Tag Archives: picture

BBC – Travel – Stromatolites: Earth’s Oldest Life Forms | Instant News

The sunroof was open and the tinted windows were folded down. I was on Indian Ocean Drive a few hours north of Perth to Lake Thetis on the rugged coral coast of Western Australia. Like a drawing by MC Escher, the landscape changes from market gardens to limestone-speckled scrub, with a soundtrack of windmills drawing water from the Yarragadee aquifer formed in Jurassic times. There were white-trunked eucalyptus trees and punk-haired grasses growing in the thousands, flocks of hoarse-flying black cockatoos and, sadly, dozens of kangaroos that had ended their days as roadkill. Going on a road trip along the coast of the oldest continent on Earth must have been steeped in mystery. As I passed green and yellow road signs warning to keep an eye out for kangaroos, emus, and echidnas, there was another rare life form I was looking for an audience with – one that traces its ancestry back to the early days of the time. the oldest forms of life on our planet. The name derives from the Greek stroma, which means “mattress”, and lithos, which means “rock”. Stromatolite literally means “layered rock”. The existence of these ancient rocks extends three-quarters of the way back to the origins of the solar system.With the understanding of a citizen scientist, stromatolites are stony structures built by colonies of microscopic photosynthetic organisms called cyanobacteria. . As the sediment settled in the shallow water, bacteria grew on it, binding the sediment particles together and forming layer after layer millimeter until the layers became mounds. Their empire building brought their most important role in Earth history. They were breathing. Using the sun to harness energy, they produced and increased the oxygen content of Earth’s atmosphere to around 20%, giving the kiss of life to whatever was to evolve. We can see how the world looked at the dawn of time Living stromatolites are only found in a few lagoons or salty bays on Earth. Western Australia is of international importance for its variety of stromatolite sites, living and fossilized. Fossils of the earliest known stromatolites, about 3.5 billion years old, are found about 1000 km to the north near Marble Bar in the Pilbara region. With the Earth estimated to be 4.5 billion years old, it is astounding to realize that we can witness how the world looked at the dawn of time when continents were forming. Before the plants. Before the dinosaurs. Before humans. You might also be interested in: • The fight to save Australia’s ancient dinosaurs • Australia’s response to the Northern Lights • An extraordinary landscape on the edge of the world. From time to time, through the scrub, I caught a glimpse of the turquoise water blown out and capped in white. Then snatches of the white and undulating sand dunes of the town of Lancelin. It’s a shoreline of wrecks and lobster shacks, roaring forties scouring, strong westerly winds carrying storms lashing latitudes 40 and 50 degrees south, and the soothing summer winds of the Fremantle Doctor, colloquially. named for the relief it brings on a scorching summer afternoon. It is a wild coast and weathered with enchantment, I was almost in Cervantes, the lobster capital of the coast, on the northern edge of Nambung National Park. A few kilometers on a dirt road, I reached Lake Thetis, the home of stromatolites. Lake Thetis was small, shallow, and triangular. The bush trail meandered through fan-shaped blossoms with thick leaves and blue petals, seed-headed rushes and red beaded samphire eruptions. Every once in a while the local kangaroos would lift their heads to see us and then I would see them. There were thousands of pumice-hued stromatolites almost camouflaged under the ripples, submerged like migrations of ancient turtles holding their breath under the slightly opaque water. I was amazed. Blocking out the outskirts and imagining the methane orange sky of volcanic activity, this is what life looked like at the beginning of time: Lake Thetis is just over 2 m deep and double the salinity of the sea. lake became isolated about 4,800 years ago when sea level fell during the last great ice age. The shores receded and the coastal dunes trapped the water inland, creating the lake. These stony oxygen donors are estimated to have grown for around 3,500 years, and a metal walkway reinforces over the lake so you can see the stromatolites below. On the 1.5 km walk that circles the lake, it’s looking, but don’t touch, as many of these ancient relics have been damaged by people carelessly walking on them.But there is