Friday, November 12, 2010
Argentina, con una superficie de 2.180.400 km2, es el octavo país más grande del mundo. Ubicado en el hemisferio sur del continente americano, el país limita con Bolivia y Paraguay al norte, Brasil al nord-este, Uruguay y el océano Atlánico al este, y Chile al oeste.
Argentina se divide en 23 provincias. La ciudad de BA se ubica en la Provincia de Buenos Aires.
La ciudad de BA es la capital del país. Se extiende sobre grandes llanuras, y su superficie es de 202 km2.
El Río de la Plata y el Riachuelo son sus límites naturales al este y al sur. La avenida periférica General Paz delimita la capital federal del Conurbano Bonaerense, donde hbitan la mayoría de los trabajadores de la ciudad.
Buenos Aires, también llamada Capital Federal, está dividia politicamente en 48 barrios.
El clima en Buenos Aires es agradable todo el año. La media anual de temperatura es de 18º Celsius. Los días de calor y frío intensos no son muy comunes, lo que permite salir a pasear tranquilamente por la ciudad en cualquier época del año.
El mes más frío es Julio. Aunque no hay heladas, es indispensable abrigarse con un pulóver o sweater de lana, una chaqueta o saco, y una bufanda.
En invierno las temperaturas son moderadas durante el día, pero descienden considerablemente por la noche (hasta los 3ºC). La nieve no es habitual. La caída de nieve más reciente fue en el año 2007. La única otra caída de nieve se registro en 1918.
En verano el calor es muy húmedo. Las mañanas son calurosas, los mediodías y las tardes muy calidos con temperaturas que llegan a los 35ºC. En la noche, las temperaturas suelen descender un poco. Utilizamos prendas frescas y livianas.
Las lluvias son presentes sobretodo en el otoño (de Marzo a Junio) y en primavera (de Septiembre a Diciembre)
Aunque las jornadas de primavera y otoño son muy agradables, las temperaturas por la mañana y la noche son frescas.
Las previsiones meteorológicas son brindadas por el Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (www.smn.gov.ar)
HIGIENE Y SALUD
No es necesario darse vacuna alguna para ingresar a la ciudad, ya que BA es una ciudad segura desde el punto de vista sanitario. El agua corriente es potable.
Los Hospitales Públicos están a disposición de los turistas y disponen de un servicio gratuito de urgencias 24 hs. Los profesionales de la salud son confiables y reconocidos a nivel mundial por sus competencias.
El servicio de emergencia y ambulancia, conocido como SAME, puede ser contactado por teléfono, llamando gratuitamente al 107
Sunday, November 7, 2010
L’Argentine, avec sa superficie de 2.180.400 km2, est le huitième pays le plus grand au monde. Situé dans l’hémisphère sud du continent américain, le pays confine avec la Bolivie et le Paraguay au nord, le Brésil au nord-est, l’Uruguay et l’océan Atlantique à l’est, et le Chili à l’ouest.
L’Argentine est divisée en 23 provinces. La ville de BA est située dans la Provincia de Buenos Aires.
La ville de BA est la capitale du pays. Elle s’étend sur de larges plaines, et sa superficie est 202 km2.
Le Río de La Plata et le Riachuelo sont les limites naturelles à l’est et au sud de la ville. L’avenue périphérique de Buenos Aires est la General Paz, qui sépare la capitale fédérale du Conurbano Bonaerense, où habitent la plupart des gens qui travaillent dans la ville.
Buenos Aires, également appelée Capital Fédérale, est administrativement divisée en 48 quartiers.
Le climat est doux toute l’année à Buenos Aires. La moyenne de température annuelle est de 18°C. Les journées de chaleur et de froid intenses sont plutôt rares, ce qui permet de se promener dans la ville à n’importe quelle époque de l’année.
Le mois le plus froid est le mois de juillet. Bien qu’il n’y ait pas de gelées, il est indispensable de prévoir un pull de laine, un manteau et une écharpe.
En hiver, les températures sont modérées pendant la journée, mais elles descendent considérablement pendant la nuit (jusqu’à 3°C). Les chutes de neige ne sont pas habituelles à BA. La plus récente date du 9 juillet 2007. La seule autre chute de neige ayant été enregistrée remonte à l’année 1918.
En été, la chaleur est humide. Les matinées sont chaudes, les midis et les premières heures de l’après-midi sont très chaudes avec des températures de 35°C. La nuit, les températures baissent légèrement. On met alors des vêtements frais et légers.
Les pluies se présentent surtout en automne (de mars à juin) et au printemps (de septembre à décembre).
Bien que les journées de printemps et d’automne soient douces et agréables, les températures du matin et du soir sont fraiches.
Les prévisions météorologiques sont fournies par le Service Météorologique National (www.smn.gov.ar)
HYGIÈNE ET SANTÉ
Il n’est pas nécessaire de se faire vacciner avant d'entrer dans la ville, car BA est sûre du point de vue sanitaire. L’eau courante est potable.
Les Hôpitaux Publics sont à la disposition des touristes et offrent un service gratuit d'urgences 24h/24. Les professionnels de la santé sont fiables et reconnus au niveau mondial pour leurs compétences.
Le service d’ambulance et urgences, connu sous le nom de SAME, est contacté par téléphone en appelant gratuitement le 107.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Traditional Beverages & Infusions
The submarine glasses are unique: tall and with the top part wider than the base. And they come with a special spoon, longer than usual.
Having it with “medialunas”, “tostados” or “churros” is a very good idea!
It was the typical infusion of colonial times. That is why it is mostly drunk for national public holidays like 9th, July and 25th, May.
