South America is quickly becoming a gastronomic hub of the world with it’s selection of wine, seafood and cocktails. Our Travel Consultant Amanda Bennett recently travelled through Chile and Argentina with Intrepid Travel, and shares some of culinary delights you can enjoy in these two countries.
As much as I love the museums and galleries, food is how I really immerse myself into the region that I’ve been fortunate enough to visit. I will rarely say no to trying a new food, although I prefer to find out what something is after I’ve ingested it. This is why I tried fried cow intestine in Buenos Aires, (my inability to say no). Chile and Argentina is no different; food plays an important part in their cultures and both countries offered delightful culinary treats. Of all the meals we ate, I can’t say a single bad thing about the food and drinks we were able to try. From the delicious and fresh fish ceviche in Chile, to the home made gelato in Mendoza, to the BBQ sausage in Buenos Aires, everything was fresh and delicious. Here’s just a few highlights:
Empanadas are a wonderful South American food that I was able to try in both Chile and Argentina and each country and even region of the country adds their own spin to empanadas. The empanadas that we had in Chile were huge, about the size of my hand, with a fully boiled egg in the middle and raisins and olives mixed in with the stewed beef. In Argentina, the empanadas were smaller, more akin to a perogy or dumpling. The most popular empanada is stuffed with beef and onions and the Argentina’s are happy to showcase the delicious meat they’re famous for in their empanadas. After many (many) delicious beef empanadas, I highly enjoyed the other flavours we were able to try; shredded chicken, spinach and cheese, and pork. Empanadas are a readily available and highly delicious snack that no trip to South America would be complete without.
The Red wine throughout Chile and Argentina is amazing. If you’re lucky enough to be anywhere near Mendoza, then you need to do a winery tour. The winery’s make some of the best wine in the world, specifically the Malbec wine which the region is famous for. A lot of the wine they produce, they don’t sell outside of the country. Mendoza is a great city in the wine region and also have great restaurants scattered throughout the town with wine menus the size of your arm to coordinate with your meal.
If you’re a vegetarian, one would think that it would be a difficult to survive in the country that is known for it’s beef. However there were times, I found myself getting food envy with the vegetarian dishes that came out for the non-meat eaters in our group. But the red meat was sensational, it was top quality and the pricing was affordable too! Every restaurant offers a Malbec that is complimentary to the steak. I enjoyed my week long red meat and red wine extravaganza.
This delightful little dessert, made of biscuits with Dulce du Leche in the middle and coated with chocolate (my favourite), is widely found throughout Argentina and is worth trying especially with a cafe au lait, sitting in one of the many al fresco cafes lining the boulevards of Argentina. You can buy these little treats in bulk and take them back with you as a great souvenir. The most popular brand that you see everywhere is the Havanna Brand which is an Argentinian company. They come wrapped in gold and silver foil and can be plain or coated in chocolate.
The Local Cocktails
Enjoying the food is one thing, but another way to get into the culture is to enjoy the local libations. Pisco Sours are found throughout South America and if you’re travelling to a couple countries, it’s fun to try each countries version of the cocktail. Fernet is a bitter spirit that is definitly an acquired taste, however the best way to start acquiring the taste is to order a fernet and coke. Fernet is normally considered a digestive for after your heavy steak meal, so this is a great drink to end the night on.
There were so many things that were amazing about my Intrepid trip from Santiago to Buenos Aires; from the people in my group, the places we were able to see, to the food we were able to taste. What made it so sensational was that everyone in my group loved food and loved trying new things and there is no better way to travel then with like minded people.
For more information on travelling with Intrepid Travel or to Chile and Argentina, contact Amanda Bennett or your local Flight Centre travel agent, call us at 1-877-967-5302, or visit your closest Flight Centre store.