The Localist

Manjar: the perfect lover

Recently I discovered that Chileans share with other Latin Americans a guilty pleasure for a sweet thing that we Chileans call manjar”. In other countries such as Argentina it is known as dulce de leche”, or milk sweet. If you search for the word manjar” in the official Spanish language dictionary (, it states that manjar refers to “exquisite food” and “pleasure or delight that strengthens and invigorates the spirit”.

There are too many stories about the origin of “manjar”, so it is difficult to establish which one is the true story.  As it is so popular in most South American countries, each country claims this sweet dessert as its own invention.

However, I think that we females have a special relationship with manjar. It almost seems like a prohibited romance. We search for the perfect place to meet with him (yes it is a he, because as you know in Spanish nouns are either masculine or feminine), always alone because we don’t want to share, always hidden from the eyes of others. And even though we know that what we’re doing is forbidden, we still crave the adventure of continuously meeting each other.

Why forbidden? I should tell you that the main ingredients are large amounts of milk and sugar. It takes a while to prepare, around 3 hours, so you normally buy it already made. In Chile we can eat it at breakfast with toasted bread, or for dessert in a cake, pancake, ice cream, with fruit, etc. It tastes good with everything – the possibilities are endless. It makes you extremely happy, and, what’s even more important is that it never fights back. The perfect lover, am I right?





Images. Photos by Sara Joiko.

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