Argentina has talked about little else during the past week. There’s 24/7 coverage on the news channels, pages upon pages of articles in every newspaper (What does his old teacher think? What happened to his first girlfriend?). At every kiosco, his face looks back at you from the covers of Caras and Hola; congratulatory posters have been hastily thrown up in shop windows. Almost everyone has a story of how they once met him, received a blessing, or saw him on the Subte – or at least a family member or next-door neighbour has.
From its beginnings as a riverside settlement, to its present day status as one of the world’s largest cities 400 years later, Buenos Aires has fit an awful lot in. It’s been wealthy and glorious, it’s been battered and broke. Its life, as scientist Jared Diamond would say, has ben shaped by guns, germs and steel. Yet such is the city’s short, intense life, most of the influential buildings are still here to be seen and explored, the museums add essential detail, while the tombs of the country’s great, good and downright dastardly can still be seen in the great city of the dead: Recoleta Cemetery.
Organised by GAJO, a group of young Argentine chefs using local products to take their cuisine to a new level, Masticar was certainly the largest such event Buenos Aires has seen, with producers, food stands and wine tastings in abundance. Although no fixed date has been set for round two, now that summer is drawing to a close it can’t be far off. In the meantime, here’s the lowdown on where to get a farmers’ market experience in BA.
The term “New World” is a pretty intriguing concept when it comes to Argentine winemaking given that its history stretches back some four and a half centuries. As with much of the Americas, it’s a story that involves Spanish conquistadors, Catholic missionaries, European migrants and, more latterly, the coming of the railway. To put this into perspective, the English Tudor monarch King Henry VIII had only just died when the first vitis vinifera cuttings (the wine grape vine) were planted in what was to become Argentine soil.
Unlike other fashion weeks, Buenos Aires Fashion Week is open for one and all to attend with ticketed fashion shows (bar a select few invitation-only affairs in Paseo Alcorta). While this is a great opportunity for your inner fashionista to go forth and shine, it does mean that you have to contend with big crowds and long queues for the chance to see the handiwork of your favourite Argentine designers. To help you, The Real Argentina has put together a mini survival guide of top tips.
Granted, any walking tour of eateries requires an impressive predilection for gluttony and a stomach the size of which would, frankly, be a physiological anomaly. The eyes, as the idiom would suggest, are bigger than the tummy – and that’s exactly what this walking tour is: a feast for the eyes from which you can pick from a smorgasbord (a veritable All-You-Can-Eat buffet – a tenedor libre) whatever gastronomic delight takes your fancy.
There’s something about eating or drinking “al aire libre” (in the open air) that makes everything taste just a little bit better. Restaurant, café and bar goers in Buenos Aires have a special affinity for outdoor dining, whether high on a rooftop, secluded in a garden, relishing a flower-filled terrace, or people-watching on a tree-lined sidewalk. Make the most of the sweltering South American summer days by getting down and dirty with some outdoor dining in Buenos Aires.
If you had to define Carnival, you’d probably think of Rio de Janeiro, the masks of Venice, or perhaps a damp August bank holiday celebrated West Indian style in Notting Hill. But how does Argentina’s Carnaval, a national holiday that regained its status in 2010 after being banned during the dictatorship, kick up its heels? Here’s our guided tour to the glitter and the good times, which peaks over the bank holiday weekend on 11-12 February 2013.