A Special Tradition for the 29th of the Month

(Photo by paolo.r)

A special tradition involving gnocchi and money is carried out on the 29th of every month. It consists of gathering to eat gnocchi and placing money under ones plate for it to multiply over the following 29 days.

There are two versions of the origin of this odd ritual, neither which have been confirmed.

The first is a legend that dates back to the VIII century. It tells of Pantaleon, a young doctor from Nicosia who traveled to Italy after converting to Christianity. Once there he performed miraculous cures and was canonized. Then, on the 29th of one month, he asked some peasants for bread and they replied by inviting him to join them for a simple dinner. Saint Pantaleon was grateful and moved by their kindness so he blessed them and promised a year of extraordinary harvests. Indeed, that year the yield of their crops was copious and thus on the 29th of every month this patron Saint of Venice was remembered by a simple meal consisting of gnocchi.

Another story, tells of a famished town on a year when wheat had not yielded well. It is said that on the 29th someone came up with the potato gnocchi, saving the town from starvation.

Finally, the tradition is said to have been introduced to Argentina in the 70´s by a group of gastronomic journalists who gathered every month to eat a meal prepared by one of them. On the 29th of the month one of them decided to make a simple plate of gnocchi to commemorate the legend of Pantaleon. It was a big hit and soon after, the “Club del Ñoqui” was created, gathering people from different cultural and social backgrounds for one gnocchi meal a month. Since there were a lot of journalists involved, the tradition quickly spread, and was adopted as an excuse to gather with friends, eat a great plate of gnocchi and hopefully multiply the monetary crop of the month.

Want to try some gnocchi eating and magical money making yourself? Book a table at one of the following recommended Italian restaurants.

Doppio Zero: Open Tue- Sat 8.30pm- closing and Sun 12.30pm-4pm. Soldado de La Independencia 1238, Las Cañitas. 4899-0162

Ill Ballo del Mattone: Gorriti 5737, Palermo. 4776-4247 reservas@ilballo.tv

Sottovoce: Open everyday from 12-4pm and 8pm-closing. Av. Libertador 1098, Recoleta. 4807-6691.

This Week in Buenos Aires

Tuesday

(Photo by victorcamilo)

Head to the MAMBA (Modern Art Museum) in San Telmo to see the special Bruno Dubner photography exhibit. Museum opening hours: Mon- Fri from 12.00am to 7.00pm, Sat & Sun from 11.00am to 8.00pm. Av. San Juan 350, San Telmo. 4342-3001/2970.

In the evening stop by Ill Ballo del Mattone for some live acoustic guitar music by Jerónimo Guiraud at 8pm, and a wonderful plate of homemade pasta. Gorriti 5737 tel 47764247 reservas@ilballo.tv

 

Wednesday

(Photo by iphtjes)

Should the rain continue, as forecasted, head to one of the city’s indoor attractions such as the Colón theatre, or the Ateneo Grand Splendid (one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world!). Afterwards you can stop by one of our recommended spots for 5 o’clock tea.

In the evening head to the upbeat and colorful AcaBar for some great drinks and board games. Honduras 5733, Palermo Viejo. 4772-0845.

 

Thursday

(Photo by Victor J. Trumbo)

For those who want to check out the 2012 Autumn-Winter fashion don’t miss the runway shows at Buenos Aires Fashion week, being held this week at La Rural. Av. Sarmiento 2704, Palermo. The full list or runway shows is available here.

For a unique evening, book your place at 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. Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220-6800.

Friday

(Photo by caipirhona)

Finally the sun will allow for some outdoor enjoyment. Book your place with Argentina Polo Day and spend the day in the outskirts of the city exploring the world of polo. The day includes a wine tasting with ‘empanadas’, horseback riding, a Polo Match, polo lessons, the opportunity to talk to coaches and professional players, a typical asado, and leisure time by the swimming pool. More information here.

