world with it until my crown was made the next week. Luckily, the temporary plastic tooth had simply got lost in translation and saved me the embarrassment of looking like a pirate.

But why so many dentist visits? Well it could be that my Dad had a mouth full of fillings and I’ve inherited his darned weak teeth, or that my dentist in England was a sham and replaced my old amalgam fillings without telling me this would weaken them and potentially lead to root canals just four months later (lesson learned: never get a ’3 for 4′ offer when it comes to your teeth). Or, a more fun explanation could be to draw a correlation with the fact that Argentina is perhaps the sweetest country I’ve ever been too. So yes, I think the story will go something like this. “You think that’s sweet? Try going to Argentina. I had to have three fillings while I was there.” If I could, I’d then pop off my fancy porcelain tooth to display my pirate peg.

The curse of Argentina’s sweets

Now, this might be a bit dramatic, but there’s truth in one thing: Argentina is SWEET. Stop at a petrol station, or head into a corner shop, and you’ll be confronted by a dazzling array of colourful wrappers filled with sugary delights. Super sweet alfajores are a national  delicacy, the ice cream rivals Italy, and merienda (coffee and cake) is a favourite time of day.

Dulce de leche aisle in the supermercado, Argentina

And don’t forget the dulce de leche – not that you could seeing as it is in everything. Whole supermarket aisles are dedicated to the stuff. One morning we were even woken up on an overnight bus ride to a 6:30am breakfast of six items, all containing dulce de leche. That was the turning point for both of us – nothing like a white chocolate alfajore to push you over the edge of dulce de leche indulgence.

And it’s not just the things made of sugar. It seems that Argentines like to sweeten everything. I once counted six sugars served on the side of my coffee; you can feel the grains in a lemonade; and smoothies even come with a (un)healthy dose of sugar. Heck, even the bread is sweetened!

Perhaps most telling of all is the Argentine tendency to sweeten words – besito, gorrito, juegito – anything small is made into its diminutive and giving a little topping of syrup– even words aren’t safe from sugar.

So, there you have it; the proof in the pudding – Argentina destroyed my teeth.

Posted on August 7, 2012 by Victoria in Argentina, Destinations, Thoughts 13 Comments

13 Responses to Is Argentina the sweetest country on earth? I have the teeth to prove it.

  1. alessandra

    you’re so funny! :))
    I’m ready for my departure to argentina the next month and I really can’t wait, I’m enjoying all your posts!
    ciao! alessandra
    alessandra recently posted..PIGRIZIA, REGALI E SPIEDINI ROMAGNOLIMy Profile

    • Victoria

      Thanks Alessandra. I’m so pleased you’re enjoying the blog. I’m sure you’ll have a great time in Argentina. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions.

  2. tony bell

    Hope the teeth are better=root canal fillings are not for the faint-hearted eh?!
    Best wishes,

    • Victoria

      So lovely to hear from you! Im pleased you found the blog. The teeth are feeling much better now thankfully. Looking forward to seeing you next month! x

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  4. Rachelynne

    I’m sorry about your teeth!! Very funny post, though. Laughed my whole way through it. Can’t wait to go to Argentina someday and see for myself =)
    Rachelynne recently posted..Entombed Forever on Their Sunken ShipMy Profile

  5. Callie

    Just found your blog – love it!

    This is so true. I was in Buenos Aires for a while and always thought it was funny that they make everything so sweet, yet if you suggest putting sugar in mate, they’ll look at you like you have three heads!
    Callie recently posted..THE SCARIEST THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED TO MEMy Profile

    • Victoria

      Thank you! That’s so true about the mate – although we did meet someone who half filled their cup with sugar!

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  7. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures

    My hubby is from BA. When he 1st moved here he had 6 cavities and 1 root canal!!!!

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  9. Noor - Desert to Jungle

    My teeth are aching just reading about it!

    It must be on a par with Thailand, they put sugar in everything here – salad, curry, bread. I’m spending a tiny fortune on imported food because it’s the only food without sugar.
    Noor – Desert to Jungle recently posted..Boogie Wonderland on the Bangkok to Chiang Mai Night TrainMy Profile

    • Victoria

      Sugary bread is the worst!


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