Argentine Talents: José Larralde

Argentine folklore is characterized for its poetic representation of the land and the local people. Talented songwriters and singers have helped to configure the identity of indigenes and gauchos, rivers and birds, and the ever-present Argentine nostalgia of farewell. One of the most low-key and yet stunning voices of the local folklore scene is José Larralde, who has recorded over twenty records since the late sixties, dealing with themes of injustice and inequality. The singer and songwriter has also worked as a construction worker, mechanic, and rural worker amongst other jobs that colored his music with the experience of the common working man.

International Artisans Fair

(Photo by JOSE-MARIA MORENO GARCIA = FOTOGRAFO HUMANISTA)

The annual international artisans fair is taking place at La Rural in Palermo until the 9th of December, and it is a great opportunity to purchase beautifully crafted objects, art and decorations and to watch the talented artisans at work.

The fair exhibits traditional, regional, artisanal pieces from Latin America and around the world, and more contemporary displays. It is divided into sections offering pottery, basketwork, knives, leather goods, clothes, musical instruments, jewelry, games, woodwork, pieces crafted in metals, paper, knits, textiles, glass and more. Additionally, there are specially selected pieces that are awarded for their craftsmanship.

If you´re looking for a unique silver encrusted mate to take home, marvel at the meticulous weavers, or think a charango would make a great Christmas present, then a visit to this fair is a must. Tickets cost 26 pesos and opening hours are from 3pm to 10pm.  Av. Sarmiento 2704, Palermo.

The Rules of Mate Brewing

(Photo by juanpol)

The world of mate is full of tradition and there are many details to keep in mind for this typical beverage to come out just right.

1. The preparation stage of the mate is crucial. To do so properly fill ¾ of the gourd with ‘yerba’ and then place the palm of your hand over the gourd and shake it. You should find some fine mate powder covering your palm. Once you have done this one or two times insert the mate straw on one of the sides of the gourd and don’t move it.

2. Rule of thumb: never brew a mate with boiling water. The water should be hot, between 85-95 C. If the water is boiling it will burn the yerba and destroy its flavor. Plus, if you’re around experienced mate drinkers they will never look at you the same again!

3. One of the most annoying things that happens when a mate isn’t well prepared is that the straw gets clogged. This usually happens when the dust isn’t shaken out (step 1) or when the straw is moved around once its been placed. The straw should be still, in the same place from start to finish.

 4. Another thing to avoid is blowing on the straw to cool it or unclog it. This is inconsiderate to others in the mate round and not very hygienic. The same goes for salivating the straw. Placing your dry lips on it should be enough to enjoy the beverage.

5. Finally, change the ‘yerba’ once its lost its taste , don’t insist on drinking a washed out mate, and never pass a washed out mate on to the next person unless you wish to insult them!

A few things to keep in mind:

The mate gourd must be cured before it can be used or it will tinge the mate with a foul taste. To do so wash it out well with hot water until the water is clear and free of pigments from the wood. Then fill the gourd with yerba up to the top and pour hot water on it. Leave it overnight and wash again well.

When sharing mates with others a few basics must be taken into account; the mate brewer, who must brew the mates for everyone in the round, must drink the first mate to make sure it’s ok, the mate should never be passed on once water has gotten cold and everyone’s turn must be respected.

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.

 

Wine Regions of Argentina: La Rioja

(Photo by pablodf)

Although Mendoza is Argentina’s top wine region, La Rioja, is one of the oldest and has the longest continued history of wine production in the country.  The Spanish-named province was planted with grapes by Jesuit missionaries who settled there in the 16th century, and is the main producer of our white, crisp Torrontés Riojano, an indigenous grape from which truly local wine is made.

The main winemaking area in La Rioja is Chilecito where the Famatina Valley is located. The high altitude, low humidity, the sandy loam soils and sunny weather make this an ideal place for viticulture with Torrontés Riojano and Bonarda as the main cultivated varieties, although Muscat of Alexandria, Pinot Grigio, Malbec and Syrah are also thriving in the area. Other interesting wine producing areas are Nonogasta, Vichigasta, Anillaco, and Famatina, representing roughly 3,7% of the total area with vineyards in Argentina.

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.

This Week in Buenos Aires

Monday

(Photo by Luis Muñoz)

Head to La Rural in Palermo to check out Expotrastiendas Art Fair, organized by the Argentine association of art galleries.

