Family Cony presents: Verdadero Asado Argentino

Posted by on May 10, 2013

Family Cony presents: Verdadero Asado Argentino

Argentina is a carnivorous country. With lots of land, a comparatively small population concentrated in Buenos Aires and other regional centres, there are vast tracts of sparsely populated land in the interior for cattle farming and the meat culture is very strong. Argentinean beef is of high quality and it would rival Australia for export quantity. Historically, meat played a central role in the Gaucho gastronomy such that, as I see it, it was thanks to Mate and its purifying, diuretic effect on the body that a whole population didn’t die of scurvy or an acidic ph imbalance.

I don’t eat a lot of meat, and what I do eat probably doesn’t register in Argentina but I arrived in this country and learned about the legendary ‘Asado’ – the good ol’ Sunday roast equivalent. Here restaurants called ‘Parrillas’ specialise in ‘Parrilladas’ or ‘Roasts’, ‘Parilla’ being the name of the barbecue-like grill that is used in an asado.

Cony invited me to share an Argentinean asado with her family and so one sunny Saturday I made my way out to the suburbs of greater Buenos Aires by train and there was an impressive array of meat on display. Chorizo, a sausage traditionally made from pork and pork fat encased in intestines, and which I tried was actually reasonable. There was another darker, softer sausage which made me think of the drain from the kill floor and I just couldn’t so I donated it to Cony. Chunks of pig and cow fresh from the Parilla, sizzling with fat and juices were carved and shared lovingly amongst the diners, old and young. Despite my increasingly vegetatious leanings, I dabbled in carcass for this cultural journey of discovery. Leaner parts of the cow were trimmed for the petty Australian while the rest of the fatty, flavoursome feast was consumed with gusto. Roasted vegetables and fresh salad were also in attendance. Dessert yielded a soft, sweat cheese-cake like torta with dulce de leche, coconut and a caramelised crust which was positively luscious.

Día del Asado – Day of the Roast


Argentinean people are very hospitable and you will want for nothing as the guest of a family. I was included in everything, encouraged to try everything and was given a beautiful sturdy wooden Mate encased in leather as a present which I now use on my travels. Thanks to Cony and her family for a wonderful, albeit novel, experience.

Cony’s and my schedules didn’t coincide very well. I didn’t have one, and hers was super full such that it was difficult to do more things together. We had arranged to go out to Tigre; the riverside attraction on the edge of greater Buenos Aires, but that day it began to rain, rain which resulted in flooding in parts of the city, displacing thousands and claiming over 50 lives. But we did go to the resulting benefit concert together, ate luscious ice-creams some nights and vegetarian lunches some days and it was with Cony that I discovered the best bookshop: El Ateneo. Picture a Readings bookshop in the Capitol Theatre in Melbourne and you have an approximation.

El Ateneo – because bookshops make me happy


Cuando viajes a Australia en el año que viene, capaz que nos encontremos en Melbourne y te prometo ser tu guía entonces.