An edible wood takes Buenos Aires by storm
Author Gregory De Villiers
It’s not uncommon to walk into a gelateria almost anywhere in the world these days and find yourself confused. What might goat cheese and cherry, Ceylon cinnamon or even beer ice cream taste like, you wonder. But at least, in those cases, it’s clear what the ingredients are. Not so in Buenos Aires, where there is a dessert flavor you won’t find anywhere else: a tree pulp called yacaratía.
Discovered in the forests of northeastern Argentina in the 1990s, yacaratía trees grow to be almost 50 feet tall, with a soft, wet interior that is commonly cooked and preserved in syrup. You’ll find the stuff all over Buenos Aires, but top chef Fernando Rivarola is one of the curious sweet’s biggest proponents. He regularly serves it with lemon soup, gelled cream cheese and cinnamon ice cream at his $50-a-head tasting emporium El Baqueano. Across town, a gourmet ice cream shop, Lucca, makes a goat cheese ice cream with chunks of yacaratía and almonds. Soledad Nardelli of the restaurant Chila, meanwhile, serves it plain with a selection of cheeses. She describes the flavor as similar to chestnut or sweet potato in syrup.