Argentina Cuisine

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007 at 12:00 am

argentina cuisineArgentine cuisine evolved distinctly from the rest of Latin American cuisine because of the heavy influence of countries that have become a part of its long colonial history. A bit of flavor from Italian, Spanish, French and other European cuisines usually make up the typical Argentine diet, a kind of variation on what is often called the Mediterranean diet.

Argentina, as a major producer of different agricultural products, has a direct influence on the country’s varied cuisine. As a major producer of cattle, red meat is an especially common part of the Argentine diet. Similarly, the enormous quantities of wheat that is harvested domestically have made white bread a common fixture on the Argentine dining table. The abundance of wheat produced in this country can explain the popularity of wheat-based Italian dishes such as pizza.

And because of the variety of Argentine cuisine there exists certain distinctions from the type of cuisine that is essentially urban and cosmopolitan that is highly influenced by the international food influences and eating patterns and from the more traditional and internally-influenced rural cuisine. There are certain foods that can be found in all corners of Argentina such as barbecued meat, dulce de leche, empanadas and the beverage yerba mate in addition to a variety of popular Italian, Spanish, and French dishes and others that are unique to a certain region in the country.

Argentines are famous for their high protein diet, particularly with beef as the main dish in every meal. Grilled meat from the asado is a staple. This dish is made by putting meat and entrails on the grill and cooked from below with natural wood and coal. This Argentine dish is so popular that there are restaurants all around the country that serve only asado dishes. There is always a good local restaurant nearby that has a place set up for preparing asado.

Steak and beef ribs and other similar meat dishes are especially common in the Argentine dining table. Unique dishes such as Chorizo (pork sausage), morcilla (blood sausage), chinchulines (chitterlings), mollejas (sweetbread) are also common Argentine dishes. In other Argentine regions such as Patagonia, lamb and goat are eaten more often than beef. One will be able to notice whole lambs and goats on the asado cooked in this part of the country. Chimaerical, a sauce of herbs and chili, is the seasoning of choice for steak and horizon.

There are also traditional doming from the provinces such as loco hark back to the per-Columbian period, which is a stew made with corn, beans, squash and beef. Another traditional Argentine food is the empaneled which is a circular piece of pastry folded in two around a filling that is usually made out of chopped meat, olives, hard-boiled egg, potato cubes, raisins, ham and cheese, and many other variants. Empaneled can either be baked or fried.

Italian staples like pizza and pasta have become a part of Argentine cuisine. Sweets, such as dulcet ed lecher are also popular Argentine fare. Dulce ed lecher is a dark brown fluid paste that is made from milk and sugar stirred continuously at very high temperatures. It is an essential ingredient of Argentine cakes and shares the place of jelly and jam at the breakfast table. Dulce de Leche can also be used as dessert toppings as well as a filling for alfajores, which consists of two round biscuits and facturas, a generic name for sweet baked pastry of different kinds, including but not limited to croissants and donuts.

Argentina is also famous for its wine, most notably the red wine coming from the province of Mendoza, where weather conditions are excellent for the cultivation of grape varieties that go into this world renowned specialty. Nearly all the provinces that comprise Argentina are into wine production except for Tucumán and Santiago del Ester. Many of this country’s wine products have won worldwide acclaim.