Steak, super-sweet desserts, chocolate and Malbec are the highlights of an Argentine dining experience at any time of year. But when Easter Sunday rolls around, you’ve got the perfect excuse to indulge even more. The Easter Bunny may not be making an appearance, but that just leaves more time to savour a special version of a classic Argentine Sunday – a long, lively lunch with family and friends, and a bottle or two of vino tinto. And before the main event, you’ve got 40 days to sample a variety of tradiciones de Pascua. Here’s a must-eat guide to Easter, Argentine-style.
It’s a well-known fact that some die-hard vegetarians have returned to the dark side after scenting the meaty whiff of a perfectly seared Argentine steak. Caught between righteous beliefs and the urge to just, try, a, little sliver of lomo (because you’re only in Argentina once, right?), many have fallen at the first hurdle when faced with a parrilla. But for those beef eaters who have no such qualms, how do you choose from the hundreds of steakhouses in Buenos Aires? Here’s our indispensable guide to steaks in the city.
The appetite-whetting sight and scent of an alfresco Argentine asado is enough to bring out the inner caveman in even the most sophisticated of metropolitan food lover. And nowhere is this more apparent than after a hard day’s wine tasting, out among the vines of Mendoza, as the first sizzle of meat hitting the grill sends a plume of smoky welcome into the crisp Andean air.
A traditional Argentine Sunday lunch is a two-course affair. The first course consists of white bread, sausages, chimichurri, black pudding, grilled cheese, chitterlings, sweetbreads, ribs, various steak cuts, potato salad and, if anyone has room for it, some dressed lettuce. The second course is fruit salad. Unless you’re a vegetarian or recovering from bariatric surgery, this is one of the world’s great meals.
In Buenos Aires, fitting in is a more complicated process than simply knowing your steak, wine and football, or becoming a pro at multiple-dog walking, staring and protesting. Here are some ways you can act, live and love like a local. If you follow them you might just avoid men on passing motorbikes hollering “Gringa!” (but probably not). Whether it’s their amigo, boss or total stranger, Argentines peck each other once on the right cheek to say hi and bye…
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.
Where do you stand on the cork versus screw cap debate? Perhaps, like several of the recent dinner guests around my kitchen table, you really don’t care, so long as the wines taste good and keep on flowing. Or maybe you are more in tune with the “natural is best” camp. So what are the facts lying behind both points of view?
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.
Argentina’s borders stretch from Antarctic waters in the south to Iguazú waterfalls amid the subtropical jungles of the northeast. Needless to say, within its boundaries, nearly all known foodstuffs can be grown or pastured, making for a rich cuisine.
As a Brit homesick for Argentina, it is undoubtedly the meat that I miss most (sure, friends and that, but mostly meat). But fear not: London is the place to find Argentinian restaurants that have the similar cuts, the same offal, and the perfect malbec to accompany it.