Argentina is famous for its food, and for good reason; not only is it delicious, but there's a lor of it: the people of Argentina eat more red meat per head than any other country in the world. And Christmas is a time for indulgence the world over, so of course Christmas food in Argentina will be special. But Christmas in Argentina is a bit different to the Christmases you might be useful. As it is in the Southern Hemisphere, the festive period takes place in the summertime. Also, the main family meal takes place on Christmas Eve rather than the Christmas Day meal common in the UK and the US. To find out more about Christmas in Argentina, and maybe get inspired for your own Christmas, read on.
Being in summer, Christmas is usually very hot in Argentina so they will often have more cold foods than we would expect to find in the Northern Hemisphere: salad, cold cuts and cheese platters are very common festive foods to find on the Christmas table. Ensalada Rusa, or Russian Salad, is a traditional Argentine salad (despite the name) you will often find eaten at Christmas time: it's a type of potato salad with peas and carrots.
For starters, Argentina boasts some wonderful finger food and appetizers during the Christmas period. One of the most popular, and arguably unusual, are Pianonos. Pianonos are a fairly common pastry all over the world, but Argentina are one of the only countries to have savoury versions. Basically, they are a bit like Swiss rolls, with sponge cake rolled up, but with meat inside - often chicken or ham. Sounds odd, but millions of Argentinians eat them every year. Another common dish is canapes navideños, a type of open-top empanada made specially for Christmas. You will also often find tomatoes stuffed with rice and eggs filled with pate, not unlike deviled eggs. But possibly the most popular traditional Argentine starter is the Vitel Toné, originally an Italian dish, which is slices of veal with a creamy tuna sauce.
For the main meal, no Argentine family gathering would be complete without a traditional asado. An asado is a barbeque, with a range of delicious meats - often lamb, chicken, sausages and steak - grilled over an open fire. However, some families prefer a different main, often partaking in a roast suckling pig or the traditionally western turkey. Of course, there are always sides, like salads and Argentine breads to go with the meat.
For dessert, or for a general yuletide treat, Argentine people love to indulge in Pan Dulce - a type of sweet panettone bread that goes well with a coffee or mate, Argentina's national drink. This is the Argentine equivalent of the German stollen or the English Christmas cake. Another common sweet treat is the dessert version of the Piononos - a more recognisable Swiss roll with jam and often dulce de leche. Again, as it is the height of summer at Christmas time down in Argentina, often families will have a cool refreshing fruit salad to finish the Christmas meal.
To drink during the meal, at every Argentine family gathering, wine is sure to flow. Argentina is home to a range of fantastic vineyards, so they are never short of an excellent glass of wine. Malbec is very popular around Christmas time to go with all the delicious meat.
So, if you've been inspired by this journey into the Argentine Christmas, why not add a bit of Argentine flair to your festive fair? Try a new recipe this Christmas - who knows, you could even try a barbeque on Christmas Eve.
Let yourself be inspired by Argentina and head to our website to shop our luxury collections of polo belts and leather goods which are based upon the ways of life and the landscape of this iconic and inspirational area.