Ambar Benítez, the young woman from Piedra Buena who makes alfajores to fulfill her dream of traveling to Machu Picchu for the age of 15

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Ambar Benítez, the young woman from Piedra Buena who makes alfajores to fulfill her dream of traveling to Machu Picchu for the age of 15

Ámbar has been interested in culinary arts since she was very little. Her mother Mirna Larrosa says that she watched her prepare her desserts – her specialty is moist chocolate cake, although she is also encouraged to make sweet bread – and insisted on helping her. “Like all boys, at first she imitated what she saw. But at the age of three I already knew how to make cakes, he measured the amounts with a cup that he held with both little hands, so small it was. Always without approaching the fire, of course”. But what started almost as a game would have an extraordinary twist.

Ámbar Benítez with her mother, Mirna Larrosa.Paula Teller

With Machu Picchu it was love at first sight”, says Ámbar, who has just turned twelve. “When I was seven, once they sent us to do some practical work at school and I got Peru. I loved the history of the sacred valley of the Incas”. Soon after, he told his parents that, by the time he was fifteen, I didn’t want a party with a pink dress or a trip to Disney. He wanted to know the “mother of stone, foam of the condors” that Pablo Neruda portrayed in his verses. And when the pandemic broke out in 2020, he abandoned social networks and, almost without intending to, found a way to cover the costs of the future trip: he began to prepare artisanal alfajores and baptized his business Destination Peru”.

The alfajores include phrases with optimistic legends, friendship and love.
The alfajores include phrases with optimistic legends, friendship and love.

At first, with so many free hours, she cooked her little delicacies for family and friends. And since he could not be otherwise, his brothers stole some alfajores from him. Until little by little the neighbors began to buy from him and word of mouth spread in the town.

Ámbar smiles behind her glasses when we ask her about her method. She says that she likes to cook alone and that she doesn’t want anyone to be watching her., because mixing the ingredients is an alchemy: no one person does it the same as another. Mirna also smiles and adds that “she has appropriated my notebooks, and in some cases the student surpasses the teacher.”

Ámbar Benítez's specialty is alfajores from Mar del Plata, filled with dulce de leche and glazed.
Ámbar Benítez’s specialty is alfajores from Mar del Plata, filled with dulce de leche and glazed.Paula Teller

His work system is simple and organized. In the mornings he goes to school and in the afternoons (depending on the number of orders and outings to play) he works “in series” on the large kitchen table: for example, one afternoon he prepares all the caps, at next afternoon fill, then assemble the tray for the oven and so on. His “star alfajor” is the marplatense stuffed with dulce de leche with chocolate bath and glaze. “But I also make cakes and puddings and white marplatense, with walnuts, Cordovan, Santa Fe and with seasonal fruits: apricot, cherry, corinth. Always with local fruits, right? she is quick to clarify.

The alfajores of Destino Peru, the entrepreneurship of the young Ámbar Benítez.
The alfajores of Destino Peru, the entrepreneurship of the young Ámbar Benítez.

Destination Peru is a successful venture: Ámbar makes and sells about ten dozen alfajores per fortnight, but at the beginning of the month, when Piedrabuenenses receive their salary, the demand tends to increase. Sometimes he has to pause production, especially after key dates like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. For those occasions, he has designed some beautiful little boxes with legends that say a lot about his personality and his drive: “No one is like you, and that is your power”, “Be happy, do not accept less”, “Every day do something that makes you sing to your heart”, “Think, dream, create, dare” and the favorite by far: “For those hugs that make you close your eyes.”

Ambar and its alfajores.
Ambar and its alfajores.

Before she started with Destino Perú, Ámbar’s parents set two conditions: one was that she not neglect her studies (mission accomplished) and the other that she learn to manage money. “We made the initial purchase for her and now she, from what she is earning, allocate a part to replace the elements you need and save the rest for the trip. It’s a family philosophy: when we want something, we set ourselves a goal and work hard to achieve it. And of course my husband and I are always here by her side, to accompany her in whatever she needs”.

Ámbar Benítez started with the alfajores project at the age of 10.
Ámbar Benítez started with the alfajores project at the age of 10.Paula Teller

Amber’s birthday is January 12 and will travel to Machu Picchu to celebrate their fifteen in 2025. Although there are still three years to go, he does not give up his efforts. “In a few more years, money is going to be more expensive, so I have to have more,” he sums up. “And I also like to give my classmates a gift to drink milk and share.”

When asked what other things she’s passionate about, she answers without hesitation: “Reading mysteries and romance novels.” And she has two other trips in her sights: the Eiffel Tower and the Obelisk of Buenos Aires. But when he grows up, he will leave the alfajores to study architecture. “I like heights,” he says. And with her claw, we can already imagine her building wonders like Zaha Hadid or Kazuyo Sejima.

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