 

Saturday and Sunday

On Saturday and Sunday at 5pm, the San Martin Theatre Contemporary Ballet will be staging the 8 Estaciones Ballet (8 Seasons Ballet), a show that alternates each of Vivaldi´s 4 Seasons with the Piazzola versions. Av. Corrientes 1530, Downtown. 0800-333-5254.

On Sunday, Morrissey will be staging a live show at Estadio GEBA. Marcelino Freyre 3381, Palermo. Tickets available here.

The Argentine Flag

(Photo by franciscocellini)

On Monday the bicentennial anniversary of the creation of the Argentine flag will be celebrated around the country.

General Manuel Belgrano  first raised the eye-catching light blue and white national symbol, inspired by the Argentine cockade, on The 27th of February of 1812 in Rosario during the independence war. Although the first triumvirate did not approve the flag, it was allowed as a war flag until 1816, when it was finally made official after the declaration of independence.

There are different theories regarding the symbolism behind the choice of colors of both the cockade and the flag. On one hand it is said to have been taken from the blue and white colors of the Spanish Borbon family, whilst another explanation associates the choice of colors with the Virgin Mary. The most popular explanation is that it was inspired by the sky. Allthough the Inca sun symbol Inti  might lead to think that this last explanation is the correct one, it was a later addition to the flag.

Below we share Aurora, a himn to the flag and Marcha de la Bandera, or march of the flag.

 

Argentine Folklore Music and Dancing

(Photo by @eggar)

Although Tango is a folkloric music from Argentina, what is generally considered Folklore to the locals is traditional music and dances, mostly from the North and the Litoral regions of the country.  Some of the more popular styles of Folklore, performed and danced at folklore parties called peñas, are Chamame, Chacarera, Carnavalito and Malambo.

Chamame is a typical music and dance from Paraguay and the Litoral provinces of Corrientes, Entre Rios, Formosa, Santa Fe, Chaco and Misiones. The origin of this music is Guarani with European influences, such as the incorporation of the German bandoneon.  It is similar to a Paraguayan Polka but with a stronger beat and may be cheerful or sad.

Chacarera is typical in the Northern region of the country, in the Provinces of Santiago del Estero and Tucuman mainly. It has afro-argentine influences and traditionally includes a formation made up of a guitar, a type of bass drum called bombo leguero and the violin. Chacareras are generally sung, in both Spanish and Qechua.

Carnavalito also comes from the Northern region of the country although mainly from Jujuy, Salta, Catamarca and Tucumán.  It is a typical Andean music and dance, and is played with the quena and charango, both traditional instruments of the region.

The Malambo is a typical dance that originated in the Pampas region and is carried out by men who display their ability through their footwork and their skill with knives and boleadoras (a kind of sling used by the Patagonia natives and gauchos). The rhythmic music is usually played with a bombo leguero and a guitar, although instruments vary depending on the area of the country.

For those who want a peak at Argentine Folklore, we recommend you go to one of the following venues where peñas and live shows are staged:

Peña del Colorado:  This peña in Palermo serves traditional food and stages live shows by an array of performers as well as hosting folklore dances for the community.  From midnight onwards they also encourage the diners to play spontaneous guitar music. (They offer the guitars). Open every day from 10pm-4am. Güemes 3657, Palermo. 4822-1038. info@lapeniadelcolorado.com.

Los Cardones Peña Folclorica: Also in Palermo, this popular venue offers traditional dinner, live shows, peñas and folklore dancing lessons. J.L Borges 2180 , Palermo.  4777-1112.

La Paila:  This is a good place to go for homemade regional food from the North and for great live folklore shows. Open Mon-Fri from 7pm-closing and Sat-Sun from midday onwards. Costa Rica, Buenos Aires 1414, Palermo. 4878-2688, lapaila@folkloreclub.com.ar.

Peña de la Ribera: This popular peña is in the outskirts of the city in Olivos and is held every Saturday. They have a lovely outdoor patio where the summer events take place and they serve empanadas and typical sandwiches (choripan, bondiola.) Currently there are carnival celebrations  and also open dance lessons at 10.30pm. J. Diaz de Solis 2289, Olivos.