another side of the stromatolite family which is present on this stretch of the coast. Evolutionary advancements about a billion years ago began a slow transition that saw layered stromatolites disappear as another variation emerged. These were their younger cousins: thromboliths. About an hour’s drive south of Perth, I took Old Coast Road through Yalgorup National Park to Lake Clifton, home to the largest lake thrombolites in the world. Southern Hemisphere.When charismatic science presenter and University of Manchester particle physics rockstar, Professor Brian Cox, visited Thromboliths for his documentary series, Wonders of the Universe, his admiration for the “stains strange rocks in the shallows “has inspired many travelers to seek out Lake Clifton, to see” the first life on Earth “. Thrombolitis derives from the same root as thrombosis, which means “clot”. Thrombolites have a coagulated appearance, while stromatolites are layered. According to the late Dr Linda Moore of the University of Western Australia, stromatolites went into decline at a time when there was an explosion of more advanced marine life. Their ecosystem was challenged when the predatory amoeba and other single-celled organisms called foraminifera used their finger-like extensions to engulf the stromatolites, turning their thin, layered structures into clusters. To survive, stromatolites needed highly saline water which limited other competing marine species, while thrombolites adapted. They survived and thrived in an environment less salty than the sea, their coagulated texture providing a home where small wildlife could coexist. With impressive ancient linear ancestry, the Lake Clifton thrombolites are estimated to be 2,000 years old. Here too, a walk ventures through the reeds and onto the brackish lake, where below, thromboliths can be observed. Looking closely you can see tiny chains of oxygen rising to the surface of the water. They breathe. To the Noongar of this region, their Dreamtime story tells the origin of thrombolites. As the land was dry, the Noongars prayed to the sea for the water to become cool. Their creator left the sea in the form of the serpent, Woggaal Maadjit. She pushed through the sand dunes, creating a creek. She laid her eggs (the thrombolites) and curved her body to protect them (the sand dunes protecting the lake). The baby snakes that hatched from the eggs dug rivers and then, dying, dug underground tunnels forming underground springs on their way back to Dreamtime. These springs provided fresh water to the Noongar people. From a scientific standpoint, microbial thrombolites use sunlight to generate energy and to precipitate calcium carbonate (limestone) from freshwater sources that escape from the underlying aquifer. A groundwater flow that is low in salinity and nutrients and high in alkalinity is integral to their growth and survival; any alteration calls their existence into question. Lake Clifton is a fragile environment. In 2009, thromboliths were classified as Critically Endangered and are now protected under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, placing this area in the same category as Kakadu National Park, listed in the Ramsar World Heritage, Australia’s largest national park that preserves the continent’s greatest variety of ecosystems. Conservation measures for Clifton Lake now include building the boardwalk to avoid crushing thromboliths, monitoring water quality and levels, protecting the native vegetation buffer that helps filter nutrients and pollutants, monitoring the health of the thrombolith community and liaising with urban and agricultural settings. landowners to manage and protect water quality. The survival of these ancient organisms is precarious. These springboards of life need protection. Climate change affects the salinity of the lake. The invasive urbanization has increased the influx of nutrients, causing an algal bloom that blocks sunlight and suffocates thrombolites. In a little over 100 years of human-made treasures on the lake, the survival of these ancient organisms is precarious. Like the Dreamtime serpent, Woggaal Maadjit, it’s up to us to protect them.Nature’s Curiosities is a BBC Travel series that offers a close-up look at the natural world, taking adventurous travelers on an unexpected journey of exploration. millions of BBC Travel fans by liking us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram. If you liked this story, sign up for bbc.com’s weekly newsletter called “The Essential List”. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Worklife and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday. .