Its Spanish origin brings us back to the immigrant influence in our culture.
An inseparable friend of this drink is the “churro”. You can see it advertised in bars and cafés: “Chocolate and 3 churros”. An Argentinean secret: dip the churro in the chocolate!
It was brought into our lands by the European immigrants. They have left such a big influence here, that in our slang we use the word "birra" (beer in Italian language).
In 1880 Emilio Bieckert, coming from France, began to sale his beer and became the first Argentinean manufacturer.
In 1852 the German Otto Bemberg, settle down in Quilmes city, in the Buenos Aires province. In 1890 he started the beer business launched the famous beer that would take the name of that city: Quilmes, considered by many people "the Argentinean beer".
Since the 90s, the foreign or imported brands became more popular: Brahma, Isembeck, Warsteiner, Schneider, Budweiser, Heineken and Stella Artois.
The oldest brewery "artesanal" is Antares, located at Mar del Plata city, in the Buenos Aires province. After some time, it will set up its pubs and bars in Buenos Aires city (Palermo neighbourhood) and in the Argentinean countryside. It is a very good option to know something else of Argentina. (http://www.cervezaantares.com/)
For draught beers the sizes or measures are:
Balón: it is a round glass, known also as “Norwegian glass”, of which quantity is between 300cc and 500cc.
Chopp: it is the typical German beer mug. It holds about 330cc.
Liso: it is a thin and tall glass, very common in our pizzerias. Usually, when you order a bottled beer it is served in this type of glass.
Pinta (pint): it is an English measure and it holds about 500 cc. It also exist the “media pinta” (half pint).
For the bottled beers you can find the Porrón (bottle of 330cc), a three quarters one (between 660 and 750cc) or a litre one.
* When you order a beer in a bar or restaurant, it is usually served with some salted peanuts or potato chips.
Being important coffee drinkers is another influence of the Spanish and Italian immigrants. The habit of going to have a coffee with friends, fellows or neighbors arrived with the boats that brought the immigrants.
The city Cafés have worked as a meeting point for every field artists: musicians, tango singers, writers, painters. They were born and they have grown in these Cafés. They were the bohemian and literary Cafés of BA. Lot of tango songs has the name of one of these Cafés or their lyrics tell a story that happens in one of them. Maybe, in those days, the landscape in a Café it is different: there are notebooks, Wi-Fi connection, cell phones on the tables, the Cafés are located inside bookshops or big malls ... but their essence is still the same. Seating on a coffee table and see the city life from the window, talking with the waiter that already know what to bring us when we ask "lo de siempre" (the usual), reading the morning newspaper, just before going into the office, share a "feca" (word for coffee in our slang) with friends ... All this, is and it will be one of the little pleasures of a "porteño" life.
For the Argentineans, the Cafés are part of our daily life. Not only for a Buenos Aires inhabitant, also for people from the countryside. We can say they are like a second home ... a place for a meeting with our friends, family, clients or oneself...
- Cappuccino: it is an espresso with frothy milk. The “Capuccino al Italiano” (Italian capuccino) comes with whipped cream, grated chocolate and cinnamon. For summer, we have "frapuccino": ice, chocolate and caramel. It can has honey or "dulce de leche".
- Expreso (espresso): boiling water and ground coffee. It has a stronger flavor.
- Café irlandés (irish coffee): it has some whiskey.
- Café con leche (regular coffee or white coffee): same quantity of coffee and milk.
A typical Argentinean breakfast that you can see advertised in bars and cafés is the: "Café con leche and 3 medialunas".
- Cortado: black coffee "cut" (cortado) with a dash of milk. It is known in other places as "macchiato coffee".
- Lágrima (which means "tear"): it is the opposite way of the "cortado", hot milk with a coffee tear (just a little). It is known in other places as "latte macchiato".
- Descafeinado (decaffeinated coffee, decaf): it is not very popular between us. And it may be not offered in some bars or cafés.
- Solo (black coffee): small and strong.
- Americano (American): large black coffee.
In the morning, in the afternoon, after having lunch, before going to sleep ... the "mate" has no time neither reason.
It is a typical infusion of Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and the south of Brazil.
We call "mate" all the beverage in general, but also "mate" is the name of the container where we put the herb that creates the infusion. This container must be made of pumpkin or gourd. Anyway, it can be drunk in other types of materials like wood (more typical of Uruguay).
The herb of this beverage it is called "yerba mate". It is a plant that grows in the north-east of Argentina. This herb was consumed in old times by the Guaraníes Indians who used to live in this region of the country. They believed that it was a gift from their god Tupá to keep them in good health and vigorously. The Indians chewed the leaves, like a chewing-gum, or they put them in a gourd where they pour inside hot water. They drink it through a cane.
When the Jesuits occupied the Argentinean north-east region, and began to create their missions, discovered the “yerba mate” plant. Later, they started with the process to cultivate it and sale it abroad.
The "yerba" has powder, leaves and small sticks that are the result of the plant drying and grinding.
Today, we buy the "yerba mate" in any grocery store or supermarket in small bags or packet. There is a huge variety of sizes and a great number of brands and styles: with more sticks than leaves, with less powder, light, diet or flavoured (lemon, orange).
A very important element to drink the mate is the "bombilla".
The "bombilla" is a drinking metal straw that has lots of tiny holes in the bottom part so that you don't drink the leaves, it works as a filter.
The water that it is poured in a mate must be heated up between 70/80 Celsius degrees
(158/176 F°). It never has to be boiled. If it is boiled, the herb gets burned very quickly, so after drinking two or three "mates" we have to change the herb. Also, it loses its properties.
