The History of Empanadas

(Photo by cheeseweese)

When one thinks of local Argentine food there are two immediate images that come to mind;  one is ‘asado’ and the other, the empanada.

However, as almost everything local, the delectable empanada was not born in Argentina but brought here by the Spanish. The Spanish in turn had incorporated these delicacies from the Arabs.  who prepared them with lamb, bulgur and spices and called them ‘esfigha’ and ‘fatay’.  Further back, the empanada can be traced to the Greeks who had come up with phillo dough and to what was once Persia, where there was a similar dish centuries before Christ.

In Latin America this tasty pastry filled with different combinations of meats and vegetables became very popular and in Argentina it acquired its own identity with regional variations.  In Salta for example, the meat filling is cut in cubes and previously boiled, then mixed with potato, egg, scallion, cumin and cayenne pepper.  In Tucuman they incorporate raisins to the filling whilst in Cordoba they are coated with egg and sugar.  This way each place makes its own variation imprinting it with the local identity.

 

More information on where to try the best empanadas in Buenos Aires here.

To make your own, we suggest you try our chef Hernán Gipponi´s recipe for rabbit empanadas, available here.  (Don´t forget to order some while you´re at the hotel!)

Argentine Wines: Sauvignon Blanc

The Sauvignon Blanc (Savage White) grape originally grew wild in the South West of France. Once its wine potential was exploited it was not only grown in France, its main producer, but also in a variety of regions including Australia, New Zeland, South Africa, Canada, Chile and as a promising newcomer to the Sauvignon scene, Argentina.

The wide span of locations in which Sauvignon Blanc is produced has signified variations in the flavor of this fresh crisp white wine, depending on the climate and altitude.

Argentine varieties of Sauvignon Blanc are fruity with hints of grapefruit, apple, and jasmine and  have a subtle smoky flavor when produced at higher altitudes and in Patagonia.

This wine is great for the warm seasons as it pairs well with light foods such as seafood, fish, salads and goat cheese. It is also a good option for a spicy meal as its freshness complements the fire in mouth sensations well.  A glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc can also make a great aperitif, perhaps in the evening by the pool deck.

For a special sample of Argentine wines, accompanied by snacks from HG Restaurant, don’t miss our weekly tastings every Thursday starting at 7PM at Fierro Hotel.  Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220 6800. recepcion@fierrohotel.com.

FIBA VIII International Theatre Festival

(Photo by Fifi LePew)

Every two years the city stages receive special guests from around the world who come to Buenos Aires to participate in the international theatre festival. Both local and international plays are staged in various theatres presenting the best of both classic and avant garde performances.

This years repertoire brings plays from Germany, Italy, France, Burkina Faso, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay as well as presenting a large selection of Argentine plays.

All plays are carried out in their original language with Spanish subtitles, some are dance choreographies, and others experimental representations including video projections, music and puppets.

 

Some interesting options include

Las cajas voyeuristas:  An urban intervention by the Mexican Dora García who stages scenes of forgotten women of Mexican history inside “voyeur boxes” that spectators peek into.

Médeé: This coo production between France and Burkina Faso directed by Jean-Louis Martinelli brings an adaptation of the Greek classic focusing on the themes of exile and the strengths of African culture.

Une Flute Enchanteé: Mozart’s famous opera is adapted by Peter Brook and turned into this magical musical play that has earned itself a 2011 Moliere Award.

De Fierro- Puppet representation for adults of the Argentine classic Martin Fierro.

Hombre Rebinado by Margarita Ball is a virtual play that is carried out through a video projection of bodies over real objects.

More information about the festival, programming and tickets here.

We Recommend: Day Trip to Colonia

(Photo by estradAfora viagens )

Argentines cross over to Uruguay frequently for weekend getaways to lovely towns and summer holidays at the beach. One of the common destinations for a day away is Colonia del Sacramento, a historic town founded in 1680 with a combination of Portuguese, Spanish colonial and Post-Colonial styles.

This small charming town is just an hour away from Buenos Aires by Ferry and has a variety of attractions. Some of these  include the historic quarters where Bastión del Carmen, an old fortress lies, seven museums including the tile museum (Museo del Azulejo) where a collection of valuable Portuguese, French and Spanish tiles are exhibited, the municipal and indigenous museums which tell more about the heritage and history of Colonia, the Spanish museum,  the Portuguese museum and Casa de Nacarello which is an 18th century Portuguese house, and an aquarium. We also recomend that you walk down the lovely coast at sunset before stopping at Lentas Maravillas (Santa Rita 61, Barrio Historico), a great teahouse overlooking the river. There are also some wonderful art galleries and some interesting restaurants such as La Florida, a renovated antique house which serves gourmet dining (Odriozola 215) , El Drugstore (Portugal 174), which has a colorful ambiance including an antique car set for two to dine in, and the traditional Pulperia de los Faroles(Misiones de los Tapes 101).

