What to Eat in Argentina: My Five Favorite Moments

I’m back from my press trip to Argentina, where I was the guest of the Bodegas Escorihuela Gascon and Alamos wineries. More on the wines and wineries soon, but first, a few food highlights:

1. The Beef. Yes, we’ve heard all about the grass-fed beef, and yes, it’s all its cracked up to be: Every cut I had was shot through with flavor–I swear you could taste both the animal and the pampas (the treeless grass plains) in every bite–complemented by smoky flavor of the fire, of course.

Argentine Rib-Eyes, ready for the grill.

2. Dulce de Leche: That wonderfully caramelized sweetened condensed milk. I learned that the Argentines use it not only for dessert, but as a spread on just about anything: Think of it as their answer to peanut butter. Milky, smooth, and sweet; I particularly enjoyed it on fry breads (sopapillas) in the morning.

Sopapilla with Dulce de Leche. I want this for breakfast every day.

Oh, and let’s get one thing straight. The first word in Dulce de Leche is pronounced “DOOL-say” (not DUHL-chay, as I had mistakenly pronounced it before this trip, mixing up Italian and Spanish pronunciations).

3. Chimichurri: It’s hard to order any grilled meal without a refreshing dose of this condiment, made with fresh herbs, oil, vinegar, and whatever else the cook wants to throw in. Since it was summer down there, one fabulous prep—discovered at the fabulous La Tupina Bistro in Tupungato—paired a chimichurri of refreshing green grapes with trout.

A beautiful chimichurri with grapes, eventually served over trout. This will be in my summer food repertoire, for sure.

4. More meat. Most every meal consisted of Asado: Fabulous grilled meats of some sort. Halfway through the trip, I realized that no journalist on the trip was even remotely a vegetarian. I wondered if the organizers surreptitiously hand-picked carnivores in advance. A few more photos of meat, meat, meat.

Yes, I ate it. No, I don’t know what it was. Yes, it was delicious. (Actually, I did find out that it was goat–and the best goat I’ve ever had, at that.)

Beef served sous-vide at the amazing Cabana Las Lilas in Argentina.

5. Empanadas. These stuffed savory pastries are as ubiquitous as olives in Italy, and so often served the minute you walk through the door. They seem to say, “welcome–I want to put out my best for you.” We had a fun empanada-making lesson; still, I think it’s like the fruit pies of the Midwestern grandmother: It’s all about genetics and practice. Mastering the art is in your blood and the day-to-day way you live your life.

A true pro at empanada making.

A rank newbie to empanada dough-making

Ah, Empanadas!

All for now….More to come. And I’d love to hear anyone else’s food experiences in Argentina. Post here or on my Facebook page.

 

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