How we can notice that we have to change the "yerba"? When the little sticks begin to float in the water the mate is coming to an end. Someone would say: "Está lavado" (literally, it means: it is washed). At that time we have to throw out the old herb and put inside the gourd the new one.
The "ronda del mate" (the mate circle).
The fact of sitting down in a circle to drink the mate makes easier its circulation. This is a tradition that comes from the countryside, where the "gauchos" sat down around the bonfire.
In this group of people the "cebador" has the most important job: to make that every person has the mate in due time and form. The "cebador" is always the same person. He or she is the one that serves the mate. The word comes from "cebar" that is an expression that we use for serving a "mate". The word "cebar" means to keep the mate all the time in appetizing and pleasant conditions.
The "cebador" is also the one who has to remember which person does not want any more mates. The person that does not want any more mate, when he or she finishes the last one, has to give the mate back to the "cebador" and say to him or her: "gracias" (thank you).
The mate is an infusion that we do not find in any restaurant or bar menu because it is an infusion that we have it mostly at home, in parks or squares, in a picnic, on the beach, in the car or a bus during long trips.
Why? Because it is a social drink: we share the same gourd, everybody drinks through the same "bombilla”. This is something that invites people to conversation and thinking.
Do you want some mates? - It is what we ask when someone arrives at home. And after that, it would be: With or without sugar? A good answer would be: Like you have it!
That is why nowadays there is a fashion: the mate-bar, a place where we can go to drink some mates!
We can drink also the mate alone, without any company. Usually when we are hungry or while we are studying or working.
Here in Argentina, we say that someone is already grown up when it takes his or her first mate alone.
* In summer time it is common to drink “tereré”. The only difference is that we pour frost water or very cold orange juice. We put a small ice cube inside the “yerba” also.
* For winter, we have “mate de leche” (milk mate). Instead of hot water we pour hot milk with sugar.
* Other option is the “mate cocido”. Once the “yerba mate” is boiled in water, it is put in a tea strainer. It is more common to find it in tea bags. The “mate cocido” we can drink eat hot or cold, just like the ice tea.
* Inside the “yerba mate” we can add: sugar, honey, cinnamon, coffee beans, orange or lemon peel, etc.
“… Drinking mate is more than drinking a liquid through a metal straw, it is a feeling, a sensation, a tradition, a company …”
Drinking wine in Argentina dates back when the first grapes were brought to America by the colonizers. In the last years, our country has won a very important place in the international market revealing many varieties and wineries.
It is the best partner for an “asado”, a cold meat or cuts “picada”, or some good home-made pasta. Anyway, it is also very common to drink the wine alone, just for shearing a good time with family and friends.
The wine was, it is and it will be part of the Argentinean culture.
The wine-making region in Argentina is located between the 22° and 42° South latitude, at the foothills of the Andean Mountain Range over 2,400 km. From the Province of Salta to the Province of Río Negro, the variety of climates and soils makes each region unique.
The regions dedicated to vine cultivation are arid and dry. Its low level of rain and humidity it is very important for the grape’s health. The abundant sunny days and the region thermal amplitude favor the grain a good maturity and a concentration of bouquet and color.
The highest soils quality and the wineries professionalism make Argentina one of the first wine making countries in the world, in spite of its young wine history.
Red Wine Varieties (vino tinto):
* Cabernet Sauvignon
Due to its great capacity of adaptation to all kinds of weather, it is considered the king of red wines. Its grape, native from Burdeaux, France, produces an acidity and rough wine. It is grown along the entire Argentinean wine route.
Originally grown in the Southeast of France, this grape has turned into the premier Argentinean wine. It has found here the most propitious ecological features for its development. Argentinian malbec has become worldwide known and has been awarded well-deserved medals in enological contests. In the area of Maipú, Mendoza, it reaches its highest development. It produces wines of pleasant taste, medium body and an intense purple color.
This grape of 3,000 years old was originally grown in Shiraz, Persia and introduced later in Europe. Another version assures it comes from Southern France. It is a light and fresh wine with an intense bouquet.
In our country, it is gaining remarkable acceptance in the Province of San Juan.
This Spanish grape is one of the most widespread varieties in Argentina. It produces wines of medium alcoholic content, well-balanced and aromatic. It grows mostly in Mendoza province.
This grape was originally grown in the Southwest of France. It develops very well in the Province of Río Negro, Mendoza and San Juan. It is generally used as a blend in the making of Cabernet Sauvignon, to which it provides a soft touch of roundness to harmonize its harshness.
* Pinot Noir
Originally from Bourgogne, France, it produces an extremely soft, fresh and fruity wine. As this grape requires cold weather to manage good results, in our country, it grows in Mendoza and in Patagonia. This wine is exported or used to make sparkling wines.
It is called the queen of white grapes. It is the main French white variety. Because of its bouquet of fresh fruits and flowers, and its balanced flavor, some people say that this wine consolidated the introduction of ladies in the wine world.
In Argentina it is used as the base for most sparkling wines. It is mostly developed in the Province of Mendoza and the Alto Valle del Río Negro.
It is the representative Argentinean grape in the international market. Originally, it comes from Malvasia, in the Mediterranean area. Its recognition is the result of wines produced in the Valley of Cafayate, in Salta. The microclimate of this area gives the grapevine an exceptional development. Wines are fruity and tasty, with a long aftertaste.
Originally grown in Southwestern France, it generally produces a dry fresh wine, with remarkable acidity. In our country, it gives excellent results in the Mendoza province.