In the evening don’t miss out on La Bomba del Tiempo a percussion orchestra that has become one of the local absolute musts.  For some great post dancing pizza, head to nearby Los Cocos and order a fugazetta pizza, an onion and mozzarella local specialty.

 

Expotrastiendas at La Rural

Av. Santa Fe 4201, Palermo

 

La Bomba del Tiempo at Centro Cultural Konex

Sarmiento 3131, Abasto

4864-3200

 

Los Cocos

Córdoba, Av. 3303, Almagro

4963-0457

 

Tuesday

(Photo by reflectification)

Take a guided tour in English at 11am or 4pm of the spectacular Congress Palace.

In the evening the centric and hip Le Bar is serving some of the best drinks in town, and also showcasing a interesting photography exhibit by Pix Talarico.

 

Palacio de Congreso

Hipólito Yrigoyen 1849, Downtown

Tours available Mon, Tue, Thus, Fri at 11am and 4pm.

 

Le Bar

Tucuman 422, Downtown

5219-0858

 

Wednesday

(Photo by Mellagi)

ANDA Responsible Travel is a tour agency that promotes social and environmentally friendly tourism.  One of the alternatives they offer is booking one of their experts to discuss in-depth economy, politics, history and culture of Argentina over coffee.  Choose one of the city’s historical cafes and get into context.  More information here.

In the evening get your dose of tango at Centro Cultural Torquato Tasso where orchestra Ojos de Tango will be playing at 21.30.

 

Centro Cultural Torquato Tasso

Defensa 1575, San Telmo

4307 6506

 

Thursday

(Photo by Luciano Belviso)

For those of you interested in economics and Argentine economic history, head to the Museum of External Debt where you can find out more about the economic evolution of the country. Audio guides in English are offered.

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.

Jazz fans will get a special treat on Thursday evening as the John Scofield Quartet will be playing at the Gran Rex Theatre starting 9.30pm. Tickets available here.

 

Museum of External Debt

José E. Uriburu 781, 1st floor, Downtown.

4374-4448

Open: Mon-Fri 11am-7pm

 

Fierro Hotel Buenos Aires

Soler 5862, Palermo

3220-6800

 

Teatro Gran Rex

Corrientes 857, Downtown.

4322-8000

 

Friday

(Photo by Jackie_oh)

Weather forecasts anticipate a warm sunny day, ideal for a walk in the ecological reserve in Puerto Madero where you can get the best view of the city!

In the evening head to aphrodisiac restaurant Te Mataré Ramirez where a free temporary exhibit of contemporary art is being displayed from 8.30pm onwards. Staying for a rather expensive dinner with an erotic puppet show is also an option.

 

Ecological Reserve

Av. Tristán Achával Rodriguez 1550

4315-4129

Open: Tue-Sun 8am-6pm

Saturday and Sunday

 

Te Mataré Ramirez

Gorriti 5054, Palermo

4831-9156

 

Saturday and Sunday

(Photo by capitanbar)

Head to the off the beaten path Caballito neighborhood where you can visit the natural sciences museum, a large market (Mercado del Progreso) and take a ride on antique trams.

Wine Regions of Argentina – Patagonia

(Photo by ARACELOTA)

The Patagonian landscape is well known for it’s beauty, and tales of  dwarfs, gnomes and fairies. More recently however, the country’s Southern region is becoming increasingly known for brining promising new wines to the country’s viticultural industry.

Due a lower latitude and altitude, the area is very different from the northern Mendoza, San Juan and Salta regions and much cooler. Additionally many of the vineyards lie on the Patagonian dessert which receive irrigation from the a canal system providing water from the Colorado,  Rio Negro and Neuquen rivers.

The two main wine making areas in the South, Rio Negro and the more recently developed Neuquen, are acquiring a name for producing the exclusive Pinot Noir grape, as well as other grapes such as Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Semillon which are also acquiring a great reputation.

This unique wine making area of Argentina is undoubtedly very different from the traditional viticulural regions, however  and although it is still developing, it is proving to be a promising land for top quality wine production.

For a special sample of Argentine wines, accompanied by snacks from HG Restaurant, book your place at our exclusive weekly tastings every Thursday starting at 7PM at Fierro Hotel.  Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220 6800. recepcion@fierrohotel.com.