Mentioning “Merengo” in the entire littoral area is talking about the best alfajores in Santa Fe. They were first made in the days when our country was just starting...
History goes, and in this case it may be proved through countless tracks left in the City of Santa Fe, that in 1851 don Hermenegildo Zuviría, nicknamed Merengo, inaugurated one of the first stores to sell drinks in this city.
Merengo got his nickname from the typical criollo wit: well-built and always dressed in a white apron, Hermenegildo was often made fun of by his neighbors, who used to compare him to meringue. And so he became Merengo.
It was 1853 when the need to give shape to the National Constitution was moved to Santa Fe. Therefore, the members of the Assembly settled down in the City of Santa Fe, as well as in neighboring Paraná.
The corner where Merengo sold his drinks and alfajores had some rooms on the top floor which he rented for foreigners and travelers who passed by Santa Fe. Some members of the Assembly, namely Delfín Huergo, Juan María Gutiérrez and José Benjamín Gorostiaga, stayed at one of them. They were entertained with Merengo’s alfajores during their stay.
The best alfajores in Santa Fe
Watercolor by Francisco Puccinelli
Family of alfajores
Alfajores in Literature
Even if the members of the Assembly took the job of spreading the news about these new alfajores all over the country, popular literature also left records of their existence. The famous author Mateo Booz, born in Santa Fe, makes reference to alfajores Merengo in his book Aleluyas del brigadier (The Brigadier’s Alleluias) within the context of the establishment of the National Constitution.
The author wrote: “…on May 1, 1853, after having accomplished their mission, the members of the Assembly slowly began to take the exhausting roads they already knew, on their way back to their provinces. They included some alfajores Merengo in their luggage to take them home to their wives, daughters and girlfriends. And there is no doubt they took something else: the happy memory of their days in Santa Fe."
The Image of a City
Very original in those days, this text could perfectly be used in an ad today. The truth is that the history of this invention and that of the National Constitution remains more alive than ever and this is easily appreciated in the thousands of boxes that wander about all the corners of the country year after year.
Who would have thought that the two sides of the same cookie, a milk jam preparation and a white meringue coating would give origin to a typical flavor of Santa Fe that would become a tradition throughout the entire country?
Merengo, had certainly imagined it.
Pablo Etchevers Gentileza Alfajoresmerengo.com
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