The G20 Series: Argentina

6 Jun

Interview by Chris Garbutt

The first stop in our G20 tour is Argentina. We’ve discussed Argentine food before, on the topic of an Argentine-American tradition called Magic Gnocchi Night. But since my own sister-in-law Sophie was in Buenos Aires only a month ago, I thought I would grill her on what she ate on her trip. Here is our brief conversation.

Had you ever eaten an Argentine dish before?

No, but I kept hearing about beef so I was interested in comparing their beef to the Texan beef. It’s all about the beef in Argentina and they enjoy telling you any chance they get. The annual consumption of beef in Argentina is 220lbs per capita.

Did you have any expectations before you left?

I had no expectations, except that I was interested to compare – you guessed it – the beef. And to see what our Texan friends thought.

What did you eat there?

A lot of beef… Aside from what seemed like a typical dish: beef with a side of pumpkin and eggplant that were sauteed or roasted (delicious). On some occasions, the beef or pork or lamb was cooked on an open BBQ pit.

What stood out?

I realize that I speak of beef quite a bit, but the quality really was outstanding. They take a lot of pride in their cattle. Not sure how true this is, but we heard many times that the first settlers arrived with seven cows and one bull and that was the beginning of cattle farming in Argentina. That and Argentines realize that feedlot cattle do not taste nearly as good as the naturally fed ones.

The other thing that stood out was the excellent Malbec wine. There really wasn’t one red that we didn’t like. The whites were very okay. I wish I knew more about wine to elaborate, but the wine tasted great on its own and wonderful with a meal.

The cocktail of Argentina is the Pisco Sour. Pisco is Argentina’s tequila. The drink is made with pisco, egg whites, lemon or lime, regional bitters and simple syrup. Very light, fresh cocktail  that reminded me of a margarita.

So how did the beef compare with Texas? What did your Texan friends think?

The Texans were mighty impressed! Everyone agreed that the Argentines know what they are doing with beef and wine. We all agreed that we’d love to return and make a side trip (a 2 1/2 hour flight) to Mendosa – wine country. And also try the regional cuisine.

Is there anything you didn’t get to try?

I didn’t try enough of the Argentine BBQ. Very famous, open pit with a multitude of meats grilling. Often, you would see the pit at the front of the restaurant, next to the entry, I guess to entice you.

Are you going to try (or have you already tried) any Argentine recipes now that you’re back?

I actually couldn’t wait to take a break from all the beef I consumed, but that isn’t to say I wouldn’t be interested in trying more Argentine cuisine. Our tour guide was asked about fish given that Buenos Aires is situated on a delta that flows into the Atlantic. She said that most Argentines love their beef and she recalls being forced to eat fish once a week growing up. We started wondering if she was working for the beef industry or something, because she went on about it!


One Response to “The G20 Series: Argentina”


  1. The G20 Series: Brazil « Pan Magazine - June 12, 2010

    […] – Brazil is diverse both in its geography and its people, and therefore its cuisines. Like Argentina, Brazil produces and eats a lot of beef. Unfortunately, cattle are responsible for the majority of […]

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