Feria de Mataderos: This popular fair held on Sundays in Mataderos showcases and sells all things typical. Folklore shows and dancing are also a very important part of its charm and popularity. The fair is on Lisandro de la Torre Avenue. To get there, we suggest you coordinate transport with the hotel, as you will have to go through some dodgy areas to arrive.

This Week in Buenos Aires

Wednesday

(Photo by matualonso)

The day is perfect for some fun on the water. Smile on Sea offers special sailing trips that depart from Puerto Madero, and Soul Trips offer a similar service in Tigre although on a motorboat with drinks and snacks.

In the evening head to Mystique After Office for an early Carnaval Fest starting at 7pm. Sarmiento 1662, San Nicolás.

If late night partying is more to your liking, then Kika´s This is Ibiza party may be just for you. Honduras 5339, Palermo.

 

Thursday

(Photo by slaff)

Take advantage of the good weather and head to the Planetarium where you can join the outdoor Parks and Monuments Tour (starting at 10.30am) or the Parks and Museums Tour (starting at 2.30pm), both done on electric bicycles. The tours last 2 hours each, cost 70 pesos, and are carried out in Spanish, Portuguese and English. Please note that you must be at the Planetarium 30 minutes before the tour with an ID to certify that you are 18 or older. Planetario Galileo Galillei-Av. Sarmiento and Belisario Roldán, Palermo.

For a unique evening, book your place at 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. Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220-6800.

At 9pm Dancing Mood will be presenting their new record, Non Stop, at the Centro Cultural Konex. Sarmiento 3131, Abasto. 4864-3200.

 

Friday

At 2pm the San Martin Theatre Contemporary Ballet will be staging the 8 Estaciones Ballet (8 Seasons), a show that alternates each of Vivaldi´s 4 Seasons with the Piazzola versions. Av. Corrientes 1530, Downtown. 0800-333-5254.

Head to the Casa Nacional del Bicentenario where a special exhibit showcasing the transformation of Buenos Aires through images and documents is being held until the end of February. Opening Hours: Tue-Sun from 3pm-9pm. Riobamba 985, Montserrat.

In the evening head to Notorious for the Friday jazz jam starting at 12pm. Av. Callao 966, Recoleta. 4813-6888.

 

Long Weekend

(Photo by puroticorico)

On Saturday at 6pm, renowned folkloric singer El Chaqueño Palavecino will be staging a live show at Club GEBA. Av. Cnel. Marcelino E. Freyre and Av. Dorrego Saavedra.

On Saturday at 8pm the Colón Theatre Philharmonic will be staging a free show at Parque Centenario in Caballito. Tickets must be picked up in advance on Thursday the 23rd, and Friday the 24th from 11am-7pm at Casa de la Cultura on Av. De Mayo 575. There are 1600 available tickets, and each person will get 2.

The last carnival festivities will be held during Saturday and Sunday.   A series of street parades called murgas, a carnival tradition including rhythmic drums and costumes, will be celebrating around town starting 7pm. In Palermo they will be setting up at Darwin between Honduras and Gorriti and in San Telmo they will be at San Juan and Tacuarí. A map with other murga locations is available here.

On Sunday at 7pm a musical about the Argentine flag will be held at the Planetarium in Palermo. Av. Sarmiento and Belisario Roldán.

Monday is a one time national holiday as the country celebrates the bicentennial anniversary of the creation of the Argentine flag.

Buenos Aires Nightlife on Carnival Weekend

(Photo by olmo calvo)

Friday 17th

Throughout Carnival weekend a series of street parades called murgas, a carnival tradition including rhythmic drums and costumes, will be celebrating around town starting 7pm. In Palermo they will be setting up at Darwin between Honduras and Gorriti and in San Telmo they will be at San Juan and Tacuarí. A map with other murga locations is available here.

Sandino Bar will be hosting a Back to the 80´s party starting at 11.30pm. Bolivar 624, San Telmo.

