Dulce De Leche – Milk Caramel
Dulce de Leche or Milk Caramel is made by slowly cooking fresh milk and sugar until the mixture thickens into a luscious creamy caramel sauce. Popular in Latin America and in Spain, my first taste of Dulce de Leche was in Madrid a decade ago when it was served poured over vanilla ice cream.
Thicker than a sauce, Dulce de Leche is more like a cooled melted caramel – thick, rich and not unlike the caramel that sticks to a spoon when making caramel apples. Although Dulce de Leche cannot be used to make caramel apples (because it doesn’t harden when cooled), the sauce can be spooned over ice cream, yogurt, cake, waffles, crepes, biscuits, toast, and even used as a layer between sweet crisp breads known as “tortas” (as pictured above). Some fans have been known to stick a spoon in the jar and enjoy Dulce de Leche plain – it’s that good.
Argentinians conduct rankings of Dulce de Leche the way Americans rank chocolate chip cookies – that is to say, all the time. Consistently ranked in the top ten (and usually the top five) manufacturers in the country, La Salamandra makes a thick, rich creamy milk Dulce de Leche that most Americans would call a Milk Caramel Sauce. The ingredients list contains five products: whole milk, sugar, glucose, baking soda, and vanilla.
La Salamadra is an Argentinian company that specializes in making top quality dairy products. Approximately 50 miles west of Buenos Aires near Luján, is the company’s main manufacturing plant that uses state of the art technology to produce Dulce de Leche (and many other products including a selection of cheeses – mozzarella, ricotta, marscarpone, and more). A rural area with a large dairy cow population ensures the freshness of the milk that is so necessary to make this prize-winning sauce (several years ago, La Salamandra Dulce de Leche won the Gold Award for Outstanding Jam, Spread, Preserve, or Sweet Topping at the Fancy Food Show in New York).
Widely available, La Salamandra Dulce de Leche is packaged in a 16 ounce jar that sells for approximately $8 at Fresh Market, Whole Foods, and many grocery stores. The caramel sauce is also available on-line at Zabars, Straubs, and Woodstock Farmer’s Market.