Colonia is just a ferry ride away.  Both Buquebus and Colonia Express offer various promotions for ferry rides to Colonia as well as special day trip fares.

This Week in Buenos Aires

Monday

(Photo by ::d::)

Take a day trip to Tigre, a town in the outskirts of the city set on an island lined by small rivers and streams. The rugged location surrounded by nature offers a variety of attractions including canoeing, kayak and other excursions by boat, trekking, ecotourism, motorboat and commuter boats to take you to different places on the riverside, restaurants, spas, tea-houses, picnic sites, a naval museum, an art museum, a mate museum, a casino, a crafts fair and an amusement park. More information here.

In the evening Estrella Morente will be presenting her flamenco show at the Coliseum Theatre as part of the international theatre festival. More information here.

 

Coliseum Theatre

Marcelo T de Alvear 1125, downtown.

4814-3056

 

Tuesday

(Photo by iggykaser)

Inside a beautiful French style building you will find The Decorative Art Museum, which showcases a collection of local and foreign objects and furniture. The building in itself makes the museum well worth the visit and the cafe in the courtyard is a lovely place for an afternoon stop.

In the evening Katy Perry will be playing at Estadio G.E.B.A for the Pepsi Music Festival. Tickets here.

 

Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo

Av.del Libertador 1902

4801-8248

museo@mnad.org

 

Estadio GEBA

Av. Dorrego 3600, Palermo

 

Wednesday

(photo by lbonini)

Take a walk down Puerto Madero to the ecological reserve where you can get the best view of the city and see some of the local flora and fauna!

In the evening visit the Palermo and Belgrano art galleries that will be open all night for Buenos Aires Art Week.  More information here.

For some live music, check out Snow Patrol, Primal Scream and Jarabe de Palo who will be closing the Pepsi Music Festival at 9pm at Estadio GEBA. Tickets here.

 

Ecological Reserve

Av. Tristán Achával Rodriguez 1550

4315-4129

Open: Tue-Sun 8am-6pm

Saturday and Sunday

 

Estadio GEBA

Av. Dorrego 3600, Palermo

 

Thursday

(Photo by Ruben Charles)

Take a free tour of Buenos Aires with Jonathan, an Englishman in love with the city. Tours start every day at 11am at the center of Plaza Italia by the Garibaldi Horse monument and cover the areas of Almagro, Congress and the Plaza de Mayo using local transport to get around. More information here.

Later on Book your place for the Fierro Hotel’s Thursday wine tasting and sample some great Argentine wines, chosen by the president of the Argentine sommelier association Andres Rosberg and in-house Sommelier Martin Bruno.  Tastings cost 25 USD per person and are limited to 7 people.

In the evening visit the San Telmo and Puerto Madero art galleries that will be open all night for Buenos Aires Art Week.  More information here.

 

Fierro Hotel Buenos Aires

Soler 5862, Palermo

3220-6800

 

Friday

(Photo by 7scout7)

Now that the days are sunny and warm and Polo season is here, take a polo lesson with Polo Elite who also offer English speaking polo player guides for tournaments.

In the evening visit the downtown art galleries that will be open all night for Buenos Aires Art Week.  More information here.

 

Saturday-Sunday

(Photo by Patrick Q)

Saturday- The BIC Kids drawing festival will be held at the Rosedal to close Buenos Aires Art Week.  Throughout the day there will be various art shows and an area specially dedicated to kids. More information here.

Sunday- Lenny Kravitz opens the annual Personal Fest and presents Black and White America at the Estadio G.E.B.A. Tickets here.

 

Top 5 Restaurants in Recoleta

(Photo by ulterior epicure)

 

La Bourgogne The city’s most distinguished French Restaurant, in the city’s most distinguished hotel, the Alvear Palace, offers one of the best, albeit pricy, dining options in Buenos Aires. Ayacucho 2027, Recoleta. 4808-2100.

 

Oviedo- This upscale Spanish restaurant is one of the top dining options the city has to offer. The fish is superb as is the lamb, the excellent wine list and service. The classic setting, the freshness of the ingredients and the savory cuisine make Oviedo an unquestionable top choice for gourmet dinning in Buenos Aires. Beruti 2606, Recoleta. 4821-3741.

