So today I discovered something really cool about Argentina and Ireland which probably sounds lame to most, but it’s a very important discovery for me. The million dollar question: what does Argentina and Ireland have in common?
Ok, let’s see what’s NOT in common…
1. Irish men are mostly blond.
2. Argentinian men are mostly brunettes.
3. The Irish drink quite a bit.
4. Okay, the argentinians drink quite a bit too.
5. Ireland has St.Patrick’s Day.
6. Argentina has….Maradona.
Clearly, I am very culturally sensitive and know a lot about Ireland.
Anyway, I think you lot ought to know about it. What does Argentina and Ireland have in common? Well my dear friends, the answer lies in their desserts.
That’s right, sweet stuff.
The Argentinian have this thing that is apparently world-famous:
Alfajores, a godsend delight very well-known in Argentina.
The Al-fa-hor-llles. Beautiful crispy-soft chocolate coated creme cookie thingy with gooey caramel in the middle. And I’m not one for caramel nor chocolate. After a year living in Belgium I basically have been shunning all forms of chocolatey existence except for Belgian chocolates. And in Buenos Aires other than feasting my visual self (i.e. eyes) on the men I most definitely rediscovered my love for sweets- the alfajores. Beautiful, magical existence, you can easily buy one at any convenience store or the world-famous Havanna chocolate/coffee place for 4 argentinian pesos (that’s like, 1 Canadian/80 european cents?/2 reais). I think for 3 nights in a row in Buenos Aires, amidst all the partying, I only ate one alfarojes per night as “dinner”.
Now going back what then does Argentina have in common with Ireland?
The answer, my friends, is the national Irish cookie, Jacob Orange Club.
I remember the first time I bit into an alfaroje there was something vaguely familiar with the taste and the feel. By that time I was already thinking…what is this sense of nostalgia? I mean come on it’s just a chocolate cookie. I am too old to cry on the streets because of chocolate. But then I realized that actually alfarojes taste almost the same as my childhood favourite sweet treat, the Irish Jacob Orange Club.
For those who don’t know (shame on you if you grew up and lived in Hong Kong and don’t know what this is), here’s a visual reference:
This orange-wrapped orgasmic piece of orange-tinted chocolate cookie has vaguely the same feel and taste of alfajores. As a child, I was known by my parents to be one that couldn’t stop snacking (not that now I’m not), but hey, a kid’s gotta grow, you know. I’d say it’s my natural instinct getting in the way. Anyway, while I never have a sweet tooth, I was a sucker for Jacob orange club cookies and would probably be easily lured away by a child kidnapper if one were to come to me with a whole pack of it and say “whaddya think missy I’ve got some more in my car!”
Thank god back then people weren’t as cunning and all conniving.
Ok, the major difference of a Jacob orange club is that it is actually, ahem, a chocolate covered wafter with some caramel and orange in the middle. It’s a delight and does produce the occasional crumbs or chocolate smudge down the front of your shirt if you are not careful.
In a desperate attempt to find out why I almost burst into tears upon biting into an alfajores, I found this amazing journal entry thingy from a site called “Nice Cup of Tea and Sit Down.com” which gave a very detailed, and excellent rendition of a 1980s born kid’s feeling towards the golden orange club:
Even 20 years ago the Club was a well established brand….. Two crisp rectangles of biscuit, a layer of orange cream between and all covered in a layer of chocolate so thick that in certain strategic places it could be bitten off in chunks.
Looking like a small chocolate ingot of gold the club biscuit exuded confidence and class. Finally the whole thing was wrapped in grease proof paper with a foil outer layer and slipped in a paper tube…..
How times have changed. Jacob’s were absorbed into Danone, a French food giant, and for reasons unknown, the Club biscuit was reduced to a mere shadow of its former self, in a fashion somewhat similar to the turning of King Posidon in the Little Mermaid into a small pale sea worm thing. The once proud boast about chocolate, that came so easily to a nation’s lips, was no longer to be heard. The two biscuits were reduced to one, the biscuit became thin and insubstantial, the orange cream squatting on top of it, the chocolate of course dwindled, the gloarious packaging, which lent itself to not one but two small origami dogs, became a cellophane sachet. I was personally too distraught to bring my self to even speak the name Club biscuit for many years. ”
You see? That’s another thing Argentina and Ireland have in common, other than desserts. They are both fucked royally by the French. Centuries ago France made various attemps in invading Ireland (please don’t ask me which ones, try wikipedia). Argentina is doomed to feel that they’re Parisian when well, they sort of are, but it’s almost a Paris of the past- though beautiful still of course. Anyway. Now the French won’t let go of both and decided to screw up the beautiful childhood memory of many (er, mine) which means bastardizing the Jacob Orange Club.
What’s worse now is that France didn’t even make it to the semi-finals in World Cup. Everybody’s f-ed by France, especially the French who travelled all the way to SSA and invested all that money to see their teams play.
I actually love Paris very very much, but hey, no place is perfect.