Wednesday, September 07, 2005

La Comida

In the weeks prior to visiting Argentina my mouth endlessly watered at the prospect of the food that was to satisfy my South American appetites. I am therefore glad to say that have things certainly lived up to expectations and my Argentine meals most definitely count as one of my greatest pleasures.

The quality of the cuisine is nothing other than spectacular although I am inclined to be of the opinion that the variety is not as great as they like to boast. I honestly doubt that there is anything else to eat in the country other than the five main sources of pride which are fresh pastry, fresh pasta, pizza, ice-cream and the infamous Parrilla (Argentine Barbecue). This morning while dwelling upon this thought with friends I was shocked to calculate that I have eaten on average 8 pizzas a week which they saw as being perfectly normal and not at all monotonous. Here in Buenos Aires there is never a wrong time for pizza and so crawling home at 6 am from any normal Saturday night party you will spot the drunk, stoned and sober hungrily unified over yet another margarita.

The Parilla, a cultural experience in itself, is enjoyed throughout the year where not an inch of the cow is spared, and someone lacking in table manners might be bold enough to attempt to reconstruct the entire animal on their plate. A number of sauces are served with the meat with for me the most spectacular being the spicy Chimichurri. One of the most shouted for pieces is Morcilla which is in no way different whatsoever from our own black pudding. You can´t imagine the faces of my fellow diners when I proudly announce that in Ireland we eat the same thing fried for breakfast ! While it is common practice to have Parrillas at home, the perfect start to a night on the town is in the local run down parilla that can be found on every street corner.

Sundays will normally see a queue for fresh ravioli while a few hours earlier down the street the bakery will have been selling fresh pastry (facturas) to the first riser of each household. I have often tasted Italian ice-cream but I am afraid to say that their distant cousins in Argentina have won the photo finish. It is very possible that edible glue is put in the mix because the ice-cream will be just as tall if not taller than the cone below. The most popular place to indulge in this, even during a cold winter night is in Freddos.

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