Grown in Southeastern France, in that area it is attacked by a fungus that causes the natural grape sugars become highly concentrated. This effect enables to produce sweet and creamy wines. Outside its place of origin, it is used to produce varietal wines. This grape of cold areas is grown in two Argentinean regions: the Valley of Río Negro and the Valley of Uco in Mendoza province.
Its wines are dry, full-bodied and with a fruit taste and an interesting touch of honey.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Argentinean Bakery & Patisserie
The Argentineans, we have bread with almost all the meals!
"We can not be lack of bread at the table” it would say my grandmother, referring to the fact that we can never be lack of food at home.
The bread is always in an "asado", it goes with the "picadas" and when the "pastas" are prepared with tomato sauce, or a meat is prepared with any sauce, it is typical to "dip the bread" or to "clean the plate with a small piece of bread".
- The "pan Francés" (French bread): this is the baguette. We also call it "flauta" or "flautita" (flute or little flute)
- The "mignon": it is like a baguette, but less crusty.
- The "pebete": it is also called "pan de Viena" (Vienna bread): it is a little sweet. Ideal for sandwiches. A classic Argentinean sandwich: ham and cheese pebete.
- The "pan de campo" (country bread): it is crusty outside, with a dry and less spongy crumb inside. It is very good to eat it when it is still warm, freshly baked.
- The "figazza" or "figacita": it is a circular shape bread made with animal fat or butter.
- The "pan Árabe" (Arab bread): it is the pita bread, with no crumb
- The "pan de salvado" or "integral": whole-grain bread mostly made of bran.
BIZCOCHITOS DE GRASA (fat) and CUERNITOS
They are the savoury option for any mateada (reunion where we drink mate. It can be for breakfast or for tea time).
The "bizcochitos" are made with very simple dough made of flour, yeast, salt and fat cow. They are cut in a round shape, like small cakes, and baked in the oven.
Some dough strips are placed over this jelly filling, making a squared surface or rhombus.
Once it is done, we baked in the oven.
Some theories say that it comes from Italy. Some others that it is a version of a Swiss pie made of raspberry jelly, of which dough has several spices, especially cinnamon.
A “churro” is made by fried dough. It has the shape of a little stick and it is dusted with sugar. They can be filled with "dulce de leche". The most delicious ones are covered with chocolate!
The "churros" were created in Spain and they were much disseminated in several Hispanic countries. In Argentina it is so popular that it became one of its traditional pastries. Its combination with hot chocolate is the speciality of several bars and cafes of Buenos Aires.
History says that some Spanish shepherds have invented the "churro" hundred of years ago. They had fried their bread in a star-shape, cooking totally the inside part and leaving the outside crusty.
The name of "churro" it is because a type of sheep that lives in Castilla, Spain. The horn of this sheep has the shape of the "churro".
TORTA FRITAS and PASTELITOS
Once fried, they are covered with sugar or syrup.
You have to eat them freshly made… but wait till the jelly inside gets cold!
It is very traditional to have them for public holidays like the 25th, May and the 9th, July.
The "tortas fritas" (literally: fried cakes) are typical fried pastries and a good company for a “mate” infusion.
They were created in the Argentinean country. The rainy days hindered the farm works outdoors. So the lady owner of the house made the “tortas fritas” to entertain his husband, who could not go out to work. Also, its ingredients low cost make them very popular. That is why they are associated by the people with rainy days.
It is a dough made of flour, water, salt and fat. It is cut in small buns, giving them the shape of a small cake. They are fried in fat animal (pork or beef). Once they are fried, they are dusted with sugar.
The best way to eat them is when they are still warm!
FACTURAS and MEDIALUNAS (croissants or crescents)
"I take the facturas " it is a typical phrase of an Argentinean when he or she is invited someone home to drink some mate (see the mate explanation at the section "Traditional Beverages & Infusions").
What are the "facturas"?
They are several types of sweet pastries that can be filled with "dulce de leche", "dulce de membrillo" (quince jelly) or "crema pastelera" (pastry cream), dusted with white, black or powdered sugar.
The “facturas” are made with a sweet and fluffy, spongy dough made of butter or animal grease. They are coated with caramel.
The most popular facturas are:
• Medialunas de grasa (fat) or de manteca (butter) - they are like sweet croissants or crescents. They can be filled with ham and cheese like a sandwich, giving the "medialunas de jamon y queso".
• Vigilante (guard) - it is the same dough but made in an elongated shape. They can have quince jelly and/or pastry cream.
• Tortitas negras (black small cakes) - the same dough but circular. They are covered with black sugar.
• Palmeritas (little palm tree) - they are made by puff pastry, with the shape of a heart.
• Berlinesas (Berliners) - we called them "bolas de fraile" (balls’ monk) or ironically "suspiros de monja" (nun’s sigh).
• Cañoncitos (small cannons) - it is a puff pastry filled with "dulce de leche".
Some of these names were created by anarchist bakers who mocked the different power classes.
The "cañoncito" or the "bomba de crema" (cream bomb) were called like that to ridicule the army, the "bolas de fraile" or "suspiros de monja" to ridicule the church, and the "vigilante" to ridicule the police.
ALFAJORES and CONITOS
The "conito de dulce de leche" (dulce the leche little cone) it is a traditional Argentinean sweet. It is called like that because of its cone shape. Its base is a sweet cookie. Over this cookie there is a tower of “dulce de leche” covered with melted chocolate.
There are cones made of black and white chocolate.
Although, the "alfajor" has more than 130 years of honourable Argentinean tradition, it is an Arabians’ invention. It was brought into our country by the Spanish immigrants.
