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Food and Drink: A Guide to Argentina Refreshments

During your food tour of Buenos Aires, you might be a bit parched, so let’s go over the drinks you’ll want to try to quench that thirst.

For the non-alcoholic choices, think coffee and mate. Not together! That’s just ridiculous. Buenos Aires is a huge cafe culture. But don’t even think about zooming in and ordering a cup to go. It doesn’t happen. Sit, order espresso or a cafe con leche (coffee with milk) and watch the world go by down the cobblestone streets. You can order a chico, jarrito and doble in sizes small to large. For those that like the cafe culture, but aren’t big on coffee, try the lágrima which is 90% milk and 10% espresso, just a tear drop, as the name suggests. Also, the submarino is perfect for all ages. This hot milk with chocolate on the side lets you build your own hot cocoa.

Mate drinking is something you’ll see everywhere here. For social, health and cultural reasons, it’s a favorite. When you see people walking down the street, drinking something out of a little gourd with a metal straw, that’s mate. It’s a tea, basically, except instead of the leaves being contained in neat little bags, they’re just poured directly into the cup. This is the reason for the straw, or bombilla, as it’s called. It keeps the leaves in the cup, instead of your mouth. To drink mate, pour the yerba (or tea leaves) into the mate (gourd) and pour in your hot water (hot enough to be the point just before boiling) and drink the whole thing before refilling the water and passing it to the next person. If you find yourself in one of these mate groups, remember not to say thank you until you’re completely finished. It’s the signal that you don’t want anymore.

Fernet is the national drink for the nighttime hours. It might have Italian origins, but Argentina is taking it for its own. This dark spirit is bitter and can be a hard one to take for some. Mix it with coke and you have a tasty and refreshing treat! It’s a digestif that’s great for after dinner, but you’ll more that likely hear it being ordered at all times of the day. I can’t stress how prevalent it is here. If you really want to taste the flavors of Argentina, you’ll need to belly up to the bar and order one for yourself.

Are you more of a wine person? You’ll absolutely need to visit Mendoza. Known world wide as the leading Malbec producer, this region not only offers up these rich, juicy, full-bullied reds, but incredible scenery as well. Located at the foot of the Andes, you’ll enjoy an amazing backdrop over the vineyards during your tasting and the opportunity for a range of outdoor activities as well. Originally brought in from France, this grape variety thrived in the high altitudes of this section of the Andes and regularly claims awards from around the globe.

Class Adventure Travel designs custom tours throughout South America. If you’d like to explore some of the local tastes, talk to one of our travel specialists about our Argentina tours.