Babel Orkesta- This original group merges sounds from different cultures and forms a lively identity of its own. Their colorful and playful aesthetic is perfect to start getting into the Carnival mood. Ciudad Cultural Konex- Sarmiento 3131, Abasto- 4864-3200 – 12.30pm

Saturday 18th

La Boca Milonga at Vuelta de Rocha- starting at 6pm a special milonga featuring Adriana Varela, Max Van de Voorde and Solange Acosta will be held at the Vuelta de Rocha in La Boca.

Babel Orkesta– This original group merges sounds from different cultures and forms a lively identity of its own. Their colorful and playful aesthetic is perfect to start getting into the Carnival mood. Ciudad Cultural Konex- Sarmiento 3131, Abasto- 4864-3200 – 12.30pm

Throughout Carnival weekend a series of street parades called murgas, a carnival tradition including rhythmic drums and costumes, will be celebrating around town starting 7pm. In Palermo they will be setting up at Darwin between Honduras and Gorriti and in San Telmo they will be at San Juan and Tacuarí. A map with other murga locations is available here.

Sunday 19th

La Bomba del Tiempo- This percussion orchestra has gained quite a reputation for their upbeat shows full of rhythm. They will be staging a show at 7pm in the Anfiteatro Parque de la Costa, Tigre.

Fiesta Bubamara- These parties have become famous in Buenos Aires. Balkan music and lots of upbeat dancing are on the carnival weekend menu starting at midnight! Groove, Av. Sta Fe 4389, Palermo.

 Grito de Carnival en Buenos Aires- Those looking for serious Brazilian dancing are sure to find what they’re looking for at the Carnival party that will be held in Sala Siranush starting 11pm. Armenia 1353, Palermo. 4775-2678.

Throughout Carnival weekend a series of street parades called murgas, a carnival tradition including rhythmic drums and costumes, will be celebrating around town starting 7pm. In Palermo they will be setting up at Darwin between Honduras and Gorriti and in San Telmo they will be at San Juan and Tacuarí. A map with other murga locations is available here.

Monday 20th

La Bomba del Tiempo- This percussion orchestra has gained quite a reputation for their upbeat shows full of rhythm. They will be playing at Ciudad Cultural Konex 7pm and then continuing the party late into the night. . Ciudad Cultural Konex- Sarmiento 3131, Abasto- 4864-3200.

Throughout Carnival weekend a series of street parades called murgas, a carnival tradition including rhythmic drums and costumes, will be celebrating around town starting 7pm. In Palermo they will be setting up at Darwin between Honduras and Gorriti and in San Telmo they will be at San Juan and Tacuarí. A map with other murga locations is available here.

Fiesta Clandestina Especial Carnaval- This carnival foam party will guarantee a whole lot of fun with available costumes and surprise live acts. The party starts at 11pm at Groove. Av. Santa Fe 4389, Palermo.

Fiesta de Carnaval Mistico– Carnival festivities will also be taking center stage at Niceto Club starting at 11.45pm. Humboldt 1356 – Palermo.

Tuesday

Throughout Carnival weekend a series of street parades called murgas, a carnival tradition including rhythmic drums and costumes, will be celebrating around town starting 7pm. In Palermo they will be setting up at Darwin between Honduras and Gorriti and in San Telmo they will be at San Juan and Tacuarí. A map with other murga locations is available here.

Buenos Aires Shakespeare Festival

(Photo by tonynetone)

Throughout the week, until Sunday the 19th, the city will be celebrating the famous English playwright at the 2nd annual Shakespeare festival. Free activities including calligraphy lessons, performances, workshops, and more will be held in different venues and theatres around the city. Additionally there will be a recreation of a medieval village in Buenos Aires Polo Circo (on Combate de los Pozos and Juan de Garay streets) where visitors will be able to enjoy Elizabethan designs, archery, dancing, cuisine, amongst other attractions. Information on activities and theatre productions during the Shakespeare Festival are available here.