image source

Police image needs to be improved: PM Imran Khan | Instant News

Police image needs to be improved: PM Imran Khan

LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday directed Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Inam Ghani to utilize all resources to protect the lives and property of citizens. Chairing a meeting on the reform and performance of the Punjab Police here, the prime minister emphasized the use of modern technology to control crime. Imran Khan emphasizes solving citizens’ problems based on merit and taking decisive action against officials who create obstacles on the road to justice.

The prime minister regretted that political appointments were made in the police during the previous regime, which adversely affected the department’s performance. He said nothing had broken the law and asked police personnel not to give in to political influence or pressure. He said police treatment on an equal and legal basis would result in citizen satisfaction and asked IGP Punjab to focus on improving the image of its department.

The prime minister said appointing honest officials to important positions had implications from the top to the grassroots level, and called for merit-based deployments and transfers only to ensure dispensation of justice.

He said catching big criminals warns minor offenders to refrain from engaging in crimes. IGP Inam Ghani briefed the prime minister on the progress of reforms related to the Punjab Police and informed him that a proposal on the financial autonomy of the police station and a reconciliation board mechanism had been submitted to the chief minister.

The prime minister expressed his satisfaction with the performance of the chief secretary of Punjab and IGP. The Chief Minister of Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar and Special Assistant to PM Shahzad Akbar attended the meeting.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan said because 60 percent of the country’s population was involved in the agricultural sector, its promotion and development in modern channels was the government’s top priority.

He directed the Punjab government to formulate a separate comprehensive action plan for the value chain for each agricultural product to increase agricultural productivity and capacity. The prime minister chaired a meeting on increasing agricultural productivity and value chains in Punjab.

The prime minister pointed out that apart from addressing basic food security issues, the agricultural product value chain must be fully focused. He further emphasized for the formulation of a comprehensive strategy with a schedule in which agricultural productivity could be tripled from the current level.

Meanwhile, while chairing a meeting on the start of a new labor inspection regime in Punjab, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that starting a new labor inspection regime was a good initiative that would help promote small and medium-sized industries in addition to strengthening the country’s economy.

The prime minister directed Punjab’s Minister of Labor Ansar Majeed Khan Niazi to ensure the protection of workers’ rights under the new labor regime and there should be no compromise on this.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar met in Lahore and discussed the situation of the province as a whole.


image source

BBC – Travel – The erotic origin of Italy’s most famous sweets | Instant News

Yes, it looks like one

Napoli have Pizza, Rome has cheese and pepper and Sicily has cannoli. Arguably the most famous dessert in Italy, cannoli is proudly featured in almost every Sicilian cafe and café pastries, respected on the island official website and immortalized by the Sicilians at The Godfather with the famous line, “Leave the gun, get the cannoli.”

But if you’ve ever seen a cannolo and thought, “yeah, it looks like that,” you are not alone. The lovable Sicilian cutie does resemble a phallus – and for good reason.

Legend has it that in the Sicilian city of Caltanissetta during Arab rule (c. 1000 AD), harems of women created treats – fried tubular cake shells made of flour, sugar and butter filled with sweet and creamy ricotta cheese – to glorify their emir’s masculinity. Although this story cannot be proven, as there are no written records, the idea of ​​an erotic cake dates back centuries.

In Ancient Greece, during the celebration of Thesmophoria in honor of the goddess Persephone and DemeterPeople consume honey and sesame cakes in the shape of breasts to celebrate fertility and motherhood. The practice, which is thought to stem from an earlier rite held in Ancient Egypt to worship the goddess Isis, later spread throughout the Mediterranean and into pre-Roman Sicily.

You may also be interested in:
What you don’t know about panettones
The origin of the burrata is surprising
The French fight over chocolate cake

According to Maria Oliveri, an expert on cultural heritage studies from the city of Palermo, sexual organs were not considered taboo in the ancient Greek and Roman world but were revered as symbols of abundance. “The sexual form of Sicilian desserts originated in that ancient world. In the past, it was important to have many children, because they would cultivate the land and provide for the family, “said Oliveri.

By the 11th century, the Norman conquerors had converted Sicily to Catholicism, and ancient traditions had changed it mixed with Catholic traditions; observation of the winter solstice mingles with Christmas, and fertility rites joining Easter. The ancient dessert survives and is preserved by the nuns, who make confectionary in their convent for festivals and religious holidays.

