I am a condensed milk junkie. Yes I know it's unsophisticated eating at its finest and is the sugar + dairy haters' poster child for foods that do bad things to you, but it tastes so good!
I remember the feeling of pure joy watching a tin of Milkmaid being emptied into a glass jar, ready to be dug into after each meal. My mother would puncture two holes at opposing ends of the tin and balance it precariously on the rim of the jar and I'd watch the entire contents slowly ooze out in a thick swirly flow.
Then it was time to eat - smooth and sweet straight from the jar or thick and lickable after it had been left to sit in the fridge for a bit. Condensed milk in coffee, tea, on bread, chappatis, pancakes - all were fair game.
After that came the invention of squeezable tubes of the stuff (convenience defined), and my discovery of Vietnamese coffee (to me purely a vehicle for the delivery of sweetened evaporated milk). My childhood obsession with the stuff has definitely grown with me.
So it's little wonder that I am over the moon to be heading to South America this weekend. South Americans have managed to improve what, in my mind, is something I thought no living person could make any better. They've managed to do it by caramalising condensed milk to turn it to dulce de leche - milk candy that is even more delicious than the stuff it's made from.
I can already taste those Brazilian beijinhos (soft dulce de leche candies coated in coconut sprinkles) and hope to eat my share of manjar - the thick milk candy spread available in Chile and Peruvian Tejas - dulce de leche nut candies coated in fondant and chocolate. Basically I plan on tasting very single version of the stuff I can find :)
I predict a picture gallery in the near future!
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