A cultural blend of Mediterranean and indigenous cooking, Argentine fare has a distinctly European heritage. Early explorers brought with them cattle, poultry and vegetables, snubbing local ingredients in favour of provisions from home. Even the quintessentially Argentine dish, the empanada, was a gift from Spain: a beef and vegetable filled pastry, baked in the oven and eaten as a snack or starter for any meal.
But the expansive landscape of the country holds delights of its own. The rich grasses of the Pampas, ideal for cattle grazing, provide Argentina’s most famous contribution to world cuisine: beef.
‘It’s impossible to talk about Argentine cuisine without mentioning their other national treasure, dulce de leche. Sticky, thick caramel made from condensed milk, it’s smothered on everything, from alfajores to pancakes to ice cream.’
Chorizo, lomo, cuadril or vacio – however you like your steak cut, there’s only one way to cook it. Grilling meat over an open flame is a way of life in Argentina. From the smoky campsite of the gaucho to the kitchens of the most prestigious restaurants, the asado, or barbecue, is a permanent fixture on any menu.
Eaten with friends and family, the traditional Sunday asado can feature anything from sweetbreads to sausages, beef ribs to sheep intestines – but it’s the steak that remains the star of the show.
Served hot from the flames, sprinkled with salt, topped with chimichurri, and served with a glass of Malbec – this is the heart of Argentine cooking.