MASTICAR, the first and only food fair put together exclusively by chefs, opened its doors yesterday in the trendy neighbourhood of Palermo, Buenos Aires. PlanSouthAmerica stopped by to discover what Argentina has to offer.
By Carolina Beresford
For those of you expecting an Argentine food fair to be all about meat, think again. MASTICAR not only highlights the diversity and creative flare of Argentine cuisine, but will leave even the most hard headed food critic with a full stomach.
You will be forgiven for not knowing exactly what Argentine cuisine involves, if not thick, juicy steak. While this is undoubtedly one of the country’s best dishes, MASTICAR shows how much more Argentina can bring to the table – the struggle has been in defining what a national gastronomy looks and tastes like. JuliÃ¡n DÃaz, co-owner of 878 Bar and FlorerÃa AtlÃ¡ntico, admits that “Argentine identity is very diverse and complex. We don’t have such a strong tradition as Peru or Mexico, for example. It’s up to us to develop our identity.”
MASTICAR is the first step in the construction of the national identity that this generation of chefs and bartenders are aiming for. While there are clear influences from Italy and Peru, each stall has adapted the concept, using local ingredients to give each dish a new, national flavour.
The heart of the fair is the Market. Countless food stalls sell specially selected regional products, while owners give advice on the best way to cook an artichoke, or how long to air your cheese before serving. Food stations from the best restaurants and bars in town offer five-star dishes and cocktails for discounted prices – and just in case you wanted to learn more, there are talks and classes on subjects ranging from ‘how to communicate through wine’ and ‘gastronomy and business’ to ‘how to make the most of the asparagus season’.
MASTICAR aims to promote the richness and potential of Argentina gastronomy, and it certainly does that. Make the most of your weekend and head to Dorrego for a fun, enriching and delicious experience!
Top picks: Don’t leave before trying the ceviche at Chan Chan, sipping a Campari at 878 Bar, and trying the pork flank with sweet potato chips at Don Julio.
Dates: 16 -19 October.
Opening Hours: Thurs: 14 – 23 Hs. | Fri, Sat, Sun: 12 – 23 Hs. ?
Location: “El Dorrego”, Zapiola 50, between Dorrego y ConcepciÃ³n Arenal.?
Entry Price: $50