As an example, cassata (a round ricotta cake usually decorated with marzipan, nuts and candied fruit), which is thought to have been born during Arab rule to celebrate spring renewal, is a specialty of Easter (and Easter). And like cannoli, a number of other ancient Italian desserts with erotic forms have been passed down through the centuries. That Weather in min in Sant’Agata or Minni di Virgini (a half ball of ricotta topped with white icing and sweetened cherries) made to look like a breast in honor of St. between two almond cakes) jokingly resembling a chancellor’s butt.

The nuns don’t make erotic shaped desserts because they are sexually suppressed

“The nuns don’t make erotic desserts, as some people think, because they are sexually oppressed and want to have fun, but because they inherit ancient traditions,” said Oliveri.

Since Ancient Greek times, the creation and consumption of this edible symbol associated with the sacrificial ritual, and was thought to bring people closer to the gods. Since this idea was brought into Catholicism, nuns were allowed to develop confectionery despite medieval monastic rules prohibiting greed.

For Carnival – a pre-Lenten celebration rooted in an ancient festival in honor of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine and ecstasy (Dionysus in Greek) – the rules are getting crooked. According to Dario Mangano, a semiologist at Università degli Studi di Palermo who wrote a dissertation on the semiotics of Sicilian desserts, the rules sometimes need to be overturned to be reaffirmed – and Carnival is allowed for that.

It is the only time of the year when Catholic caution will leave the way for uninhibited and excessive self-expression – and is the time to eat cannoli. Men will give sweet tubular to women to indicate their sexual desire, singing, “Each cannon is the staff of every King … the cannon is the staff of Musa, “(Every cannolo is the staff of every king … cannolo is Musa’s penis).

Unfortunately, most of the monasteries that use the traditional recipe for cannoli (such as Abbazia Nova in Palermo) have closed, and only a handful of elderly nuns still know how to make them. And while cannoli is now ubiquitous throughout Italy, the best and most “authentic” can arguably be found only in a few Sicilian cafes such as Sicilian coffee in Noto, Euro Bar in Dattilo and several places in the commune Albanian Plain.

To help save tradition, Oliveri opened a new pastry shop in 2017 inside Monastero di Santa Caterina in Palermo named Monastery secrets (Secrets of the monastery), where he made sweets from recipes he discovered through archival research and from aristocratic families who obtained them from the Sicilian monasteries. Unlike most shops that use industrially produced cannoli shells, Oliveri makes his own from scratch, prepares the dough, cuts it into circles, wraps it in tubular molds and then fry it.

On the day we spoke on the phone, he had just finished making 900 of them. According to him, handmade cannoli tastes better than mass-produced cannoli because it is fried and sold right away, preserving the desired crispness and flavor.

Corrado Assenza, pastry chef and owner Sicilian coffee (and featured on Netflix Chef’s Table), is the heir to modern Sicilian pastry making. While other pastry chefs make several variants of cannoli, such as rolling them in pistachio grains or filling them with chocolate-flavored ricotta, he follows a traditional, simpler recipe and fills the shells to order, so they are still crunchy.

“Cannoli has become an icon of Sicily,” said Assenza. “And for me this is the embodiment of contemporary food culture, in the version we proposed in Caffè Sicilia.”

Assenza emphasizes that good ingredients are essential for great cannoli. For example, for more than 20 years, he has used ricotta made by Franzo Spada, a local herder and owner of the dairy product La Pecora Nera, who practices transhumance (the ancient practice of moving sheep to a seasonal grazing area), believing that foraging for better food lead to better milk, and therefore, better ricotta.

“Ricotta who comes to the cafe three times a week is a unique legacy,” he said. “Nothing is bothersome [the shell and filling] because you need to leave room for flour, ricotta, and other ingredients, to become micro-masterpieces. “

Despite those created by traditionalists such as Assenza and Oliveri, most Sicilian cannoli have changed tastes and ingredients over time – due to technological advances and other cultural influences – and have spread around the world. Nowadays, for example, you can find variations such as multi-flavored cannoli Little Italy in New York or Boston North End, fund version with maple and bacon in Sweden.

