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Reinventing the Cuisine of Buenos Aires

Caitlin Zaino, The Urban Grocer

Steak, empanadas, Malbec. Think of food in Buenos Aires and these classics are probably first to spring to mind. But boundless imagination and a dynamic, young spirit are re-inventing cuisine in this South American city; Buenos Aires is having a culinary coming-of-age. Join me as I dive in to the changing food scene here, on a quest to discover what it’s all about.

Though the old-school joints undoubtedly still hold their charm in Buenos Aires, a new generation of chefs and foodies are embracing contemporary Argentine cooking. Take, for instance, closed-door restaurants. Typically operated out of private homes, these underground spaces allow chefs the freedom to create without the constraints of traditional restaurants. The result is an innovative wave of modern cooking that is exclusively Argentinean.

One such favorite is Casa Felix. Here, Diego Felix serves-up inventive menus inspired by regional herbs grown in his urban garden. For Chef Felix, creating dishes based in these indigenous flavors, like Patagonian sand perch ceviche with huancaina sauce, speaks more to the “real” Argentina than a cow ever could.

But you don’t need to go underground to taste this foodie revolution. Popular chefs like German Martitegui are pioneering “cocina creativa” – a new movement that flips Argentine cuisine right on its head. Think veal rib cooked sous-vide with charcoal-infused mashed potatoes. How’s that for your barbecue?

And this energy is contagious. Around Buenos Aires, much-beloved ice cream joints are experimenting with flavors to create mouth-watering helados, like chocuquinnas: a rich combination of dulce de leche, cream cheese, and coffee-spiked chocolate cake. Vineyards too are moving away from Malbec, taking the plunge into diverse varietals that have sommeliers buzzing. Curious? Check out the fresh Colomé Torrontés, or the stellar Chacra 55 Pinot Noir.

This creative, passionate spirit seems limitless as a fresh culinary culture is emerging. But Buenos Aires is not alone. In cities around the world, cutting-edge concepts are dreamt-up each day, pushing the global food scene to new, spectacular heights. And as The Urban Grocer, I’m here to uncover it.

Tune in to The Urban Grocer on Sunday, April 10th, at 8 p.m. ET.

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