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Author: admin, 25.02.2014. Category: Vegetable Garden

In our newest food experiences installment, Sandy writes about our culinary highlights while traveling in Argentina.
We spent almost a month in Argentina, the longest time of any country while in South America. The food of this country has an unique blend of influences from its Italian and Spanish immigrants and from the large number of cow and sheep herds. To get the latest Trekking the Planet news, please enter your email address and information below. It cannot, however, be compared with its New York cousin as the difference in crust thickness is so vast that it might as well be another dish altogether.
When not eating pizza or toast, we’d turn to the empanada bakery only a few blocks from our Palermo apartment in Buenos Aires.
And if you’ re not in the mood for chorizo, thinly sliced flank steak (vacio) with a couple healthy scoops of chimichurri also does the trick.
But when you really want to sit down and have a steak, there is no other place in the world like an Argentinian steakhouse.  When you sit down for a meal at a parrilla (the Argentinian grill, say par-ee-sha), the first thing to notice is the menu. Stuffed Baked Potato – instead of adding even more fattiness to the meal, go with something a little less heavy like a baked potato.
Even though its technically a condiment, I usually piled on the chimichurri on any meat or side I ordered. And after dinner, no self respecting Argentinian would leave a meal without a little dessert. And even beyond all of this amazing food – pizza, toast, medialunas, choripan, flan – there is still the steak! My boyfriends from Argentina and I want to surprise him with his favorite chocolate for valentines day, that chocolate bark in your photo. Argentinian cuisine is very authentic and natural, which means use of vegetables are quite prevalent and salads are an important part of their food.
Argentina is famous for steaks and grills from the days of the illustrious Incas, who roasted meat over green branches on hot rocks or coal. Argentines have a high protein diet and beef in the form of grilled meat and steaks dominate it.
In the provinces, the European touch is not visible but pro-Colombian and colonial traditions are noticed.
A traditional drink called mate is a luxury and is considered a social ritual at family or small gatherings. During our time there, we had the opportunity to try a variety of food, as we traveled overland from the city of Cordoba south to the Patagonia region. Meat is definitely one of the national dishes of Argentina and nothing is better than enjoying an asado or barbecue. There is a minimal presence of nuts and sesame, and fish is not a staple like it is in other places we visited.
There are pizza restaurants on almost every block, both large and small, serving both full pies and slices.

With its chewy bready crust, oozy layer of hot mozzarella, and signature smattering of olives,  Kentucky Pizzeria on Plaza Italia served up the best pizza at all hours of the day. This is also served along the river, and is a good lunch after a long walk through the nature reserve in Puerto Madero. In general, the main course section is a list of cuts of meat, followed by a selection of sides, salads, and starters.
Traditionally, chimichurri is a sauce of finely diced parsley, oregano, red pepper, onion, vinegar, and olive oil. Though typically Matt and I are not big on sweets, we learned from our friend Jorge, a native to Buenos Aires, that dessert is a necessity. The town itself is brimming with Swiss influence that is evident in the architecture, the Saint Bernards perched in the main square, and the chocolate stores all over the streets in town. The dried leaves and twigs of Yerba Mate plant is placed in a cup, which is also called mate, and near boiling water is added to it. There were several large pieces of chicken underneath the bed of rice and I could not finish them all!
His allergies did not hold him back from enjoying all of the most important and treasured delicacies of Argentina.  And of course, it was all washed down with some of the most delicious Malbecs either of us have ever tasted. Being from New York where pizza is king, we knew we had to give Argentina a chance to stand up to our own city’s legendary version. We would often set out in the morning to walk around Buenos Aires and grab a few empanadas on our way back home to enjoy on our back patio in the late afternoon. Depending on where you get your choripan, there might be topping options, like onions, tomatoes, and chimichurri (more on this later). We generally chose to eat things we love and we know are good for Matt, like gelato, flan, and Oreos. It’s impossible to walk down the street, smelling the sweetness of chocolate, and not go in to a shop to peruse the aisles of chocolate confections. Next time you think of Argentinian food, after reading this, you might not think of just meat. Another specialty of Argentina is Porteno, which means classic European cuisine with a local touch. In parties and picnics Argentines love pastries of meat, cheese, sweet corn etc as starters.
Fruits like apples, pears, peaches, kiwifruits, avocados and plums are used in abundance in their food. We bought them in a grocery store, purchased them at a gas station on a bus break and ordered them in restaurants.
Hot water is poured into the cup and the drink and is sipped through a metal or cane straw called a bombilla.
However, upon further inspection, it is clear how important Argentina’s European heritage is in local culture and food. Since one cannot possibly eat steak everyday for six weeks without getting some kind of heart condition, we explored beyond the cow and found other dishes that were equally delicious and equally memorable.

During the weeks we stayed in hostels, toast was the mainstay of the free breakfasts, served with butter and jam and coffee.
There are almost an infinite amount of pizza restaurants in BA, so we made hard work of tasting pizza from as many places as possible. Another popular condiment is onion and tomato in vinegar, which is also a great steak or potato topping. Jorge graciously introduced us to Dulce de Batata (sweet potato jam served with farmers cheese) and the famous Argentinian sweet Dulce de Leche. Another determining factor in Argentinian cuisine is that Argentina is the worlda€™s major producer of wheat, beans, maize, soybeans, beef and milk. A French or Italian will not trace any similarity because it is just different with the local influence.
Favorites from Italy such as pasta and pizza are extremely popular, as well as other dishes from Switzerland and France. We ate in restaurants, we ate slices on the way home after a long night of dancing,  we brought it back to our apartment in a box.
There are many food stalls set up on the promenade grilling up chorizos and other meats all day for snacks and late night eats. Thus, these items are commonly used on the table in the likes of wheat based Italian dishes or the Argentine Pizza. The drink can be sweetened with sugar or flavored with aromatic herbs or dried orange peel to suppress its original bitterness. Obviously.  However, on the rare occasion we would go out, or on a day when you just need a little afternoon snack, medialunas were a favorite. No matter where we ate it, thick crust Argentinan pizza was one of our favorite Buenos Aires meals. I ended up taking half of it off in order to avoid cheese-overload, which made it much more manageable.
Since traveling to Argentina, I’ve put chimichurri on my list of condiments-I-love-to-use-on-anything-I-eat. Medialunas are basically little croissants (see the French influence?) made either in a sweet style or a savory style.
For evening snacks they have crust less white bread buttered with thin slice of meat, cheese and lettuce leaf with beer. I couldn’t really tell a big difference between the two styles other than *maybe* a mild warmth to the sweeter variety, but this crispy buttery toast-like treat was common when hanging out at a cafe.

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