But despite the deviation from the original, the cannolo’s structure – which makes it incredibly difficult to eat without making a mess – remains the same. “If the cannoli is over 1,000 years old, it’s because it meets the taste of every age,” says Assenza. “I hope it will remain a popular sweet that a lot of people will buy.”

Culinary Roots is a series from BBC Travel that connects rare and local foods woven into a place’s heritage.

Join over three million BBC Travel fans in liking us Facebook, or follow us Indonesia and Instagram.

If you like this story, Sign up for BBC.com’s weekly featured newsletter called “The Essential List”. Selected selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Worklife and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday.


image source

YT Announces Tax Exemption Donations for Regional Nonprofits | Instant News

YT Industries has chosen to donate 3% of the proceeds from sales of bicycles purchased in Germany in the last six months of 2020 to a pool of non-profit organizations in the bicycle world – the unexpected ripple effect of the pandemic.

Starting July 1, 2020, the German federal government reduced standard VAT on purchases from 19% to 16% as part of a 6 month pandemic assistance plan. YT, which includes VAT in its online prices, decided to take the additional 3% and donate it to organizations and projects that increase access to sports and improve trails in Germany.

“We hope that you are interested in contributing this difference to an association or nonprofit rather than investing in a disproportionate effect of change,” the company wrote in German on its blog in July.

YT follows up December 18 by announcing that the company has selected 17 nonprofits that are believed to have the greatest impact on youth access and trail advocacy.

From the YT blog, translated from German:

When the federal government decided to reduce VAT from 19% to 16% in the second half of 2020 to stimulate consumption, we decided to keep the gross price and use the difference to promote our sport in Germany.

In early July, we asked a non-profit MTB project in Germany to apply. And our cries are heard! We got more applications than we expected and most of them immediately showed how passionate and passionate the people responsible for MTB were in their projects. This includes, for example, a team from MTB-Augsburg who are not only committed to building a legal trail network, but also ensuring that all forest visitors can enjoy nature together and be caring. The Albert-Schweitzer School of Gundelfingen, which supports socially disadvantaged children on bicycles and trails, is completely different.

So it’s not just the huge numbers, but also the quality and diversity of clubs and initiatives that make it difficult for us to choose. In the end, we decided to fund 17 projects from four categories that we believe best cover all aspects of our sport and where our donations will have the maximum impact.

The organizations selected are:

TSV Eibelstadt, which aims to establish a flow path with all capabilities
Key Island of Forchheim, which aims to revive the local pump line
Zweiradportler Bamberg eV, a tracking organization in the city of Bamberg
JAM – Bamberg, a resource for giving youth opportunities
Realschule Höchstadt, A high school that plans to build a bicycle parking lot
Rollkultur Weserbergland eV, which provides youth trail building workshops
Anorak 21, which provides bicycle rental and travel
Albert Schweitzer Community School Gundelfingen, a school that aims to establish a bicycle club
EV MTB-Augsburg, a trail advocacy organization in Augsburg
The Esslinger Nordschleife – ESNOS, The club that represents the local trail system
Gravity Pilot eV, an organization that advocates gravity riding in Germany
Fahrvergnügen eV, a track crew hoping to increase youth access to cycling
Green Hell Freisen, a group that organizes events and aims to spread stokes
Bikepark Engelsbrand, a young bicycle park that hopes to develop
Gersthofen’s natural friend, a group looking to improve their local bike parks and programs
Bikepark Osternohe, a bicycle parking lot that looks pretty fun if I may say myself


