Argentine Spice

(Photo by MacMANU)

Argentine cuisine is not particularly known for its spices, however, and despite the mild flavoring, there are some spices that are guaranteed to be present in the pantry of any an Argentine maiden or man. How else would the locals have come up with that delicious chimichurri?

Below are the five key spices of Argentine Cuisine:

Cayenne pepper: This red-hot spice is actually very typical and grows in the northern regions. It is used as one of the bases of chimichurri, and also added to meat empanadas, and other typical  dishes including locro.

Paprika: This Spanish pepper is always present in beef or chicken empanadas, locro, pot roasts and chicken stews (estofados) and other bodegon specials.

Oregano: Given the history of Italian immigration to the country it should come as no surprise that this savory herb be a part of the local cuisine. It is used for pizza of course, sprinkled on top of a halved tomato (a typical side dish) and more importantly for chimichurri.

Bay Leaf: Again the Mediterranean influence makes itself evident in the use of bay leaf in tomato sauces, slow cook stews and in chimichurri.

Nutmeg: Although less typical, this curious spice is ever present in the typical salsa blanca (white sauce) that accompanies corn and spinach dishes such as humita empanadas for example. It is also commonly used in pasta dishes, especially with ricotta fillings.

Long Weekend in Buenos Aires

(Photo by J-Cornelius)

The 9th of July is the Argentine Independence Day, so Monday will be a holiday. With the Caminos y Sabores taking place and the celebrations of the national festivity, the weekend promises to be full of tradition and local delicacies.

Saturday

Remember to make a reservation for Hernán Gipponi’s famous one of a kind brunch! Soler 5862,  Palermo Hollywood.  3220-6800.  info@hgrestaurant.com.ar.

There will be Armenian celebrations at Avenida de Mayo and Bolivar starting at midday. Typical food and dances will be on display.

The annual Caminos y Sabores  regional food fair is the perfect chance to get to know the culinary traditions from around the country. The fair takes place from the 6th to the 9th of July at La Rural in Palermo. Sarmiento 2704, Palermo

A new exhibit on renowned Peruvian artist Fernando Bryce is being held at the MALBA until the 20th of August. Avenida Figueroa Alcorta 3415, Recoleta.

At 4pm there will be a unique marimba presentation by Noriko Tsukagoshi at the Japanese Gardens. Book your place at 4804-9141 or at cultura@jardinjapones.org.ar. Av. Alcorta and Av. Caseres, Palermo.

Don’t miss the Colón Theatre’s production of La Sylphide (The Sylph). Choreography by Pierre Lacotte according to Filippo Taglioni, music by Jean-Madeleine Schneitzhoeffer, director- Javier Logioia.  3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th of July.  Tickets here.

Sunday

Remember to make a reservation for Hernán Gipponi’s famous one of a kind brunch, now served on Saturdays too! Soler 5862,  Palermo Hollywood.  3220-6800.  info@hgrestaurant.com.ar.

The annual Caminos y Sabores  regional food fair is the perfect chance to get to know the culinary traditions from around the country. The fair takes place from the 6th to the 9th of July at La Rural in Palermo. Sarmiento 2704, Palermo

A new exhibit on renowned Peruvian artist Fernando Bryce is being held at the MALBA until the 20th of August. Avenida Figueroa Alcorta 3415, Recoleta.

Starting at 4pm there will be a free eco/benefit concert, sponsored by Coca Cola at the Obelisk. The event will feature live music by local rock icon Vicentico and others, and will aim at collecting as many plastic bottles as possible from the crowds to later recycle them. The proceeds of the recycling of the bottles will go to providing water to a Santiago del Estero school.

Don’t miss the Colón Theatre’s production of La Sylphide (The Sylph). Choreography by Pierre Lacotte according to Filippo Taglioni, music by Jean-Madeleine Schneitzhoeffer, director- Javier Logioia.  3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th of July.  Tickets here.

Monday

Book your place for the special 9 de Julio brunch at Hernán Gipponi Restaurant. Soler 5862,  Palermo Hollywood.  3220-6800.  info@hgrestaurant.com.ar.

A new exhibit on renowned Peruvian artist Fernando Bryce is being held at the MALBA until the 20th of August. Avenida Figueroa Alcorta 3415, Recoleta.

From 11-8pm there will be patriotic celebrations at the Feria de Mataderos where a special folklore festival will be held for the occasion. Av. Lisandro de la Torre and Av. De los Corrales, Mataderos.

At the Peña del Colorado there will be a special folklore concert by  Tomás Lipan at 12.30pm. In the evening they will hold their weekly tango peña with a milonga lesson at 8.30 pm and the peña at 10pm. Guemes 3657, Palermo. 4822-1038.

From 8pm-10pm the popular drum orchestra La Bomba del Tiempo will  be holding their weekly percussion fest with special gusts  Richard Serranía and Lucas Kinoshita from Brazil and Marc Shulman from New York. Sarmiento 3131, Abasto.

