pampeano’s designer guide to Argentine food
pampeano designer, Abby shares ‘a day in the life’ with her top tips on what to eat in Argentina as she over-sees our latest pampeano polo belt collection:
pampeano is a brand which originated in Argentina and still maintains its rich heritage of Argentine craftsmanship. The artisanal skills required to hand stitch our polo belts is a special and traditional technique which is passed down through the generations, providing pampeano with a lifetime of connections and friendships within the Argentine families. We regularly travel to Buenos Aires to catch up with our craftsmen, oversee production of our polo belts, discuss new ideas and refresh ourselves with the Argentinian lifestyle, immersing ourselves once again into the culture, the polo, the leather and of course, the food.
For breakfast, expect to loosen your polo belt by a notch or two as you are warmly greeted with an assortment of mini pastries accompanied by wedges of sweet bread, ramekins brimming with dulce de leche and copious amounts of café au lait. A bit daunting at first but settle in for a day or two and you’ll find yourself reaching for that third medialuna (a smaller, sweeter version of the beloved French croissant) and scraping out the bottom of your dulce de leche jar (maybe not quite).
Dulce de leche, you will quickly discover, is found on almost everything in Argentina. It’s a thick and milky caramel sauce which I can assure you is like nothing else you will have ever tasted and once you have, you’ll be hooked. At lunch time, you will find yourself snacking on alfajores –soft cookies with dulce de leche filling. That’s after your dulce de leche spread at breakfast, your mid-morning pastry snack with the sweet caramel filling and before the evening dulce de leche ice cream or flan desert.
When we are out on the road in Argentina, visiting the leather tanneries and artisan hubs, we’ll always stop for empanadas- A traditional Argentine staple with a reputation as good as their steak. It could be compared to a pasty in England at first glance, but these baked dough pockets filled with meat, cheese or vegetables are little pieces of heaven. The flavours are second to none and in Argentina there is no such thing as a bad empanada.
pampeano polo belts started out on the polo fields of Argentina, so of course when we are visiting, we like to meet up with our friends and colleagues and head to a game or training match. There is nothing better than relaxing, watching the polo players storm by on their powerful polo ponies as an asado is fired up. An asado is the true essence of traditional Argentina, putting a standard barbeque to shame. Various types of meat are cooked on a huge grill called a parilla. For big groups and families, asados can be an all-day affair where huge cuts of beef are seasoned with a pinch of rock salt at the most and garnished with a tiny amount of veg purely for colour. The grass-fed, free range cattle in Argentine results in the most exquisite tasting beef which Argentina is so famous for and the chorizo is something of a celebrity too.
The days are long in Argentina and if you’re heading out for dinner you won’t find the restaurants filling up until around 10pm when the locals tend to eat. If you are planning a night out in Buenos Aires, don’t expect to be heading home until the sun comes up, but for dinner, you’ll be home before 2am. Of course you will find us ordering steak and a bottle of Malbec for the table (Argentina is home to the wine region of Mendoza which produces the best Malbec), but what you may not know about Argentina, is that you will find the best Italian food out of Italy here, so don’t pass up on the pasta.
We love watching our polo belts being hand-stitched and this is where mate will be passed around to share. The traditional beverage which the Argentines will drink all day, every day. An infusion of the yerba mate plant, we can only compare it to tea, made extremely strong and packed with sugar. The Argentines drink it through a metal straw and it is customary to sip and pass it on.