Anyway, there is no country that eats so many "alfajores" like us or has so many varieties: the Argentineans, we have 6 millions of "alfajores" per day!
An "alfajor" is made of two or more sweet cookies (baked dough) separated one from each other with a filling: marmalade, jam, “dulce de leche”, mousse, coffee cream, nutella cream, etc.
They can have a black or white chocolate coating, or also some icing or powdered sugar on it.
Depending on the amount of cookies they have, the "alfajores" can be "simples" (two cookies, a filling in the middle and a coating) or "triples" (three cookies, two fillings - that can be made different - and a coating).
Among the "alfajores regionales" we find:
* The "cordobes" (from Cordoba province): it is filled with fruit jams or marmalades.
* The "santafesino" (from Santa Fe province): it is made with three puff pastries cookies sticked with a lot of "dulce de leche" and glazed.
* The "tucumano" (from Tucuman province): it has two crisp cookies filled with a jam of cane sugar.
Other classical "alfajor" is the cornstarch one: "afajores de maicena". The cookies are made with maicena (cornstarch). It is filled with "dulce de leche" and covered with grated coconut.
The "rogel" is an "alfajor cake" of Argentina. It is also called "alfajor santafesino". It is made by several layers of crisp dough, separated one from each other with "dulce de leche", and covered with Italian meringue.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Traditional Cuisine & Dishes
Even though it is a typical dish of Paraguayan gastronomy it became very popular in the regions of the northeast of Argentina (in the borders with Paraguay), and with the pass of time, it arrived at the big capital city: Buenos Aires. Besides, it already existed in time of “guaraníes”, the indigenous or natives that used to live in the lands that today are part of both countries.
The “chipá” is a variety of bread made with manioc flour, milk, cheese, eggs and butter; from which are formed little balls. The lightness of the manioc starch, thinly milled, gives it a special texture and allows the melted cheese master the flavour. Occasionally, anise seeds can be added.
It is a hearty thick stew popular all along the Andes mountain range. It has been prepared by the different native Indian tribes, leaving on these lands at the time of the Spanish conquest. Its origin dates before the Spanish colonial times.
The pre-Hispanic people based their diet on sweet corn, bean and potato.
The defining ingredients are corn, meat (usually beef, but sometimes beef jerky or chorizo), and vegetables like onion, beans, squash or pumpkin. The starch in these ingredients gives the dish a consistency of a cream. Its cooking over a low heat takes several hours. A red hot sauce made from red peppers and paprika is served on the side.
It is mainly eaten in winter. It is a typical and local dish to celebrate the national holidays like 25th, May (the May Revolution) and 9th, July (Date of Independence).
It is a typical stew of the Argentinean North West, an extraordinary sweet-sour combination of beef, vegetables and fruits. The fruits and vegetables dominate the meat, which is cut into small pieces like cubes. The meat is added to a pan with fried chillies. We add to this hot water and leave it boil for about one hour. And know comes the rest of ingredients.
The sweetness comes from peaches, raisins and a dash of sugar. Carrots and yams or sweet potatoes add sweetness too. The others are all local south-American vegetables: tomatoes, corn and potatoes. The mixture always has the consistency of a broth.
The word “carbonada” is because this stew has to be cooked till the log of the fire is “carbonizado” (charred).
The meat is very tender because it is cooked in boiling water, and the mixture of ingredients gives its peculiar flavour.
MIGA SANDWICH (bread crumb)
The “sandwich de miga” is similar to the British “tea sandwich”, but bigger! Also, it is compared with the “club sandwich”.
It is made of a white bread with the crust cut off. It is unique, and typical of my country.
There are simples (two slices of bread and in the middle the ingredient) or triples (another slice of bread in the middle – so three in total- , make two spaces where to put different ingredients).
The slices of bread are spread with butter or mayonnaise, so the ingredients can be stick to the bread.
There is an endless variety of ingredients to fill a “sandwich de miga”, that can be just one or be combined: ham and cheese, prosciutto and cheese, tomato, lettuce, chopped egg, salami, nuts, anchovy, tuna, sweet corn, Roquefort cheese, olives, palm hearts, pineapple, etc.
A very Argentinean typical version of this sandwich is the “tostado” (toasted).
A “sandwich de miga” toasted till the slices of bread are brown and crunchy.
Generally they are filled with ham and cheese, which is melted easily.
It is very popular to have it for breakfast or tea time with “café con leche” or “submarino” (have a look at the section Typical Infusions and Drinks).
At Rosario city, in Santa Fe province, and some cities of the countryside, this type of sandwich it is called “carlitos”.
The "milanesa" is a beef steak coated in breadcrumbs and egg. You can make it fried or baked. The typical combination it is with "papas fritas" (French-fried potatoes).
You can also find the "milanesa" as a filling of a sandwich.
In our slang we call it "milanga".
Usually, we prepare them with the followings bovine cuts: nalga (beef round), peceto (eyeround), cuadrada (bottom round), lomo (loin), cuadril (rump).
We prepare also "chicken milanesas". If we make them with hindquarter they are called "milanesas de pollo", and if they are prepared with the breast ("pechuga") they are called "supremas".
There are different types of “milanesas”:
Milanesa "a caballo" (on horse): it is made of veal and with two fried eggs on it.
Milanesa "napolitana" (Neapolitan): it is prepared like a pizza: tomato sauce covered with ham and melted mozzarella cheese. This variety was created in a restaurant of Buenos Aires called La Napolitana or Napoli.
Milanesa "a la Suiza" (Switzerland): it is covered with béchamel sauce, pepper and melted cheese.
