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The South American sweet staple, dulce de leche, is now freshly made in Pittsburgh at La Dorita 

It took more than a year for Josephine Oria to duplicate her grandmother's recipe

Josephine Oria's grandmother, Dorita, never let her write down recipes. So when it came time to replicate Dorita's dulce de leche, it took a year and half to get the recipe right. 

"She'd always say, ‘Just be patient. Once you get it, you know,'" says Oria, of O'Hara Township. "I can't tell you how many pots of burnt milk I had."

Argentina-born Oria came to the U.S. at age 2. When she married an Argentine, she wanted to continue grandmother's culinary tradition, after she couldn't find a comparable version of the thick caramel sauce in stores. "It'd be $11 for a cup, or expired," she says.

Her version is made from locally sourced raw milk and natural vanilla. It became so popular among her friends and family that "We ended up saying, ‘Maybe we should sell this.'"

In 2009, she and her husband, Gaston, created La Dorita, in honor of her grandmother, and began making batches of dulce de leche in their home commercial kitchen. (They recently moved to a bigger space in Sharpsburg.) The spread is available in Whole Foods, Giant Eagle Market District, McGinnis Sisters, smaller local shops and online. There's also a dark-chocolate version.

"In the United States, dulce de leche is thought of as a dessert," Oria says. But in Argentina, "It's considered a spread for the breakfast table." 

And soon, it may be an addition to the bar: In August, a La Dorita dulce de leche liqueur — distilled with Boyd & Blair vodka — will hit state stores.

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