LOCATION, CLIMATE, LANGUAGE, RELIGION, FLAG, CAPITAL
The climate varies from sub-tropical in the Chaco region of the north to sub-arctic in Patagonia, generally with moderate summer rainfall. Temperatures in Buenos Aires are usually between 5°C (41°F) and 29°C (84°F). The language is Spanish. The great majority of the population profess Christianity: about 90% are Roman Catholics andabout 2% Protestants. The national flag (proportions 14 by 9) has three equal horizontal stripes, of light blue (celeste), above white, above light blue. The state flag (proportions 1 by 2) has the same design with, in addition, a gold ‘Sun of May’ in the centre of the white stripe. The capital is Buenos Aires.
Typical Argentine Asado (grill).
Argentine cuisine may bedescribed as a cultural blending Mediterranean influences (such as those exerted by Italian-Spanish and Arabic populations) within the wide scope of livestock and agricultural products that are abundant in the country. Argentine annual consumption of beef has averaged 100 kg (220 lbs) per capita, approaching 180 kg (396 lbs) per capita during the 19th century; consumption averaged 67.7 kg (149 lbs) in2007. Beyond asado (the Argentine barbecue), no other dish more genuinely matches the national identity. Nevertheless, the country´s vast area and its cultural richness have led to a local cuisine of many more dishes.
Argentinian people are known for their love of eating. Social gatherings are commonly centered on sharing a meal. In fact, inviting people to have dinner at home is usually viewedas a symbol of friendship, warmth, and integration. Furthermore, Sunday family reunions are generally an occasion to eat asado or pasta.
Another feature of Argentine cuisine is the preparation of homemade food such as french fries, hamburgers, and pasta to celebrate a special occasion, to meet friends, or, especially, to honor someone. The tradition of locally preparing food is passed down fromgeneration to generation, and homemade food is also seen as a way to show affection.
The scope of restaurant meals on offer is also exceptional; people can choose among a great variety of cuisines, prices, and flavours. Large cities count on unique gentrified restaurants offering international cuisine, and Argentina provides diners with other options, such as bodegones (inexpensive traditionalhidden taverns), less stylish restaurants, and bars and canteens offering an enticing range of dishes at affordable prices.
Argentines are famous for their high protein diet, particularly beef. Grilled meat from the asado (barbecue) is a staple, with steak and beef ribs especially common. Chorizo (pork sausage), morcilla (blood sausage), chinchulines (chitterlings), mollejas (sweetbread), andother parts of the animal are enjoyed. In Patagonia, lamb and chivito (goat) are eaten more frequently than beef. Whole lambs and goats can be seen on the asado. Chimichurri, a sauce of herbs, garlic and vinegar, is often used as an accompaniment. (Most Argentines have a relatively delicate palate and do not include chili in their version of chimichurri).
Breaded and fried meats (schnitzel) —milanesas — are used as snacks, in sandwiches, or eaten warm with mashed potatoes — purée. Empanadas — small pastries of meat, cheese, sweet corn, and a hundred other fillings — are a common sight at parties and picnics or as starters to a meal. A variation, the "empanada gallega" (Spanish empanada), is more like a big, round meat pie made mostly with tuna and mackerel ("caballa" in Spanish). Vegetablesand salads are important too for Argentines, even beyond the fried or mashed potato. Tomatoes, onions, lettuce, eggplants, squashes, and zucchini are common side dishes.
Italian staples, such as pizza and al dente pasta, are eaten just as much as beef. Fideos, Tallarines, ñoquis, ravioles, and canelones can be bought freshly made in many establishments in the larger cities. Italian-style ice...
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