image source

BBC – Voyage – The Gooey ‘Biscake’ Eaten By Millions | Instant News

Chocolate maker Maria Romero’s eyes sparkled as she returned to her childhood in Quilmes, a city in the province of Buenos Aires, and her first encounters with the alfajores. “My first memory of eating them was when I was little,” she says. “We had these kioscos [small convenience stores] inside the school and would run to the break to buy an alfajor. I have fond memories of standing and listening to the children shouting the names of the different brands – Jorgito, Capitán del Espacio, Fantoche. If you were hungry, needed something sweet, felt sad, you bought one. Sometimes you just need an alfajor to survive. In its most common form, an Argentinian alfajor is a pair of chewy, crumbly cookies sandwiching a layer of dulce de leche (a thick, super sweet candy that looks like caramel) and covered in chocolate or sprinkled with sugar or dried coconut. Romero describes alfajores as “cookies” – a cross between a cookie and a cake – and made a career out of it. After working for the Savoy in London, luxury chocolatiers Artisan du Chocolat and Rococo and the Hilton in Buenos Aires, she now runs UK-based Sur Chocolates, which produces gourmet alfajores. Romero places alfajores alongside the Malbec wine, beef, and yerba mate (an incredibly popular herbal tea) in Argentina’s culinary pantheon – and she’s not alone. About a billion alfajores are sold in Argentina each year, according to the Buenos Aires tourist office, and hundreds of varieties are available in kioscos, supermarkets and bakeries across the country, from the frozen kingdoms of Tierra. del Fuego in the extreme south at the top, arid plains of Jujuy, in the extreme north. “You can find them everywhere,” said Allie Lazar, Buenos Aires-based food writer and Pick Up The Fork blogger. “Each kiosco sells a large selection of alfajores. Most Argentines have a sweet tooth, and dulce de leche is essentially a national treasure, so alfajores have long been the perfect treat or quick snack. They are also a great accompaniment to the contrast of the yerba mate, which tends to be quite bitter. You might also be interested in: • The fried dough the world loves • The isolated ranch at the bottom of the world • The dish that ended the The alfajores are an integral part of Argentinian popular culture, appearing in such diverse works that Jorge Luis Borges’ short story, The Aleph and the much-loved Mafalda comic book. When he was young, one of Lionel Messi’s coaches rewarded him with alfajores for every goal he scored. They are so essential to Argentinian life that the national constitution is said to have been written in an alfajorería (alfajores shop) in the mid-19th century. Although they are a relatively simple product, alfajores have a long and complex history. Facundo Calabró, creator of the blog Catador de alfajores (Taster of alfajores) and author of the book En busca del alfajor perdido (In search of the lost alfajor), explains that they date at least from the 8th century, when a biscuit Arabic sugar, syrup, nuts and cinnamon arrived in the Iberian Peninsula during the Moorish conquest. Versions from Andalusia and Murcia then evolved, taking the name alajú or alfajor – derived, some linguists believe, from the Arabic word al-fakher (“luxurious”) or the old Arabic word al-huasu (“filled” or “drunk”). Cylindrical in shape and made from ground almonds, hazelnuts, breadcrumbs, sugar, honey and spices such as cinnamon, these versions are still traditionally eaten in some parts of Spain at Christmas and in some areas are available year round. But the alfajores have really come into their own in Latin America. “In the 16th century, during the [colonial period], the alfajor arrived from southern Spain and spread throughout the Americas, mainly through convents. It started to hybridize, taking ingredients from each region and losing others, ”Calabró said. Puerto Rican Alfajores are typically made from ground cassava, for example; while Chile, Peru and Mexico – among others – use their own versions of dulce de leche. But if they are now found throughout Latin America, they are above all synonymous with Argentina, the largest producer and consumer of the product. Sometimes it takes just an alfajor to survive Today, the alfajores in Argentina are far removed from their Spanish and Arab predecessors. The most common artisanal version – and the style typically found in bakeries – is known as alfajores de maicena, with a dulce de leche filling and a dusting of sugar or dried coconut. “But like most foods that have come to Argentina, the alfajores have received provincial twists,” said Paula Delgado and Claudio Ortiz, chefs at Estancia Los Potreros, which will publish