PASTAS & PIZZAS
One of the most important influences that the Italian immigrants have left in our country it was in gastronomy. Italian dishes, which were adapted to our culture to make them very Argentinean.
Pizzas that are typically Argentinean:
the "pizza canchera" or "de cancha" (only the dough and a bit of tomato sauce), the "pizza or fugazetta rellena" (filled with ham and cheese, with onions on it), the "pizza por metro" (it is made with a rectangular shape, so you can serve it by metre), the "pizza a la parrilla" (grilled pizza), "fugaza con queso" (onion pizza with mozzarella cheese).
The Argentinean pizzas have a lot of tomato sauce and are covered with a cheese like mozzarella. They can have anchovies, ham, olives, red peppers, hard-boiled eggs, salami (called "pizza calabresa"), pineapple slices, palm hearts, mushrooms or seafood.
The pizzas are prepared with different types of dough:
"A la piedra" (stone): it is thin and crisp. It is baked in a firebrick floor, hence its name.
"De molde" (baking tin): it is much raised till 2 cm of high. It is called like that because it is prepared in a baking pan or tin.
"Media masa" (half dough): you can find it in grocery stores or supermarkets as "pre-pizzas". They come just with a little bit of tomato sauce, so you can make it at home with the ingredients that you like the most.
Other typical Italian dish to have with pizza is the "faina” (picture).
We eat one slice of pizza over one slice of “faina”. It is also called Farinata (which literally means made of flour in the Italian language). It is similar to the socca from Nice, France. It is a thin, crisp, pizza-like pancake made of chickpea flour.
Among the pastas we mainly have: “tallarines” (tagliarini, noodles), “ravioles” (raviolis), “ñoquis” (gnocchi, dumplings), “canelones” (cannelloni - filled & baked pasta rolls), “lasaña” (lasagne) and “sorrentinos” (an Argentinean variety of ravioli).
For the filled pastas we use ground beef, ham and cheese, vegetables or ricotta cheese.
Our pastas are usually loaded of "tuco", an Italian word coming from sugo that means juice. The "tuco" is a tomato sauce very seasoned that usually is prepared with "estofado" (beef cooked in the tomato sauce).
We had a very important tradition at the moment to eat the pasta: to dip a bread slice into the “tuco”, with the excuse to check its flavour and cooking.
Another sauce that we have with pasta is the "pesto", made of basil and olive oil.
Other Italian dish that we have here is the "polenta” that comes from the north of Italy. In Argentina we do not have it as a garnish or with other meal; it is a dish in itself. We prepared it with tomato sauce and melted cheese.
* Once in our plate, pastas and polenta are seasoned with grated parmesan cheese ("queso rallado").
PASTEL DE PAPA
The "pastel de papa" is the Argentine version of the Irish shepherd’s pie, which it is made with lamb. Our version it is made with beef and we add ingredients that there are not in the Irish one: olives, raisins or hard-boiled eggs.
It is a base of ground beef and onions covered with a mashed potatoes layer. The potatoes are later covered with melted cheese.
It is a delicious and succulent dish to enjoy in winter time!
FISH & SEAFOOD
We have to admit that the Argentineans, we are not fish lovers. The excellent quality of the beef has displaced it as a main dish at home, in spite of the five thousand kilometres of Argentina coastline. Another reason is that here, eating fish is more expensive than beef.
Actually, it depends a lot which part of country you are. Naturally, the cities that are near ports or rivers eat much more fishes than the mountain or pampas villages.
There are two groups of fishes: the river ones, fresh-water fishes (pacu, dorado, surubí, boga, pejerrey), and the ones that come from the ocean: the "merluza" (hake) is the most popular.
The river fishes we have them usually grilled.
In Patagonia are very popular the trout of the lakes, and more to the south, in Ushuaia, the “centolla” (spider crab).
The ocean coasts and the lakes of Patagonia provide seafood & crustaceans. They are used to prepare pâtés, casseroles and stews. The most popular: squids, octopus, pollock, salmon, oysters, scampi.
The squids ("calamares" or "rabas") are marinaded with flour and eggs, fried and served with lemon. We called this dish "rabas a la romana" (the one in the photo).
Some seafood it is used as a filling for the "empanadas", like the "empanada de atún" (tuna), that is very popular.
Most of the restaurants in BA, offer in their menus the typical "Argentinean asado". People say that here you can find the best beef of the world. Come on and confirm this yourself!
The word "asado" is used for three different choses:
1. "Asado" is a bovine cut: the ribs. That we call "costillar".
2. "Asado" is also a type of meat cooking. It is roasted meat.
There are two options for cooking it:
a) Asado "a la parrilla" (grill). The meat is grilled on firewood or charcoal embers. The real “asado” is the one made with "leña" (firewood). The best woods are the hard ones, like the quebracho or carob tree, because the soft ones get burned very quickly and they do not give good embers.
We also call "parrilla" the places that offer this traditional type of meal. So "parrillada" is the dish that has several types of meat grilled. It is in all the restaurant menus and usually they are for two or four people.
b) Asado "al asador" or "en cruz" (cross). In this case the meat is placed in a cross-shaped stake, in vertical position, surrounding by the embers on the ground. This type of cooking is tastier than the first one, because the meat is being cooked very slowly while the fat of the meat it is melting on it.
3. "Asado" it is also the reunion or the social meeting where we have the roast meat with several salads and red wine!
The salad that it is always on the table is the "mixta" (mixed). It is the most typical one to have with the beef: tomato, lettuce and onion. Then, you can have as many salads as families eating asado.
"Let's make an asado" or "I invite you an asado" are typical expressions for the Argentineans.