Recommended Tours in Buenos Aires

(Photo by Jocelyn Mandryk)

 

Buenos Aires Local Tours: Buenos Aires Local Tours are free tours of Palermo, Abasto, Congreso and Plaza de Mayo and are a great way to get to know the city and the public transport system! Jonathan, the friendly Englishman in charge, takes visitors to both city landmarks and to lesser-known charmers that are often overlooked, with the purpose of showing the unseen side of the city. The tour is by foot, public bus and subway so some coins are needed but other than that there is no cost (although a well deserved tip is welcome).  The meeting point is the Garibaldi Statue in Plaza Italia at 11 am on Mondays through Saturdays. More information here.

San Telmo Art Walk: The San Telmo Art Walk is offered by Juanele every Tuesday and Thursday at 3pm and guides you through the who is who and what is what of these art-ridden streets. The three-hour walk includes a tour of both the street art and galleries. A great way to get to know the current Buenos Aires art scene whilst getting to know its charming old-style San Telmo neighborhood. More information here.

Foto Ruta: Professional photographer Jocelyn Mandryk (who took Fierro’s latest photographs) and her associate Becky Hayes have taken tourist photography to a whole new level on their Saturday Foto Ruta tours.  What they propose is to get to know the city from another point of view, taking their travelers through off the beaten path locations and setting creative guidelines for the photographs so that they can explore the local colors and characters through the lens from a new perspective, finding what they normally wouldn’t on a typical tourist location. An added element is brought to the experience as the tour group gathers towards the end, sharing and discussing the pictures and different interpretations of the guidelines.

The Foto Ruta tour runs every Saturday from 2pm-6pm and costs 100 pesos. Upcoming locations are listed on the Foto Ruta webpage.

Graffiti Mundo: Aiming to promote the urban art scene in Buenos Aires, Graffitimundo offers off the beaten path tours of the city’s street art. Group tours, Bike tours and Private tours are available for those interested in learning more about these unique murals and the political and social context behind them.  For those looking to get involved in the creative process itself they offer a great stencil workshop as well.

More information on Graffitimundo tours, workshops and local street artists here.

Argentina Polo Day: To really get to know Polo, and why not, play it, Argentina Polo Day have put together an excursion combining a taste of traditional foods and wines, relaxing and leisure by the pool and amidst nature, and of course horseback riding, polo lessons, polo matches and the chance to interact with some of the best local players and coaches.

Argentina Polo Day takes place in a countryside setting at just a 45-minute car ride away from Buenos Aires, and transportation can be arranged if needed. The tours run every day and must be booked in advance. More information here.

Cooking Tours with Teresita: Different cooking classes and food tours are offered in this bed and breakfast in the outskirts of the city. Whether its a short empanada lesson, a one day food tour or a chance to make asado you’re sure to enjoy this popular option, where you will be able to cook and sample delicious local food and wines. More information here.

The Man Tour: Landing Pad BA offers this exclusive tour for gentlemen in which the Caballito, Congreso and Belgrano neighborhoods are toured with special stops at a traditional barber for a hot lather and straight razor shave, at a hatter for a fitting using techniques and equipment from the 1920´s, and finally at a cigar bar for a complimentary drink and cigar. More information here.

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!)

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.

We Recommend: Cooking Classes in Buenos Aires

 

One of the best parts of traveling is trying the local food, and, for those who like to cook, discovering how to make it! Alfajores, empanadas, asado, locro stew, chimichurri sauce, dulce de leche, and pastries are all part of our traditional menu. We are sure you will enjoy tasting these savory meals and recommend you try making them by taking a cooking class in English.  Find some options below:

(Making empanadas by Scorbette37)

 

Cooking with Teresita:

Different cooking class options are offered in this bed and breakfast in the outskirts of the city. Whether its a short empanada lesson, a one day food tour or a chance to make asado you’re sure to enjoy this popular option, where you will be able to cook and sample delicious food and wines.

 

Contact:

http://www.try2cook.com

4293-5992

teresitabella@gmail.com

 

Argentine Cooking Clases

Norma is a warm and welcoming woman who teaches how to make empanadas, locro, and alfajores in her Saturday classes where you will also enjoy a great lunch with wine. The plus side is that her classes are in Belgrano.

 

Contact:

http://www.argentinecookingclasses.com/

nsoued@gmail.com

15 4470 2267

 

Cecilia D’Imperio

Certified chef, Cecilia D’Imperio, has been teaching cooking classes for twenty years having written books and articles as well. She teaches a variety of personalized courses and short seminars, which you can adapt to fit in your schedule.

 

Contact:

http://www.ceciliadeimperio.com

info@ceciliadeimperio.com

 

Other links:

How to Make a Typical Argentine Asado

How to Make Dulce de Leche

Rabbit Empanadas Recipe

Hernan Gipponi’s White Salmon with Sauteed Squid