Food plays an important role in shaping our cultural identity. The dishes we make, the ingredients we use and the way we prepare our food defines who we are and where we come from. Passed down from generation to generation, food is at the center of local culture.
Trying specialty dishes and local food is a great way to connect to a new place. Throughout my travels, I’ve discovered all types of new foods including skyr in Iceland, Milanese risotto in Milan and fish cakes in Barbados.
On a quest to connect with new places through food, Rosemary and Claire are inspiring people to do the same. Rosemary and Claire are the adventurous culinary explorers behind the new book, Authentic Food Quest Argentina: A Guide To Eat Your Way Authentically Through Argentina. They believe that authentic food enriches travel and their goal is to inspire people to have deeper and more meaningful food experiences.
Covering over 6,500 miles, Rosemary and Claire traveled around Argentina for 6 months. They spent 10 to 30 days in a region and they visited farmers markets and local food stores. They also connected with locals and interviewed vendors, restaurants owners and chefs to learn more about the food’s cultural significance.
One thing is for sure, Rosemary and Claire did a ton research to create Authentic Food Quest Argentina. Authentic Food Quest Argentina exclusively focuses on Argentina’s authentic and regional specialties. It’s meant to compliment your travel guide.
Throughout the book you can find:
- 50+ authentic foods, desserts, street foods and beverages
- 270+ authentic restaurants, wineries, local food stores and farmers markets
- Calendar of popular food, beer and wine festivals
- Practical tips on how to travel through Argentina including visa requirements and money tips
Authentic Food Quest Argentina provides a wealth of knowledge about Argentina’s food culture and culinary history. Through this book, I learned about the importance of sharing meals at an asado and how Europeans influenced Argentina’s food culture. I also appreciated the mouth watering photos and the interesting fun facts.
I would recommend Authentic Food Quest Argentina to anyone who is curious about food culture, or anyone who is thinking about traveling to Argentina. This is the first book of a series, so I’m curious to see what’s next.
Rosemary and Claire share even more food and travel insights in this interview. I’m also very excited to host a giveaway for a copy of their book!
Authentic Food Quest Argentina Author Interview
Flan…Topped with dulce de leche
In Authentic Food Quest Argentina, you mentioned that you connected with locals before your trip to Argentina. You arranged authentic meals like the asado, an all-day social event where family and friends come together to celebrate memorable events. (pg 8)
1. In addition to using websites like Vizeat, Eat With and Cook App (pg 24), are there any other ways that travelers can connect with locals to arrange authentic food experiences before their visit? Can you suggest any Facebook groups?
We offer the platforms like Vizeat, Eat With and Cook App in the book as resources to connect with locals while traveling to Argentina. However, we did not use those platforms in Argentina. Instead we connected with locals in a variety of ways.
First, through friends and friends of friends who knew people in Argentina. Secondly, by staying with locals via Airbnb, we were able to connect with the locals. Through those connections, we met even more local people.
We are not aware of any Facebook groups that exist to help travelers connect and arrange authentic food experiences. That’s a great idea!
Dinner with locals in Buenos Aires (Photo by Authentic Food Quest)
2. Dinner in Argentina starts after 9 pm and peaks at 10 pm to 11:30 pm (pg 11), can you share the cultural significance for eating late?
One of the most fascinating observations we made about Argentinians is their love for food and spending time with friends and family over long drawn out meals. Eating time is sacred and never rushed.
With dinner typically starting after 9 pm, the afternoon snack called media tarde or merienda is important. This afternoon snack is eaten between 5 pm and 6 pm and the most typical is cafe con leche y medialunas. This is coffee with milk and it’s served with a side of medialunas, which are sweet snacks and a type of factura.
Alternatively, you can also enjoy a beer, with a salty snack.
3. Some restaurants charge a cubierto, a cover charge between 10 to 20 pesos for using cutlery, placements etc (pg 12), is it worth paying the surcharge?
Many of the restaurants that charge a cubierto are either restaurants on the higher end or touristy places. We tend to avoid those restaurants and chose more local spots.
However, when looking to eat a specific dish, the only places that might serve it may require a cubierto. In those cases, it is unavoidable and worth it.
