The fastest way to make enemies in Argentina is to compare the asado to a barbecue. It’s the same, right? No, the locals will tell you, through gritted teeth, it is not the same. Your gas-fuelled blow-torching of conveyor-belt beef patties has nothing in common with our sacred asado.
Four years ago, food journalist Anna came to Buenos Aires, stuck her fork into a piece of cow the size of the Lonely Planet, and vowed to return. In the spring of 2010, she did, armed with a jar of Marmite, a bag of chilli powder and a Michel Thomas podcast. Since then, she has travelled the length and breadth of the country by bus, eaten the remainder of that cow and written for Square Meal, Mr & Mrs Smith, House, Men’s Health, Project Magazine, The Sunday Times and www.therealargentina.com. In her spare time, Anna tries to lay off the provoleta, nurtures a fledgling mate habit and upsets her Argentinian friends with spicy cooking. And then writes about it all on www.senorsuitcase.com.
Hugging the border with Chile, Argentina’s dramatic Lake District makes a suitably bellowing welcome to Patagonia. Banish all notions of the rolling hills of Cumbria – this is big landscape, and visitors must dress, eat, travel and plan accordingly. San Carlos de Bariloche – known universally as Bariloche – is the main hub of this great expanse of mountain-rutted wilderness, so all visitors to this part of the world will invariably lay their woolly hats here at some point. It’s a sprawling…
For a country that takes such pride in its produce (and needs no excuse for a fiesta), it’s remarkable that Argentina’s food and drink festivals are only just gathering pace. Naturally, beef and wine are still the headline acts, but are joined by an increasing number of more specialist events. Here is a look ahead to the best Argentina festivals and fairs in 2012 aimed at the food and wine enthusiast in everyone.
Tucked away in the corner of the country, where Argentina, Bolivia and Chile converge, is the magical Andean northwest. The climate is as harsh as the terrain: unrelenting heat and heavy rains in the summer, arid cold in the winter. April, May and September are the best months to visit.
If you’re not aware that Ushuaia is the world’s most southerly city by the time you arrive, you’ll learn pretty quickly. The capital of the fabled Tierra del Fuego is not shy about its ‘End of the World’ boast – it’s emblazoned onto anything that stands still for more than five seconds, from penguin-shaped pottery to all manner of nautical trinkets.
If, like ours, your legs are restless and your head a little fuzzy after a couple of days touring Uco Valley and Lujan in the car, nothing blasts the cobwebs away like a day in the saddle. And it’s a great taster of what the region has to offer for budget travellers. Read on for our top tips.
‘Porteño’ is more than just a geographical indicator, it’s a way of being. Porteños have their own slang, their own fashion, their own complex psyche and their own attitude. So if you want to ‘do’ porteño, you’ll need more than a Spanish dictionary and a smile.
Buenos Aires has the bright lights, Patagonia has the show-stopping scenery, Mendoza has the food and wine, but if it’s the beating heart of rural Argentina you’re longing for, you’ll find it on the country’s estancias.