Carnival Festivities in Argentina

(Photo by Paula Silva)

Brazil is the first destination that comes to mind when Carnival season arrives, however colorful festivities take place in most South American countries. Since carnival weekend is coming up we share with you some of the most effervescent alternatives in Argentina.

Gualeguaychu, Entre Rios: The Gualeguaychu Carnaval festival, in the province of Entre Rios to the North of Buenos Aires, is the most popular in Argentina. It is similar to the Brazilian Carnival and also includes a spectacular parade with choreographies, and fancy costumes.

Corrientes:  In the Corrientes province, which limits both with Entre Rios and Brazil, the carnival is also celebrated with big productions and a lot of street dancing. Some of the best places to go for the Corrientes festivities are Paso de los Libres (where there is a bridge connecting to Brazil), Goya, Santo Tomé, Esquina, Monte Caseros, Curuzú Cuatiá and Empedrado.

Salta: The Salta carnival is a showy display of dancing and feathers but also of  indigenous traditions related to harvest rituals. Water is one of the protagonists of the Salta festivities as it represents purification. It is not uncommon to end up soaking wet from unexpected water filled balloons and buckets. In the Calchaquí Valley, after the water games and street festivities, “carnavaleros” gather in someone’s house to have abundant lunches. In the evening dancing takes place at parties where flour and confetti is thrown. Finally, the carnival is buried on a Sunday. A hole is dug in the ground and the pullcay, a doll that symbolizes carnival, is buried whilst people sing, dance and cry.

Jujuy: The Jujuy and the Bolivian carnival have a lot in common. In the Quebrada de Humahuaca there is a predominant representation of demons that animate the festival. Costumes including masks with horns are accessorized with necklaces made of fruits, onions,  and goat cheese, amongst other edibles. These demons also carry traditional instruments and go around the city enticing the public to dance and participate. Finally the carnaval is buried in the afternoon on the outskirts of the village. Since they only like participation from those who are culturally linked with the celebration it is difficult to learn where the burial will occur. At the burial they dance and reverence the symbolic devil, surrounded by offerings of fruits, coca leaves, and chicha. Once the burial is finished those dressed up as demons quickly change back into their clothes.

In other Argentine provinces there are also Carnival festivities, but not to the same degree of those previously mentioned. In Buenos Aires it is common to run into murgas, learn more about them here.

Buenos Aires Love Stories

(Photo by Raverken)

One of the city’s most famous love stories (which may or may not be true) tells of a rivalry born out of an unapproved romance.  Back in the 1930’s one of the Kavanagh girls fell in love with an aristocratic young man of the powerful Anchorena family. Since the Kavanagh were rich but not aristocrats, the Anchorena family rejected the girl.

In revenge, Corina Kavanagh, who is rumored to have been the girl’s mother, commissioned the famous art deco building in the Retiro neighborhood. The skyscraper was strategically built to block the view of the stunning Santisimo Sacramento church which had been built by the very ctaholic Anchorena family. Since then, the only way to get a look at it is from the private road on the side of the Kavanagh building.

Marcelo Torcuato de Alvear is an important political figure in Argentine history. Born into a powerful aristocratic family he later became president of Argentina in 1922. One of the things he is remembered for is his love story with Regina Pacini, a talented Portuguese opera singer.

The story says he fell in love with her the first time he saw her sing in 1889, so he sent her red and white roses and a gold and diamond bracelet. Apparently used to male flattery, Regina returned the bracelet and left for Europe. The young Alvear, however, was not to be so easily dissuaded. He took off for Europe as well, where he followed her everywhere she sang and filled her dressing rooms with red and white roses. In 1903, after years of running after her, he finally proposed and she accepted on the condition that he would allow her to sing for four more years before settling down.  Finally, on the 29th of April of 1907, they got married in secret at 7am in Portugal. The crowd, which was expecting them at 9, was surprised to find a Police man and maid getting wed instead! Their marriage lasted until Alvear died in 1942. Despite being rudely shunned by the Argentine aristocracy, Elisa remained loyal to her beloved husband throughout their lives.  She visited him regularly when he was imprisoned in Isla Martin Garcia, defying the weather to bring him clothes and food, and visited his tomb with a bouquet of red and white roses on the 23rd of every month until her dying day in 1965.

