|Dulce de leche, the caramel spread that makes South Americans score?
I used to have a Colombian friend who would make a couple of holes in the top of a tin of evaporated milk, then cook it in a saucepan with water most of the way up the tin. Half an hour later the milk would have thickened into a caramel sauce he called ‘dulce de leche’.
He’d put it on fruit, spread it on toast. Very nice it was too. You might know it as the sweet brown stuff under the bananas in banoffee pie.
It’s available these days in tins or jars in most UK supermarkets, but it’s never had a very high recognition factor outside South America – until now.
Dulce de leche is suddenly on everyone’s lips, with the news that the Uruguay squad had their supply (all 39kg of it) confiscated on landing in Brazil.
Was the team’s lack of dulce de leche a factor in the team’s lacklustre performance against Costa Rica? Will they continue to struggle against England tomorrow night without it?
Don’t tell them, but they don’t actually have to go without it. Little do they know, they could buy the same thing in Brazil, doce de leite.
But South Americans are a bit like Italians when it comes to food – Argentinians think their version is best, Chileans won’t touch the Argentinian ones – and clearly Uruguayans don’t think the Brazilian version is up to scratch.
Will the Uruguayans swallow their pride, eat the Brazilian stuff, and perform better against England? Or will they stay firm in their dulce patriotism? For the England team’s sake, I hope the latter.
And England: don’t forget your Marmite!
If you want to improve your sporting performance using the dulce de leche factor, try these recipes…