Dr. Ignacio Gutiérrez Zaldívar
Patagonia and Tango are the two iconic symbols of our beloved Argentina. A virginal and ecologically preserved land inhabited by people who are a melting pot of different cultures and races, as is our Argentine population.
Our Patagonia begins south of the Rio Colorado, a vast area whose surface is larger than most of the countries in the world.
There are mountain areas and green valleys such as Alto Valle. Some species, such as lambs and trout have managed to find their perfect habitat in this region.
The lamb is served young, under one year old, and the lechal is only some weeks old and achieves a particular flavor in Patagonia.
The red deer was introduced in 1904 in La Pampa province and today there are large quantities of them throughout the Patagonian region.
The trout has a special flavor and is smaller than in most countries; it was introduced for sport fly fishing and today is one of the most delicious dishes.
The rosa mosqueta is a local fruit that is the result of the development of the wild rose plant and has been used to make marmalades and infusions for more than a century. Chocolate has unique features and is the most desired local product. The wild boar was also introduced by European immigrants and is one of the delights of Patagonian food. The guanaco and rhea (ñandú) are the stars of the New Patagonian Food together with wild edible flowers that surprise with new flavors.
The Patagonian seafood is of superior quality and perhaps the black hake is the best delight for fish lovers. It is very simply prepared with pine or cypress mushrooms sauce (morillas) and sautéed with butter and green onions or almonds and lemon with black butter or herbs sauce.
In Gnaiman, Chubut there is a Welsh colony that makes the most amazing tortas negras (small cakes covered with black sugar).
The quality of the wines is excellent due to the region’s low temperatures. The most outstanding labels are those produced in San Francisco del Cheñar Valley located in the Neuquén province. The aromatic and seductive white Sauvignon, the extraordinary Pinot Noir and the classic Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot. In Bariloche, there are brewers of different beers of original tastes.
The Beagle Channel’s low temperatures give the fish their special flavor. The crab is wonderful and the Antarctic vieyra is caught in nets and processed right on the fishing boats. The prawns are unforgettable and as nice as the sound of a Piazzola tango. The salmon is one of the best in the world!
Sweets must not be left aside since they are local and a wonderful product - the raspberries above all. Do not forget to order cheese and smoked meats which are served on big wooden boards.
That person who wishes to return to Patagonia should carry the memory of the Calafate liquor, the Welsh pies, the stuffed trout, the grilled lamb simply prepared with no added ingredient, or al Oporto, the small octopus from San Antonio prepared al cognac, the Mapuche curanto and the Cassis sauce.
There are a dozen international restaurants that would deserve a thousand stars but it is not the way it works in the region.
If Paradise exists, it is in the Patagonia for sure. Ignacio Gutierrez Zaldivar.