The Argentinian tradition
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Thinking about the moments that make every journey unique, it is difficult to forget those that take place around a table. A journey in every sense of the word. With the extraordinary mix of cultures in Argentina, the country’s gastronomy is finding itself and constantly reinventing itself, influenced by the cultural diversity that this continent represents as well as (and in particular) by its Italian and Spanish origins.
If there is one ingredient that would be impossible to invent and that represents the full sharing nature of what is known in South Africa as a ‘braai’ or ‘barbecue’ but here is called an ‘asado’, it would be the protagonists themselves, the part of the process that makes this gathering unique, even before we get to the meat chosen for the meal.
In Argentina, an ‘asado’ represents a particular moment during which guests choose their cuts, to then be gently cooked over a bed of embers carefully positioned to enable a long cooking time, allowing the full character of the meat selected to seep into vegetables such as potatoes cooked with vines, grilled peppers with an egg, or sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Attentive, meticulously prepared cooking by the ‘asador’, the sole master of the embers and meal’s atmosphere.
Remember that you are without a doubt at the foot of the mountains, and that this moment of sharing harks back to the famous ‘gauchos’, the cowboys of the Andes. A magical atmosphere and universe packed with songs accompanied by guitar beside the fire. A place where everyone is welcome. The simplicity of the moment above all else.
Whilst the structure of Argentinian wines calls for a particular gastronomic fibre alongside it, our Piedra Negra Gran Malbec from the Chacayes terroir would doubtless go beautifully with the salt, pepper and structure of a 600g piece of meat. We can stay generous if they do!
Custom dictates that before starting the meal, guests applaud the ‘asador’, without touching on your T-bone or our chipolatas or merguez. All that remains is the simple, humble people at the foot of the Andes, where nothing is more important than respect for and the silence of the embers.
Knives at the ready!
By Vincent Fauh – graphic designer