Argentina’s early economic success was fuelled by the rich agricultural soils of the Pampas region. This led to vast production of a wide variety of produce and has resulted in the country boasting a rich cuisine. The pampas has always been famed as an ideal location for the rearing of cattle. The plain like topography, rich fertile soils and an extended grass growing season has resulted in the best beef products in the world being made available for the country’s restaurants and dining establishments. Argentina’s Steaks have a fine international reputation. The country has one of the highest meat consumptions in the world and the best places to eat a steak is at a “Parrilla” which is a steak house, and the “asado”, which is a barbecue. The cows in the country are raised entirely on grass which leads to a healthy cut of beef with little fat.
The steaks that are served tend to be really thick and tender. They come served with local sauces with one of the most famous being the Chimichurri sauce. This contains parley, garlics, shallots and vinegar, and has a real Mediterranean taste to it. There are many regional dishes that are influenced by the area’s climate. In the North-West of the country Locro stew is popular and contain corn, beans, potatoes and pumpkin. This at times resembles a soup and is a particular favorite in the Andes Mountains. Empanadas stuffed with meat and potatoes are also popular in this area of the country.
The European influence on the country’s cuisine is clear to see. In Patagonia Lamb is more popular than beef. This is due to the fact that sheep are easier to raise in the harsher climate than the cows and even goat is enjoyed in the region. Both these meats tend to be cooked over an open fire in a technique known as “asado a la estaca”. Patagonia is also the area where most fish is eaten in the country, caught both from the rivers and the sea. Shrimp, crab and trout are all popular dishes but the real treat is the smoked salmon, and the locals have used this method of cooking in order to prepare wild boar, deer and lamb.
Throughout the country there is an abundance of vegetables. The potato is widely consumed in all of its different forms. It can be mashed, roasted baked and of course deep fried, with the French fry being just as popular in the country as it is all over the world. The cassava is enjoyed all over the country and can be enjoyed as a separate component being eaten with foods such as empanadas, or can be cooked alongside other ingredients such as with cheese when forming a type of bread (chipa).
Pasta is also enjoyed widely across the nation. All forms are eaten especially in the larger cities and the Italian influence is also seen in the numerous ice cream parlors that have sprung up everywhere. The dessert is always a special feature of an Argentinians meal. Dulce de leche covers, or is inserted in, a wide variety of cakes, crepes and pastries. This is produced by heating sweetened milk that thickens and changes color.
Finally Argentinians love to drink the country’s fine wines alongside eating their meals. The vines were originally brought across from Spain and the region is now the fifth largest wine producer in the world. Since the 1990’s the wine growers have concentrated on quality and not quantity and now exports are flourishing. The Mendoza region at the base of the Andes produces the most and the best quality wines. Any tourist visiting Argentina will always enjoys the range and numbers of different eateries that are available in the country.