Competing to be crowned kings of the Campeonato Federal del Asado 2017. Under the shadow of the Obelisco in the centre of 9 de Julio, more than 350,000 people thronged the smokey, meat smelling streets as Argentina’s 23 provinces and hosts – Buenos Aires – represented at the second annual BBQ contest.
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.
There aren’t many days on the calendar that offer an excuse to toast the old man. Every encounter deserves a special wine. Tell me how you celebrate, I’ll tell you what to uncork. Father’s day.
Mooching around Mendoza’s vineyards is never a bad idea, but head there at the end of summer and you’ll be lucky enough to catch the cultural highlight of the Mendocino calendar – la Fiesta de la Vendimia – Mendoza’s grape harvest festival.
You’ve got a favourite corner restaurant in Buenos Aires, haven’t you? Whichever neighbourhood you live in or have stayed in, there’s surely one establishment, a restorán de la esquina, that’s captured your heart. Here, The Real Argentina visits four emblematic restaurant esquinas in Buenos Aires.
Wintertime in Argentina – cosy up inside with a large glass of Malbec and serve yourself a warming bowl of locro, the hearty meat and corn-based stew of northern Argentina. Locro is no everyday meal. Almost a national dish, locro is a hearty, yellowy-orange concoction most significantly linked with the 25th May celebrations of Argentine independence.
MENDOZA – Huddled together in small groups, mentors rub backs and mop their wards’ brows, sommeliers easily distinguished from other revellers at a cocktail party thanks to perfectly pressed black suits and aprons. The tension and nerves crackled like an Andean electric storm around the Park Hyatt Mendoza hotel as 60 competitors from around the world chewed down cuticles, waiting to find out whether they’d earned one of 15 coveted places in the Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World Argentina 2016 semifinal.
In part five of The Real Argentina’s somms series, we meet Paz Levinson, the second of two Argentine sommeliers competing in the A.S.I. Concours du Meilleur Sommelier du Monde 2016 (A.S.I. Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World). Currently ranked number one in both the Americas and Argentina, and the only Argentine to qualify as an Advanced Sommelier from the UK’s Court of Master Sommeliers, Paz will be going for a titles hat-trick at the world championship, which is being held in Mendoza for the first time on 15-20 April 2016.
One of two Argentine sommeliers who will compete in the A.S.I. Concours du Meilleur Sommelier du Monde (A.S.I. Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World), we meet Martín Bruno, sommelier at top Buenos Aires restaurant Tegui, in part four of The Real Argentina’s somms series. Martín spills the beans on how he’s been diligently preparing for this prestigious competition, which is being held in Mendoza for the first time on 15-20 April 2016.
Sixty competitors, five days, one title; the world’s best sommelier.
Although the immediate thought is ‘football’ when mentioning Argentina and World Cup in the same breath, the world’s fifth-largest wine producer is about to host a very different championship next month: the 15th A.S.I. Concours du Meilleur Sommelier du Monde (Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World).