Concha y Toro

Ania Smolec 13/11/2015

“Manjar” from Curacaví

While you travel from Santiago to Valparaiso you cannot skip Curacaví, the Chilean capital of manjar, also called dulce de leche.


While you travel from Santiago to Valparaiso you cannot skip Curacaví, the Chilean capital of manjar, also called dulce de leche. With reason the word “manjar”/ “delicacy” is used as a synonym for something delicious and enjoyable. Today I want to present you a rich and elegant recipe for a cheesecake with a tasty dulce de leche and its wine pairing.

Curacaví is surrounded by the mountains of the cordillera de la Costa (Costal Range). This city borders with the Casablanca commune and Casablanca Valley, where Concha y Toro produces some of its best white wines and red wines of cool climate. In pre-Columbian times, on the banks of river Puangue, they lived several native communities and at the colonial times, it was the point on the road between the capital and the port of Valparaíso. Curacaví was a village, until its municipal rights in 1891, and during the Republican era.


Today Curacaví still lives at its own rhythm. The habitants of Curacavi maintain their old traditions. You can still see some ox carts or horseback riders on its main street. You can also admire their traditional crafts. It is a very good destination for a trip or a tasty stop on the way to the coast. I recommend, especially its famous sweets. If you do not have time to stop, you can even buy some on the road and make your trip much sweeter.

In Curacaví there are about 50 very small factories producing sweets with dulce de leche.  Chilean manjar (caramel), this traditional delicacy, made with milk and sugar, is also called dulce de leche in neighboring countries. One of the Curacaví specialties is the Chilenito. It is a typical cookie-like sweet made from flour and stuffed with dulce de leche. They are called so because they are simpler and smaller than common alfajores. The Chilean alfajor, however, is made with hojarasca (a type of cookie), which is thinner and crunchier.

The dulce de leche is consumed in all Latin America. It was supposedly brought by the Spanish at the time of the conquest. This sweet mass is eaten in Spain with churros or alfajores and is a very common ingredient in baking. Several countries claim the dulce de leche origin, but history is inconclusive. The ancient Indian books Vedas state that it was born in Ayurveda, where it appears under the name of rabadi and is recommended to prevent diseases. Today it is used in India to prepare the dessert called rabri (although this is prepared with yogurt and millet flour). Even some anthropologists and archaeologists say the technique of reducing milk to the sweet mass began when Alexander the Great brought sugar from India and introduced it to Persia.

This sweet mass, which gives us a nice caramel color, is also known in other parts of the world. For example, in France it is called confiture de lait, while in Eastern Europe it is known as kajmak. It also has other Latin names, such as arequipe in Colombia and cajeta in Mexico.

Traditionally dulce de leche is used in baking, to fill: alfajores, Cuchuflíes, cakes, pancakes and waffles (such as very German cake Pischinger). It is also common to prepare ice cream flavor. A very simple and quick idea to enjoy manjar, but also delicious, is to cut bananas and decorate them with a few tablespoons of dulce de leche. It is a very traditional dessert in Chile and I enjoy it a lot. Try it with Frontera Late Harvest, a very seductive wine with aromatic notes of honey and ripe fruit.

However, today I want to introduce an exquisite and elegant cheesecake with dulce de leche. It is a more elaborate and fine dish, presumably to show off in front of your family and friends. It’s quite sweet, so remember this important rule of pairing: the wine must always be sweeter than our recipe. Therefore I invite you to try a delicious Casillero Diablo Late Harvest. It is a very expressive wine, with aromas of flowers, oranges, figs, apricots and dried fruit, which harmonize beautifully with our dessert. I invite you to put your hands in the dough and sweeten life with manjar!

 Cheesecake with dulce de leche

Ingredients (for a round mold of 24 cm diameter)

  • 20 grams of biscuits such as “petit beurre”
  • 6 grams of butter
  • kg of cottage cheese, or ricotta
  • 400 grams dulce de leche
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 20 grams of cream 36%
Manjar Curacavi


  1. Grease the cheesecake pan with butter (bottom and sides). Put inside the baking paper.
  2. Melt the butter over low heat and let cool slightly. Put the cookies in a blender and mix as fine sand. Add the melted butter and stir to moisten the cookies sand. Put the cookie dough into the bottom of the form, align and cool.
  3. Remove all the ingredients from the refrigerator about 2 hours before cooking to have a room temperature.
  4. Preheat oven to 175 ° C (heat up – down, no convection).
  5. Mix cheese with dulce de leche, add the powdered sugar, vanilla sugar and flour, mix again. Then add the eggs and mix the ingredients to connect all the time at low speeds. Finally add the cream and mix gently with a spoon.
  6. Remove the mold with cookie dough and pour the cheese mass to the mold.
  7. Put in the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 125 ° C and bake for 105 minutes.
  8. Cool the cheesecake in the oven with the door slightly open, opening slowly. Then let cool completely.