The Recoleta Cemetery is full of love stories, tragedies and romantic legends. Amongst them is the story of Liliana Crociati who died on her honeymoon in Innsbruck. On the same day, Sabu, her dog,  also died.  Her vault, decorated with photographs and other belongings, is guarded by a sculpture of her in her wedding dress and her dog close by. The groom was never located, but it is rumored that a mysterious man comes around her grave ocasionally to leave her flowers.

Also buried in the cemetery is Elisa Brown. The young woman awaited the return of her fiancée Frances Drummond who fought against Brazil under the command of Admiral Brown (Elisa’s father) but he never made it home. On his death bed, the young commander handed a watch for the admiral to give to Elisa. The young woman, devastated by the tragic news, is said to have drowned herself in the Rio de la Plata in her wedding dress to be reunited with the soul of her lover.

This Week in Buenos Aires

Monday

(Photo by capitu)

Indulge in decadent 5 O clock tea at Las Violetas in Almagro and then dance those cakes off at La Bomba del Tiempo, a percussion orchestra that has become one of the local absolute musts. Centro Cultural Konex, Sarmiento 3131, Abasto, 4864-3200.

Tuesday

(Photo by Edgardo Schener)

In the spirit of Valentines Day why not get to know the city from a romantic viewpoint? Smile on Sea offers a special romantic sailing trips that depart from Puerto Madero, and Soul Trips offer a similar service in Tigre although on a motorboat with candlelight, drinks and snacks.

In the evening don’t miss out on the special Valentines Day tasting menu at Hernan Gipponi Restaurant. More information here. Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220-6820. info@hgrestaurant.com.ar.

Wednesday

(Photo by photoAtlas)

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 head to Italian trattoria Ill Ballo del Mattone for some pastas and jazz, swing and bossa nova music! Gorriti 5950, Palermo. 47768648. reservas@ilballo.tv

Thursday

(Photo by iggykaser)

The Museo de Arte Decorativo is showcasing a special exhibit on Russian Icons and art from Tibet. Additionally the museums marvelous collection of European and Oriental paintings and sculptures, the great hall and the impressive staircase make it well worth a visit.  Av.del Libertador 1902, Recoleta.  4801-8248. Tuesdays to Sundays from 2.00pm to 7.00pm.  Guided tours in English are available every day at 2pm.

For a unique evening, book your place at 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. Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220-6800.

Friday

(Photo by gnackgnackgnack)

A visit to the ethnographic museum is a great way to learn more about the country’s indigenous identity and ethnic background. Opening hours: Tue-Fri 1pm-7pm, Sat-Sun 3pm-7pm Sat-Sun from 3pm-7pm. Moreno 350, San Telmo, 4345-8196/97.

Later on stop by Centro Cultural Konex for a unique experience in the dark. Dialogo en la Oscuridad is an international exhibit where the senses are rediscovered.  The public is guided in absolute darkness through different scenarios and learns to perceive every day life in a different way.  Open Tue-Sun 5pm-10pm. Sarmiento 3131, Abasto. 4864 3200.

Saturday and Sunday

(Photo by ARACELOTA)

The Italian Filarmonica Clown will be staging Amleto Avvisato Mezzo Salvato at the Shakespeare festival starting 8.30pm at Buenos Aires Polo Circo. Combate de los Pozos 1700, corner. Av. Garay, Capital Federal. More information here.

On Saturday evening, starting at 6.30pm a special milonga featuring Adriana Varela, Max Van de Voorde and Solange Acosta will be held at the Vuelta de Rocha in La Boca.

Don´t miss the festive Bubamara party being held at Groove on Sunday. Balkan music and lots of upbeat dancing are on the carnaval weekend menu! Av. Sta Fe 4389, Palermo.  Sunday starting at middnight.