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Five Most Popular Sweets in Colombia


Obleas Colombian sweets
Colombian sweets offer a delectable journey into the country’s culinary traditions Credit: Luis Ospino/Colombia One

Colombia, a country known for its vibrant culture and rich culinary heritage, boasts a mouthwatering array of sweets that are beloved by both locals and visitors alike. From traditional treats that have been passed down through generations to modern twists on classic flavors, Colombian sweets offer a delectable journey into the country’s culinary traditions.

1. Arequipe (Dulce de Leche)

Arequipe, also known as dulce de leche, is a beloved Colombian sweet made from condensed milk that has been slowly caramelized to achieve a rich, creamy, and caramel-like consistency.

Colombian sweets
Arequipe (Dulce de leche). Credit: Kai Hendry/CC BY 2.0

Whether drizzled over pancakes, spread on bread, or used as a filling for pastries, arequipe’s sweet and indulgent flavor makes it a staple in Colombian households. Its versatility and comforting taste have earned it a special place in the hearts of Colombians of all ages.

2. Cocadas

Cocadas are coconut-based sweets that come in various shapes, sizes, and flavors. These chewy delights are typically made from grated coconut, sugar, and sometimes condensed milk.

Colombian sweets
Colombian Cocadas. Credit: Avelludo/CC BY-SA 4.0

Variations include cocadas with added nuts, fruits, or flavors like lime or pineapple. They can be found at local markets, bakeries, and street vendors’ stalls, making them a popular snack that captures the essence of Colombian tropical flavors.

3. Chocolateria (Chocolate Treats)

Colombia is famous for its high-quality cocoa, and it’s no surprise that chocolate treats are a favorite among locals. From rich hot chocolate served with cheese or bread (a traditional combination), to chocolate bars and truffles, Colombian chocolaterías offer an array of options to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Colombian sweets
Chocolate bars. Credit: John Loo/flickr/CC BY 2.0

Many regions in Colombia have their own unique chocolate specialties, reflecting the diverse cocoa cultivation across the country.

4. Obleas con Arequipe

Obleas con arequipe is a delightful dessert made by sandwiching arequipe (dulce de leche) between two delicate and thin wafers called obleas. This combination creates a harmonious balance of textures and flavors – the creamy sweetness of the arequipe contrasting with the crispy lightness of the obleas.

Colombian sweets
Obleas with arequipe. Credit: Jessica and Lon Binder/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Obleas con arequipe are commonly sold by street vendors, making them a convenient and delightful on-the-go treat.

5. Bocadillo

No exploration of Colombian sweets is complete without mentioning bocadillo. This traditional confection is made from guava paste that is cooked down with sugar to form a sweet and dense block.

Colombian sweets
Bocadillo. Credit: Trotskij/CC BY-SA 3.0

Bocadillo’s unique flavor profile – a mix of sweet and slightly tangy – has made it a popular choice as a snack. It’s often enjoyed sliced thinly and eaten with cheese, creating a perfect balance of tastes.

Colombian sweets are more than just delectable desserts; they embody the cultural diversity and warmth of the country. Each sweet tells a story of tradition, family, and celebration, offering a glimpse into the heart of Colombian culinary heritage. Whether enjoyed during special occasions, daily routines, or simply as a way to indulge, these five bring a touch of sweetness to every corner of Colombia.

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