The asado can incorporate other types of meat. Although the most popular one is the cow and its different cuts, it is common to add pork, chicken, lamb and suckling pig.
It is very popular to eat some sausages like appetizer before the roast steak. We prepare "morcilla" (black pudding), that it is made with pork blood and onions; "chorizo" (sausage), made with pork and cow meat; and "salchicha parrillera" (grill sausage) - it is like the chorizo but made with thinner minced meat.
The chorizo has become something essential in an asado: the "choripan". It is a sandwich of “chorizo” (“chori”: chorizo, “pan”: bread). It is usually served before the steak or beef - the main course - which cooking time is slower. Anyway, the choripan can be the main course of what we called a "choriceada", where we prepared only “choripan”.
Many times, the asado also adds the typical "provoleta". It is a provolone cheese melted on the grill. We can have it as an appetizer or after eating the meat. It is difficult to explain its exquisite flavour, you have to try it!
As we prepared the steak only with salt before cooking it, it is common to use a condiment for the beef, once it is cooked: the "chimichurri". It is a sort of spicy sauce made of different spices, aromatic herbs and natural vegetables: garlic, red pepper, parsley, oregano, sweet pepper, thyme, onion and bay leaf. All of them mixed with water, vinegar, sugar, salt and oil.
The most typical bovine cuts are:
- Vacío: literally, it means “empty”. It is the lateral region of the beef hindquarter, between the ribs and the hip. It is a no-bone and low –fat, very tasty cut.
- Tira de asado: (picture). Short ribs roast. The ribs are cut like strips (tiras) in a horizontal way. It is the most popular cut to do it grill.
- Matambre: Flank steak. It is typical Argentinean cut. It is a lean beef between the ribs and the skin of the cow. It is thin, tender and tasty. We prepared it like a roll, filled with vegetables; or open and covered with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, we call this "matambre a la pizza".
- Lomo: Tenderloin. In Spain it is called "solomillo". It is the conical and elongated muscle next to the backbone and under the ribs. It is always tender and it has a delicious flavour. It is the perfect cut to season with "chimichurri".
- Entraña: Literally means "entrails". It is another typical Argentinean cut. It is the part of the diaphragm next to the ribs. It is a vey popular cut because of its quick cooking.
- Bife de Chorizo: Chorizo Steak. No-bone steak placed in the external face of the cow back. When it is cut to be separated of the bone, before cutting it for steaks, it has a shape similar to the "chorizo" (sausage). The steaks are very thick, like 5 or 6 cm of high. This cut it is called "chuleta" in Spain.
Beef degrees of cooking:
When you are in a restaurant, in the moment to ask your roast beef, it is very important to explain the degree of cooking that you prefer. It is not the same all around the world!
* Vuelta y vuelta (rare beef) - For us, this is almost raw. The steak hardly touches the grill. It is cooked very few seconds. It has a very thin browned layer outside and the meat inside it is almost raw, very red. If you like the meat not very cooked, you have to ask for this.
* Jugoso (medium rare) - The meat must be browned outside and with a lot of juice and pink inside. Not with blood inside! You can ask for "jugosa" or "roja" (red).
* A punto (medium) - Inside, it will be a little drier, but juicy. The meat is taken out from the fire just in time. This is what the Argentineans, we love!
* Bien cocido (very well done) - It has a dark brown colour outside and dry inside, with a brown colour juice. So, you have to ask for "bien cocido".
"A round of applause for the asador" is the phrase that finishes an “asado”: a real ceremony for the Argentineans!
The "asador" is the person (mostly men) that prepares the fire, the one that grills the meat, the one that check that each person has the steak cooked how they demanded … so, he is the most important part in the meal. That is why he or she deserves a round of applause in the end.
This traditional Argentinean custom of eating "asado" it is like a ceremony because it is not only the fact to eat roasted meat.
Like its preparation takes a long time we begin in the morning and we finish in the afternoon. That is why we do it mostly on Sundays.
We have to prepare the fire almost two hours in advance before putting the meat in the "asador" or "parrilla". While the firewood or coal embers are getting hot and the fire is beginning, we start this banquet with a "picada” that is taken with an aperitif or vermouth.
It is a typical dish of the Argentinean gastronomy that has several types of food served in small quantity. It is similar to the Spanish "tapas". It is not an individual or personal dish because all the people eat from the same plate. It can be eaten between meals, like an appetizer, or as a main course if it has more food.
The different ingredients are distributed in small separated plates or in a special compartment tray.
The "picada" can goes from a few basic ingredients (ham, cheese, olives, peanuts, chips) to a big special plate with several hot ingredients, a huge variety of cheeses and different types of bread.
Some common ingredients for a “picada” are: salami, Roquefort cheese, French fries, black pudding, slices of pizza, prosciutto, bacon, mortadella, parmesan cheese, pates, seafood, palm hearts, sausages, pickled vegetables, etc.
A well-done "picada" always goes with bread, usually cut in slices, or some salad biscuits. The bread can also be toasted or seasoned with garlic.
One of the main aspects of a "picada", hence its name, is that each person can take the ingredients that they want to eat. This is what we call "picar" (nibble, to take a little beat of each ingredient).
While the meat is being roasted, that depending on the cut it can take 30 minutes or one hour, it is the time to have the "empanadas" and to open a red wine.
They are a typical dish in this country and very popular at people's home. They are prepared also in Chile and Uruguay. They are like a filled pasty which dough it is made with wheat flour and animal shortening.
There are as many fillings (in spanish "rellenos") as ideas of the cook. The most popular ones are: beef (hot/spicy or mild/smooth), chicken, corn, ham and cheese, onion and cheese, vegetables, tomato and mozzarella cheese, Roquefort cheese, etc.