Llama stew or cazuela de llama from the North of Argentina
4. Tell us the story behind why you use your own cutlery to ensure hygiene (pg 14).
We have a spork (spoon/fork combo) that we carry with us on our travels. We don’t use them at restaurants. However, we have used them occasionally when eating at markets when the cutlery is questionable or when traveling by bus when cutlery is not provided. Having our sporks gives us peace of mind and the comfort of eating anywhere.
Sporks (Photo by Authentic Food Quest)
You traveled to many regions in Argentina including Buenos Aires & The Pampas, The Wine Regions, The Andean Northwest Region, Patagonia and The Lake Region.
5. How did you travel around Argentina? What was the easiest and most challenging modes of transportation?
We traveled through Argentina by bus, and specifically long haul buses. These are very popular, convenient and much cheaper than taking an internal flight.
The most challenging mode of transportation to figure out was the local bus system. Not knowing the routes and where they go was challenging.
A friend from Buenos Aires ended up telling us about the local transport app called comoLlegar, which helped with bus routes and timing.
Long haul bus, Argentina (Photo by Authentic Food Quest)
6. I’m a craft beer fan. What’s your favorite Argentinian craft beer and why?
(This response is from Claire)
Antares is one of my favorite Argentinian craft beers. They produce different flavors from light and fruity to dark and heavy so everyone can find their taste.
Also, they have several Antares bars across the country where you can enjoy their different types of beer. They are great places to have a drink with friends and enjoy a bite with a beer.
And finally, although they have had rapid success and growth, they strive to maintain their traditional brewing method and the use of high quality ingredients. You can feel the passion transpire through their brand!
You should definitively try Antares if you go to Argentina!
Argentina draft beer (Photo by Authentic Food Quest)
7. For those on a budget, which are the most affordable cities or towns to visit in Argentina?
The more affordable cities in Argentina are outside Buenos Aires, the capital. One region that is affordable and worth visiting is the Northwest region of the country.
Specifically, Jujuy Province, which sits in the middle the Quebrada de Humahuaca, a beautiful UNESCO gorge. Go here for the beautiful rock formations and to see the influence of the Andean indigenous community.
Pucara de Tilcara site in the Quebrada de Humahuaca (Photo by Authentic Food Quest)
Also, Cafayate in the Salta region produces amazing wines, including the famous Torrontes wine (white) that is unique to Argentina. It is cheaper than Mendoza and the wines are delicious. This region is also home to empanadas Salteñas, the best empanadas in Argentina.
8. For those on a budget, what are the go-to breakfast, lunch and dinner foods to have in Argentina?
Facturas are little pastries which you can buy at panaderias (bakeries).
They are very popular for breakfast and are cheaper by the dozen. The pastries are covered with sugar and are usually filled with dulce de leche (sweet caramel milk paste), crema pastelera (custard) or dulce de membrillo (quince paste).
You can also get them plain and without any filling.
Get a cup of coffee to go and enjoy these local and tasty treats for breakfast.
Facturas at a panaderia (Photo by Authentic Food Quest)
For a quick, affordable and easy lunch on the go, indulge in the famous Argentina empanadas. These small little pies come with a variety of fillings. Try the local specialities; lomo picante (spicy, chopped tenderloin) and jamon y queso (ham and cheese).
If you are a non-meat eater, try the vegetarian options or the Roquefort cheese empanada.
Argentina Empanadas (Photo by Authentic Food Quest)
Dinner in Argentina would not be complete, without a good piece of steak. If you are on a budget, choose local food joints and skip the high-end restaurants.
Order the chorizo de bife. This is a delicious thick cut of pure meat goodness. Be sure to order it jugoso, which means red and juicy.
About Rosemary and Claire and Rosemary: Rosemary and Claire are co-founders of Authentic Food Quest. They aim to inspire people to travel through authentic food. Follow their adventures as they now eat their way through Southeast Asia.
Author: Danielle Desir
Danielle Desir is a Travel Finance Strategist that uses her financial background and knack for financial planning to empower those who want to travel afford travel and excel in their personal finances. She shares creative planning strategies, saving tips, cheap flight deals and even talks about her student loan repayment journey on her blog, The Thought Card. Her financial expertise has taken her across the globe to over 21 countries and 3 continents (and counting), all while paying off her student loans, saving for a house, owning a home, and working full-time.
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