its first cookbook in 2021. “Our chefs come back to the recipes they have prepared. taught by their mothers, aunts, grandmothers. Here in the province of Cordoba, the alfajores are usually filled with a sweet quince paste. All our gauchos [cowboys], cooks, cleaners and staff sit down in the afternoons to discuss life and politics around alfajores and mate tea. They are an integral part of Argentine culture. The most well-known type of alfajor on the market is the marplatense, which is filled with dulce de leche and covered in chocolate. It takes its name from the coastal town of Mar del Plata, home of leading brand Havanna, which opened its first bakery in 1947 and now has boutiques and cafes across Argentina. But there are countless variations beyond the classic marplatense. Rummage through the shelves of a kiosco and you will find them covered with sugar icing, meringue or yogurt; filled with jams, ganache, mousse or peanut butter; and flavored with coffee, fruit, nuts or spirits such as rum or whiskey. There are vegan, gluten-free, rice cake and even three-tier versions. People form deep attachments to particular brands, according to Romero Emanuel’s husband: “Argentines have to belong to one side or the other. Like in football, for example, you support Boca or River. With alfajores it’s a bit the same – you belong to a brand and you defend it. Despite their popularity in Argentina and elsewhere in Latin America, alfajores are relatively unknown in the rest of the world, although that is starting to change. Havanna opened a store in Florida, the first in the United States, in 2017. “There are also Havanna stores in Spain and over 100 in the rest of Latin America,” said Mariano Oliva, CEO of Havanna USA . “We sell about half a million alfajores a year in the US and have a plan – on hold for now. [because of Covid] – to open more locations. Alfajores have phenomenal potential. In the UK, Romero’s creative alfajores – yerba mate, malbec, dark chocolate and mint are just a few of the flavors – have also proven successful. “Our dream is to take [alfajores] everywhere, ”she told me. Yet, as alfajores expand around the world, the question of exactly why they are so popular in Argentina remains unanswered. Delgado and Ortiz blamed it on the national sweet tooth; Oliva suggests a strong emotional attachment that develops in childhood; and Romero thinks it’s due to a “shared passion”. For Calabró, the reasons for Argentina’s love for the alfajores remain a “great mystery”. “It is obvious that they are part of our collective identity,” he said. “[But] do we love alfajores because they are part of our identity or are they part of our identity because, for some strange reason, we have decided to love them? There is still no answer. »— Recipe: alfajores à la Mar del PlataBy Maria Romero de Sur ChocolatesIngredients: 110g unsalted butter80g icing sugar Zest of half an orange40g eggs1tbsp honey200g self-rising flour5g cocoa powder500g dulce de leche ) 600g of 70% dark chocolate Makes 20 alfajores Method: Using a food processor or blender, combine the butter, orange zest and icing sugar. Then add the egg and honey and continue to mix until they are pale and creamy. Finally, add the flour and cocoa powder and mix without overloading the dough. Cover the dough with cling film or baking paper and leave to cool in the refrigerator for at least two hours, roll out the dough to 2 mm thick and cut slices with a 6 cm cutter. Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, leaving a little space between each one and bake for six minutes at 190 ° C. Once the cookies have cooled, fill a pastry bag with dulce de leche and cover one side with the first cookie. Flip a second cookie (to make sure the outer sides of the alfajores are both as flat as possible), place it on top of the first, and press down gently. Repeat with the rest of the cookies. For best results, let sit for 24 hours, but if you can’t wait, you can go straight to the coating, dip the chocolate and dip the alfajores one by one. Make sure each one is completely covered in chocolate, using a palate knife to remove excess from the top and smoothing the base over the edge of the bowl, then carefully place on a parchment-lined platter or of cellophane. Once the chocolate is dry, the alfajores are ready to eat.Culinary Roots is a BBC Travel series connecting rare and local foods woven into a place’s heritage.Join over three million BBC Travel fans by liking us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram. If you liked this story, sign up for bbc.com’s weekly newsletter called “The Essential List”. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Worklife and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday. .

image source