Argentina has strong Italian and Spanish roots caused by the colonies and the huge immigration during several wars in Europe.
Therefore, Argentine cuisine is described as a cultural blending of Mediterranean influences brought by the Spanish during the colonial period and, later, by Italian and Spanish immigrants to Argentina during the 19th and 20th centuries, with influences from a further cultural blending of criollos (due to Spanish colonizers) with the Indigenous peoples of Argentina.
Pan Dulce (Panettone)
Panettone is an Italian type of sweet bread, and fruitcake, originally from Milan, usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year in Western, Southern, and Southeastern Europe as well as in South America, Eritrea, Australia, the United States and Canada.
In Italy, historical accounts of panettone invariably state that it originated in Milan. The word panettone derives from panetto, a small loaf of bread. The augmentative suffix -one changes the meaning to “large bread”.
The beginnings of this cake appear to date from the Roman Empire when ancient Romans sweetened a type of leavened cake with honey.
In Argentina, it is called Pan Dulce. And despite the dough and the base recipe being similar, there are a few variations and most of them contain more fruit and nuts.
The best Pan Dulce in Argentina
When it comes to the best one in the country, there seems to be a clear winner: Plaza Mayor.
Plaza Mayor is a Spanish restaurant located in Monserrat, close to many tourist attractions in Buenos Aires such as San Telmo, Palacio Barolo, Teatro Colon and Puerto Madero.
They serve traditional Spanish food such as paella, tortilla and octopus, but they are better known for their Pan Dulce.
Their Pan Dulce can be bought all year round. However; on the days before Christmas too many people want it so it is common to see a 200 metres queue.
As you can see in the picture above, it comes with many nuts and it is just delicious. They keep using the same recipe which is from 1985.
It can be eaten up to 10 days after the purchase, and it can also be in the freezer for a long time. For the latter, simply put the Pan Dulce in the freezer for as long as you need (within reasonable limits) and take it out 4 hours before eating.
The price this year, 2022/23 was ARS 3800 (~USD 10), which is quite cheap considering the size, weight and amount of nuts.
It can be purchased every day from 9 to 11 hs and from 17 a 19 hs. If you eat at the restaurant you can also buy it and avoid the queue, which is something many people do as well.
It has become so popular that even online resellers offer Pan Dulce at a higher price during the Christmas season.