 

Restó- Set in the local architects society, this intimate auteur restaurant is the favorite of many local chefs for its quality and innovative dishes. Edible flowers,  exotic vegetables  and  recommended stuffed quail are all part of  chef  Guido Tassi´s flavorful repertoire. Montevideo 938, Recoleta. 4816-6711

 

Almacen de los Milagros- Maria Milagros Padilla and her associate Martin Baquero combine their knowledge of cuisines from Tucuman., Patagonia, Spain and France in this restaurant that is open as a cafe during the day and as a gourmet auteur restaurant at night. Quintana 210, Recoleta. 4814-0533.

 

El Cuartito- Considered by some to be the best pizzeria in the city, El Cuartito, which has been around since 1934 is undoubtedly legendary. Great for a quick on the go slice in a lively environment, or for a low budget meal, plus, you really shouldn’t leave Buenos Aires without trying the typical fugazzeta pizza and faina! Talcahuano 937, Recoleta. 4816-1758.

Argentine Wines: Torrontés

 


It is perhaps our meat eating culture that conjures the rapid association of red wine with the local viticulture, however, and despite the Argentine Malbec’s superstardom, there is a white wine that is 100% Argentina and it is the Torrontés. Bred from a cross between Muscatel and Criolla Chica (brought by Spanish missionaries to South America in the 16th Century) this national gem is produced solely in Argentina’s North West region, in the provinces of Mendoza, La Rioja, San Juan and in Salta where allegedly the Torrontés is best.

The pale yellow-green or golden colored wine has an intense fragrance reminiscent of roses, jasmines, and tropical and citric fruits, complementing poultry,  seafood and creamy dishes to perfection. It is also often paired with spicy food or enjoyed alone as an aperitif.

For a special sample of Argentine wines, accompanied by snacks from HG Restaurant, don’t miss our weekly tastings every Thursday starting at 7PM at Fierro Hotel.  Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220 6800. recepcion@fierrohotel.com.

Spring in Buenos Aires

Spring festivities are common in most countries as it is the season of renewal and rebirth. In Argentina, every 21st of September students celebrate their day and the arrival of spring by gathering in parks to share picnics and listen to live bands anticipating the months to come.

Buenos Aires is particularly nice in the spring as the moderate temperatures, flowering vegetation and wide range of activities bring it to life.

Some of the city´s spring highlights are:

The City Flowers:. The Palermo rose garden (Rosedal) is one of the most stunning parks of the city and is at its brightest in spring when its over 12000 variety of roses are in full bloom. The purple jacarandas also pop up paving the city streets with their unique purple flowers whilst the abundant orange blossoms perfume the air. There is also currently an exhibit of flower sculptures by local artists being displayed at the Plaza San Martin.

(Photo by ag2078)

High Handicap Polo Season:  Buenos Aires is known for it’s Polo tournaments which are held from the end of August to the beginning of December. More information on matches herePolo Elite also offers polo lessons and English speaking polo player guides for the tournaments.

(Photo by daveoleary)

Live music and performances: Spring is the season for international rock and pop acts and festivals, the Creamfields electronic festival, the independent theatre festival and jazz festival, all held through the months of September-December. More information of this year’s line-up and tickets here.

(Photo by alrom)

Spring is also a wonderful season for short trips to estancias, to Tigre and to small towns like San Antonio de Areco, amongst others. Outdoor tango is also danced in many parks at dusk and you’re sure to smell weekend asados comming from the peoples houses.

We Recommend: San Antonio de Areco

(Photo by Eduardo Amorim)

To the North of Buenos Aires province, just 113 Km’s away from the city, lies a little town abuzz with visitors looking for a bit of history and a taste of gaucho life. The homeland of Segundo Ramirez, a local gaucho who poet and novelist Ricardo Güiraldes was inspired by when writing Don Segundo Sombra, one of the pillars of Argentine literature, is the perfect place to catch a glimpse of the typical countryside  gaucho life, to find native silverwork and traditional crafts, and explore historic landmarks.

 

Our suggestions:

Check out historic Gaucho artifacts and learn more about this Argentine archetype at the beautiful Museo Gauchesco y Parque Criollo Ricardo Güiraldes which is structured like an eighteenth century hacienda.

The Pampa Indigenas were already adorning their wives with silver bracelets way before the Spanish colonized the area so it should come as no surprise that one of the local specialties should be silverwork.  The Centro Cultural and Museo Taller Draghi showcases some of the finest examples of the elaborate designs of renowned silversmith Juan José Draghi.

Visit the historic bridge (Puente Viejo) and the San Antonio de Padua church, two of the first constructions of the town.

Take a canoe down the river, ride a horse through the open fields or go sports fishing to enjoy the natural environment San Antonio de Areco has to offer. Contact services here.

