Editor’s Note: This post is written and provided by Peter J.
Even though a lot of my friends and family absolutely adore wine, I was a bit late to the party. For as long as I can remember I’ve been a big food lover, eager to try out as many local dishes as possible on my travels. However, if someone mentioned Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Shiraz or Merlot, I was always completely lost.
When I finally booked a trip to South America, I knew this would probably change. In addition to the famed Argentine steaks I’d heard so much about, this was an opportunity to fall in love with wine, from the high-altitude Malbec plantings in Mendoza, to the Bonarda varieties found in San Juan and La Rioja.
If you want to truly immerse yourself in Argentina’s food culture, you might consider going on a culinary tour. One notable destination is the colonial town of Salta, which has a great deal of fresh produce on offer including avocados, peppers, spices and gourds.
Traditional Andean cooking classes are also a fantastic way of gaining a unique insight into how the most popular dishes are prepared and put together.
However, for the most authentic experience, I suggested getting amongst the numerous restaurants and eateries scattered across Buenos Aires, particularly in Palermo Viejo and San Telmo.
You’ll probably need to book in advance, but I highly recommend La Cabrera. This former general store serves the best steaks in the city, which are cooked to perfection. A plethora of side dishes are also available and the service from a team of friendly staff is second to none.
Although I was previously unaware of this world-renowned region, the vineyards of Mendoza need no introduction to wine lovers. After visiting the wineries of Salentine in Uco Valley and Ruca Malen in the picturesque foothills of the Andes, I have officially been converted.
For something a little different, a trip to the Calingasta, Ullum and Zonda departments of San Juan is well worth it. In addition to its premium Syrah and Douce noir wine, the region also has a history of producing most of Argentina’s brandy and vermouth.
Image by departing(YYZ) used under creative commons licence