The amazing scenes in Buenos Aires as millions gathered to celebrate Argentina’s World Cup triumph bring into sharp focus once again the impact this remarkable country has had on the world.
Birthplace of the Tango (the dance,not the fizzy pop), the world’s first ever animated film and possibly most famous revolutionary, Che Guevara, you can certainly experience the highs and lows of life in Argentina. Mount Aconcagua marks the highest point of the Southern hemisphere with a peak of 7,000m, whilst the salt lake Laguna del Carbon sits 105m below sea level and is the lowest point south of the equator.
Argentina’s name comes from the Latin for silver, possibly derived from the various European nations who sought to get rich on its mines. Meanwhile, its distinctive flag of the sun on a central white band with a pale blue band either side celebrates its independence. It represents clouds parting to reveal the inca Sun of May which is said to have occurred at a pivotal moment in the battle for independence.
Apart from football, the country excels in many other sports. It is recognised as one of the greatest ever in terms of hockey, it has produced champion tennis players, boxers and motor racers. It is the undisputed world leader at polo and in the past 30 years the only men’s basketball team apart from the USA to win Olympic Gold.
Since the time of gauchos roaming the plains on horseback to herd cattle, Argentina’s reputation as a beef capital of the world has grown. In 1956 the country recorded its highest ever consumption of beef – over 100kg per person. Even though the figure is half that these days it’s still the highest in the world.
That’s probably down to the county’s number one cultural pastime of asado – a kind of barbeque where family and friends gather around a grill featuring a variety of meats accompanied by seasonal salads and speciality pastries known as empanadas.
The Argentine version of a hot dog is worth exploring. The choripan is a long chorizo, split down the middle, filled with spicy chimichurri sauce and wrapped in a baguette.
Or how about a matambre arrollado, which literally means “rolled up hunger killer” – slices of beef wrapped round vegetables, hard boiled eggs and herbs then grilled or fried.
Drinks wise, the country’s famous red wines are ideal accompaniment and whilst we are decking halls with boughs of holly this Christmas, Argentinians will be soaking the dried leaves of a particular type of holly bush in hot water to create mate – a type of tea drunk traditionally from a cattle horn.
At SK Foods we celebrate the diversity of world food and the integral part it has played in the culture and history of nations. We can’t guarantee World Cup success or indeed cattle horn drinking vessels but we have created hunger killers based on traditional foods from all parts of the globe and brought them to your local supermarket for you to enjoy this Christmas. Vamos, Vamos as they say in Argentina.