Argentina Food Facts
Staples: Beef and Goat meats
Top Speciality Dish: Asado – a carnivorous barbeque unique to Argentina
Tastes: Sweet toothed, heavy and meaty rather than spicy
Remember to Bring: ‘As much as you can eat’ appetite!
Dulce de leche
Dulce de leche is a popular sweetener used in Argentinian cooking, often seen for sale all over the country in large glass jars. Made by boiling equal parts of milk and sugar it has a very sweet, caramel taste and has a consistency between honey and butter. It is loaded with calories and is a popular condiment for spreading on bread and sweetening drinks. Ice cream is of excellent quality in Argentina and Dulce De Leche is one of the most famous flavours. In the hot summer months cafes all over the country and in particular Buenos Aires serve Dulce De Leche ice cream to cool off in the intense heat.
This popular beverage is drunk through a long metal straw called a bombilla, out of a gourd full of mate leaves and boiling water. It is common to be offered a drink of mate during long waiting periods and especially during arduous land journeys. Considered an icebreaker in Argentina it’s considered impolite to refuse, so if you are offered some, take a sip and pass the gourd on to someone else. Many travellers buy their own mate gourd and find it an excellent way to make friends while travelling around the country.
These are small pastries of meat, cheese, sweet corn, and a hundred other fillings — are a common sight at parties and picnics, or as starters to a meal. A variation, the “empanada gallega” (Galician empanada), is a big, round meat pie made most commonly with tuna and mackerel (“caballa” in Spanish).
Argentinians love their meat, and the Asado, or Argentinian barbeque, is the way they like it best – grilled on a huge spit over a pit full of red hot coals. If you are invited to an Asado or decide to eat in a Parilla (BBQ restaurant), bring your appetite because the food is served in large portions and consists entirely of sausages, steaks, ribs with just a few grilled peppers on the side. Many Parillas are all you can eat for a fixed price so it might be wise to eat lightly beforehand. In the southern parts of the country the Asado uses goat meat instead of beef.
Download: The Story of… Beef
main image: By Gonzalo Rivero – Own work, GFDL