11 Foodie Gifts & Non-Touristy Souvenirs You Can’t Leave Argentina Without
You have one day left in Buenos Aires and picking up a tango postcard for your friends and loved ones just isn’t going to cut it. Since the best gift you could ever give someone is something edible, we have come up with a list of the best foodie gifts you just can’t leave Argentine without.
Would you like to live the harvest (vendimia) in Mendoza, meet Bodega Argento, harvesting in one of our vineyard estates, enjoy a wine tasting and participate in the National Harvest Festival? Imagine all that, plus: eat at the best restaurants in Mendoza, stay at one of the most luxurious hotels in the city and share all the activities together with Argento team. Participate in this photo contest and if your photo achieves the most votes, you will be the winner of this fabulous prize, for you and a companion.
Argentines are known to drink mate, a tea-like infusion adopted from the Guarani people, but what some visitors may not know is that 19th century British immigrants brought with them the afternoon tea tradition, which developed with a local twist.
Way back when, in 1998, a student on my year abroad in Argentina, I went round to a friend’s house. She cooked, we might have smoked a cigarette, and then she offered me some green leaves, served up in a cup. Hoping it was some new kind of illegal substance I could boast about back home, it made me a little dizzy although I wasn’t hooked from the first sip. And as she patiently explained the origins of this drink to me, I suddenly realised that yerba mate wasn’t some illicit herbal secret, and that all the Argentines were at it…
Two weeks ago, I was walking towards London Bridge after work through Borough Market. People in the pubs spilled out on to the pavements to make the most of the warm air. I’d stopped in a pub on the way home with a couple of friends and we were in no hurry. Then I saw Porteña (tag line: Argentinian Street Food), and I was overwhelmed with memories (it doesn’t take a lot). We perched on one of the stools outside, ordered half a dozen empanadas (dos de carne, dos de pollo y dos de jamon y queso), a bottle of Malbec (Quilmes was on offer – obvio) and I was back in Buenos Aires…
Although the differences between natural, live and organic foods are not always clear due to people’s unfamiliarity with the concepts, rest assured that cafés, restaurants, markets and shops using these terms are trying to educate the pizza-and empanada-eating brigade to show that organic Argentine food exists, even if it isn’t stamped.
Buenos Aires. Meaty Mecca for overdosing on chargrilled cow. The capital of mate, of the mullet, and of dancing to the most melancholy music in the world. The only city in the world where staring at strangers, joining a picket line, feasting at midnight, multiple dog walking, drumming up drama, weekly therapy, and cheat nights…
There comes a time in everyone’s visit to Buenos Aires where they would turn to me and say: “Daniel, you basically live in New York/Paris/Barcelona/Madrid”. It is at this point that I would buy them a subte coin, descend down to the depths of the blue line and take them to Retiro.
‘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.
Ahh, the lomito sandwich. In Turkey they have a kebab; in England, well, they have the kebab too; in the US it’s a burger. In Argentina, it’s the lomito. It’s the fast food to go, it soaks up the alcohol, it’s a lunchtime comfort food and it’s a classic.