The beef "empanada" varies in accordance with the Argentinean region where it is made. In each corner of the country something it is added to make it different: raisins, hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, olives, etc.
So the people can know which is the filling for each "empanada", the cook close the "empanada" with a "repulgue" (like a plait). Each filling has its own "repulgue".
The "empanadas" can be cooked in the oven or made them fried. The ones that we mostly have before an "asado" are the fried beef ones. The baked "empanadas" are a meal themselves, and like the pizza, there are lots of places that deliver them to your home.
You can make the "empanadas" at home: preparing the dough yourself or buying the dough slices that are called "tapas para empanadas" (dough for turnover pastries). You find them in a pack or packet of 12 or 20 units and you can buy them in any grocery store or supermarket.
There are also "empanadas dulces" (sweet empanadas) that we have as dessert. They can be called "empanadillas". They have sugar on it and they are filled with raisins, “dulce de leche”, quince or sweet potato paste, or ricotta cheese.
A good and real "asado" never finishes if there is not a good dessert to honor the “asador” and to congratulate him for his work.
After having such a generous food like an "asado" we prefer mostly something light like a fruit salad (we call it "macedonia"), that we love to combine with ice-cream.
Brought by our lovely Italian forefathers, the Argentinean ice-cream has an exquisite flavour. A very unique Argentinean ice-cream flavour is the "dulce de leche" that for the most sweet-toothed ones can have little pieces of chocolate.
The DULCE DE LECHE
It is a sweetened creamy milk caramel with a cinnamon colour. It is made with milk, sugar and vanilla extract.
We use the "dulce de leche" for everything: to spread the bread toasts in the morning, for desserts, cakes, biscuits, pies, cookies, puddings, candies and ice-creams.
And if you ask an Argentinean which is the best way to taste it, they will tell you: taking a big spoon, the ones for having soup, and plunge it into the “dulce de leche” jar.
The "dulce de leche" is popular all around Latin America. It has different names according to the country. It is called "arequipe" in Colombia and Venezuela, "cajeta" in Mexico, "cajeta de leche" in Nicaragua, "fanguito" in Cuba, "manjar or manjar blanco" in Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Panama.
* Other traditional Argentinean desserts are:
FLAN - Caramel custard or Crème caramel
Traditionally it is cooked here au-bain-marie, with sugar caramel, and served with “dulce de leche” and fresh cream on the side. If you want cream and “dulce de leche”, that is a “flan mixto” (mixed). We prepared it pouring some caramel into the baking tin before adding the mixture. Once it is baked we turn over the tin and the caramel is melted on top.
We can make it also with the industrial instant flan that takes a process similar to the one of the jelly.
It is made by stale bread, butter, eggs, sugar, spices and dried fruits or chocolate pieces. The bread is put to soak for one night. After that, it is squeezed till it get dry and later it is mixed with the other ingredients. The dough is put in a baking tin or pan and it is baked in the oven.
You can serve it with a sweet sauce or caramel. We eat it when it is cold and of course with "dulce de leche" or cream, or both.
Our pancakes are like the crepes and they can be made of a sweet or salty dough. You roll it up like a cannelloni.
The most popular sweet "panqueques" are the ones with "dulce de leche" or the flambéed rum apple one.
It is a typical dessert after any meal or to have it in the afternoon.
They are served with icing sugar on it and they can come with ice-cream. The classical "dulce de leche" filling can be mixed with whipped cream. So there you have the "panqueque mixto” (mixed).
POSTRE VIGILANTE O QUESO Y DULCE - Vigilante dessert or sweet and cheese
The “dulce de batata” (sweet potato paste) is like a sweet jelly made of sweet potatoes or yams, thick and with a strong texture. Frequently, it is sold in round-shape cans. Some of its varieties can have chocolate in it.
It is one of the ingredients of this dessert that consist of one hard cheese slice and one of “dulce de batata”. If we prepare it with a farmer's cheese (queso fresco), we call the dessert "Fresco and Batata".
We can prepare this dessert also with the "dulce de membrillo" (quince paste). It is a typical sweet from Spain, made of quince fruit. It is used also for cookies, cakes, pies or "facturas".
ZAPALLOS EN ALMIBAR - Candied pumpkin in syrup
It is a very traditional dessert of our country.
Its preparation is very peculiar because we use limestone: the same one that is used for construction. The limestone is used for giving the pumpkin a crisp cover outside and soft consistency inside.
The type of pumpkin that we use it is called kabutia or tipo Angola. It is very sweet, with an orange colour pulp and a dark green colour skin.
You can make this dessert at home or buy it canned or tinned in jars.
It is a sponge cake with meringue, "dulce de leche", whipped cream, shredded coconut, vanilla powder, "marron glace" (chestnut glazed), nuts, praline, and icing sugar for the coating. During its making it is not used any preservative, so it has a peculiar flavour typical of home-made production.
In the beginning, the dessert was known as "Imperial" and its history dates back to the café or tearoom called Paris at the City of Balcarce, Buenos Aires province. The owner of this café created this dessert in 1950. Later, the recipe was sold to a company in Mar del Plata City (a beach resort in the Buenos Aires province) that baptised the dessert as "Balcarce", in honour to the City where it had been created.
This typical dessert of Argentina it is a circular cake of puff pastry, where the coatings of puff pastry are separated by “dulce de leche”. The last coating it’s covered with sugar or chocolate.
* Visit also the section called “Argentinean Bakery & Patisserie” to discover other traditional flavours of the country.