Unlike other South American cuisines, the cuisine of Argentina has distinctive Spanish, French and Italian influences. Remarkably, Argentina is one of the world’s largest food producers and is particularly known for their production of beef. Therefore, red meat is a major component of the Argentine diet.
The “asado” (barbecue) is a traditional form of cooking meat, and all kinds of proteins are grilled. “Chimichurri” is a sauce made from herbs, garlic and vinegar is a common condiment to barbecued meats. Meats are also prepared “milanesa” style, thinly sliced then breaded and fried.
The gaucho heritage of Argentina once made its mark on the culinary scene, but has for the most part faded out. Only a few dishes remain from this once popular lifestyle: “asado” and “dulce de leche” are two dishes that remain distinctly gaucho in origin.
The Spanish influence on the cuisine in Argentina is best represented by the consumption of “empanadas”. “Empanadas” remain a popular street food as well as a culturally important dish.
While grilled meat certainly forms a large part of the Argentine diet, they consume vast amounts of pasta, in noodles, ravioli and cannelloni forms. Pasta dishes are usually accompanied by white bread be
cause the pasta sauces are heavy and almost stew-like in consistency. These hearty dishes are found on many restaurant menus alongside grilled meat offerings.
Argentina is the world’s fifth largest producer of wine, and continues to produce stunning Malbec wines that are enjoyed throughout the country. “Mate” is an herbal infused beverage that is prepared in a very distinct kind of ‘tea pot’. It traditionally uses dried yerba mate leaves steeped in hot water. This is the country’s national beverage while Fernet-Baranca mixed with cola, is the national cocktail. Fernet-Baranca is an Italian bitter liqueur that that tastes much like medicinal cough medicine. Cerveza Quilmes is a popular brand of beer that is produced in Argentina, and many consider it to be the country’s national beer.
Argentina is a country with a rich culinary heritage that they has evolved into a kind of cuisine that is distinctly their own. Foods are simply prepared without much spice and the international culinary community has come to recognize Argentine cuisine as a leader in its own right.