Stop for a sweet treat at La Olla de Cobre, where Carlos and Teresita make their own chocolate starting from the processing of the cacao bean to the delicious end product. Don’t miss their fantastic alfajores!

 

How to get there?

Two options are available to get to San Antonio de Areco, one is by car, the other by bus.

By car take Ruta 8.

By bus: Head to the Retiro Bus Terminal where  bus companies are grouped together by region. Chevalier  has a bus to Areco that takes about two hours.  During the summer season it is advised to buy tickets ahead of time.

 

Where to stay?

There are various estancias, inns  and Bed & Breakfasts to choose from. Some of the more known options are  Estancia La Porteña de Areco, El Ombu de Areco, and Paradores Draghi.

 

Tips:

Go on a weekday to avoid crowds and if you’re traveling in November don’t miss Tradition Week where festivities and local customs are celebrated all month.

This Week in Buenos Aires

Monday

(Photo by Sheep”R”us)

Lovers of modern art should definitely include a visit to the MAMBA (Museum of Modern Art) in San Telmo. The museum, which reopened in December of 2010, exhibits one of the most important art collections in Argentina today.

In the evening  head to Gran Bar Danzon for their wine happy hour from 7pm-9pm.

 

MAMBA

Av. San Juan 350, San Telmo

4342-3001

Open: Mon-Fri 12-7pm, Sat-Sun 11am-8pm

 

Gran Bar Danzon

Libertad 1161, Downtown

4811-1108

 

Tuesday

(Photo by malojavio. El Saucejo)

Visit a hatter for a unique fitting, have a traditional barber shop haircut and shave and finish up with a Cuban cigar and a whisky on Landing Pad BA’s original Gentleman Tour.

Meanwhile, the ladies can explore the Palermo area , which is full of small cafes, great and unexpected stores by independent designers, and contemporary art galleries. More on shopping in BA here.

In the evening don’t miss the experimental composer and pianist, Philip Glass, who graces the Coliseum Theatre’s stage at 9pm. Tickets here.

 

Coliseum Theatre

Marcelo T. de Alvear 1125, downtown

4816 3789

 

Wednesday

(Photo by Filo.mena)

Take a Fileteado Porteño Tour and discover the typical style of painting associated with Buenos Aires. The tour starts at 1.30pm in the Abasto area and moves to San Telmo either by bikes or public transport. It includes a snack in San Telmo and gives you the chance to try out the technique yourself! More information here.

In the evening starting 9pm, the Recoleta Cultural Center is staging Hombre Vertiente, an experimental performance including acrobatics, special lighting and interaction with the public, directed by Pichón Baldinu, one of the De La Guarda founders.

 

Centro Cultural Recoleta

Junin 1930, Recoleta

4803-1040

 

Thursday

(Photo by quacktaculous)

Head to the Museo de Arte Español Enrique Larrtea for an interesting peek at indigenous art being exhibited temporarily until the 11th of October.

Later on Book your place for the Fierro Hotel’s Thursday wine tasting and sample some great Argentine wines, chosen by the president of the Argentine sommelier association Andres Rosberg and in-house Sommelier Martin Bruno.  Tastings cost 25 USD per person and are limited to 7 people.

Marianne Faithfull and guitarist Marc Ribot will be presenting a special acoustic show at the Coliseum Theatre as part of the Horses and High Heels Tour. Tickets here. 

 

Museo de Arte Español Enrique Larreta

Juramento 2291, Belgrano

4783-2640

Open: Mon-Fri 1pm-7pm and Sat 10am-8pm

 

Fierro Hotel Buenos Aires

Soler 5862, Palermo

3220-6800

 

Coliseum Theatre

Marcelo T. de Alvear 1125, downtown

4816 3789

 

Friday

(photo by longhorndave)

Take a day trip to the local bakery, butcher shop and market where Teresita will show you all the traditional foods and ingredients. Afterwards go back to her home and learnt to make empanadas before having a delicious gourmet 4-course meal with wine pairings! More on Teresita’s culinary tour here.

In the evening don’t miss the chance to see Wagner’s opera Lohengrin at the stunning Colón Theatre.

 

Teatro Colón

Cerrito 628, Downtown

4378 7100

 

Saturday & Sunday

(Photo by Zofie)

FIBA VIII Festival Internacional de Buenos Aires:  24th September- 8th of October . The international theatre festival brings the best-staged performances from around the globe. Program and tickets here.

Shishu (Japanese embroidery) exhibit at the Japanese Gardens in Palermo. Figueroa Alcorta and Av. Caseres.