If our easy itineraries piqued your interest in a trip to spectacular Argentina, then this run down of its food scene might just nudge you into booking that dream holiday. There’s everything from meat feasts to delicious sweet treats – and, of course, beautiful wines to wash it all down with.
Argentina’s main wine region is Mendoza, where long rows of green vines are irrigated by pure snow-melt from the majestic Andes. Add sunny days and cool nights, and the conditions are ideal for producing award-winners.
From super-stylish Cavas Wine Lodge you can book a guide and driver to take you on a tour of local wineries, or you could hop on a bike and navigate your own way, stopping for lunch at a bodega (remember to book ahead). There are big names like Familia Zuccardi, where you can help with the harvest, and smaller ones such as Tempus Alba, whose superb tours are run by the dedicated family wine makers. Leave space for dinner back at the lodge, whose restaurant is one of the best in the region; the modern Latin American cuisine is superb, expertly matched with wines, and best enjoyed on the terrace with vineyard views.
Alternatively, head to the Valles Calchaquíes in the North West’s Salta region to sample aromatic white wines and fine reds produced at high altitude.
Argentina is famed for its beef, which is largely reared on the rolling green pastures of the Pampas under the expert eye of horse-riding gauchos. It’s best enjoyed in a traditional parrilla (steakhouse), of which there are hundreds in Buenos Aires. The concierge staff at Home Hotel in trendy Palermo Hollywood pride themselves on giving insider tips, and will direct you off the well-beaten tourist path towards places preferred by locals. We loved Don Julio for its mouth-watering steaks and glasses of fine Malbec.
Another one for meat-lovers is the asado – a traditional barbecue where succulent cuts are cooked on an open fire. One of the highlights of our stay at Don Puerto Bemberg Lodge, a rustic but luxurious lodge near the famous Iguazú Falls, was tucking into a barbecue feast on the edge of the private nature reserve under a blanket of stars.
If you want to ride and feast like a gaucho, horse rides out from working Patagonian cattle ranch Estancia Huechahue often include a stop for an asado.
Tropical river fish can be found (and eaten!) in the north-eastern corner of the country. We weren’t disappointed when we picked the tender pacu fish on the menu at Don Puerto Bemberg Lodge. It has a distinctive sweet flavour, as the fish feed on berries which fall into the water.
On the forested shores of Argentina’s Lake District sits the town of Bariloche, which is famed for its ice cream. We’ve heard that Helados Jauja serves the best, although we like the idea of doing an ice cream-parlour crawl to sample them all. In Buenos Aires, the best parlour is family-run Rapa Nui Heladería, where you’ll find 8 types of dulce de leche alone. This deliciously sweet and sticky Argentine speciality is used in all kinds of cooking and baking, or just smothered on toast – yum.
Something a little different
Founded by Welsh pioneers in the 19th century, the towns of Trelew and Gaimán in Argentine Patagonia are home to quaint brick chapels and houses, as well as traditional tea rooms selling Welsh teas – quite a surprise in such a remote area of South America! The original and best is Plas y Coed in Gaimán.