Last weekend we went to Mar del Plata (also known as La Ciudad Feliz), a beach city 400 km (249 mi) south of Buenos Aires, over the Atlantic coast. It was a little bit chilly but great to walk around, enjoy the sea view and the food Mar del Plata has to offer. I realize that this is a great destination for foodies. From seafood to alfajores, here is what you don´t want to miss:
1) Seafood. I love fresh fish (not much all other seafood). In the Port of Mar del Plata there is a gastronomic pole where you can find lots of seafood restaurants one next to the other. Mar del Plata is one of the major fishing ports in Argentina, so fresh fish is a must. I particularly like CHICHILO. Here I tasted a free sample of algae fritters (it was very similar to spinach fritters). I had tuna empanadas and my hubby enjoyed the calamari casserole (Cazuela de calamares)
2) Alfajores. The typical Argentinean treat, made of two cookies filled with gooey dulce de leche with a chocolate or sugar bath. The best alfajores are from Mar del Plata. Now, you can find the favorite brand Havanna all over the country, in 9 countries and is available online if you are abroad.
3) Ice Cream. In Mar del Plata you can have a taste of the best ice cream in the world. Well, in Argentina ice cream is one of the best, made by Italian immigrants and their descendants. Usually, a family business. There are lots of ice cream shops over the city, but the best spots are Helados Italia y Lucciano´s (and Freddo of course, but not typically marplatense). The last one impressed me with all the best ice pops I ever had. Made with the best ingredients, chocolate and dulce de leche, strawberry, cream, etc. My daughter loved it! (and so we did)
4) Produce. It must be the closeness to the field and farms, the air, I don´t know why… but fruits and vegetables bought in Mar del Plata markets taste better. Especially vegetables like corn, potatoes (a nearby city, Balcarce, is known for been a big potato producer) and fruits like kiwi! I just find out that the fruit production reached international quality standards and that the 50% of the Argentinean kiwi is produced in Mar del Plata. The conditions of the Argentina coast are ideal for the production of this fruit, because it has characteristics similar to those of New Zealand, the leading producer of kiwifruit in the world. In this season, which began in mid-April and ended in mid-May, about 4,500 tons were harvested fruit in the area. Only part of the production is exported, because firstly seeks to meet domestic demand. In Buenos Aires city kiwi can cost around $50/kg (and sometimes they are too hard and acid) vs. $20 in Mar del Plata and they were sweeter and with an amazing tropical taste.
5) Eating out. The gastronomy in Mar del Plata has endless options. Besides seafood restaurants, I would recommend: For a nice asado La Guapa, for pasta Dei Fiori (hard to get a reservation) and Tiziano and for varied food Dos 55, a new restaurant with a very nice ambience and great food from meats to pasta.
Buenos Aires Market: a must for foodies
A lovely spring-like weather (we are in late fall now) make it ideal to spend time outside and visit another edition of Buenos Aires Market (BAM). This is a farmers market where more than 70 food producers exhibit their products over Saturday and Sunday. It is held once a month in an itinerant place in Buenos Aires City. Lots of local and regional, organic and gourmet products are available to taste (I love free samples!), to eat on the go and to buy at discounted prices. Here, my top five of BAM:
1. Food trucks. American style food trucks are now trendy in Buenos Aires. In BAM you can find gourmet food trucks like Paraje Arevalo and BA truck (with Chef Abdala delicacies like goat tagine) among others. They are great opportunities to taste fine dishes while avoiding their expensive onsite restaurants.
2. Breads. I love bread (as much as my 3 old daughter) and specially if it´s crusty artisan bread like the one from L´ epi a typical French bakery with 2 locations in Buenos Aires. There are other bread vendors in BAM, but this one was my favorite. I picked the traditional baguette, focaccia and parmesan cheese flavored bread. I´ll try pastries next time, but I´m sure they are yummy.
3. Drinks. It was unusually hot by this time of the year and I needed something fresh. There was a truck of Terma giving away free herbal lemonade. You will find lots of natural flavored waters, teas and fruit smoothies made to order. Also, there are some artisan beer vendors (place to be for most husbands)
4. Olive oil. Straight from Mendoza and La Rioja, you can buy high quality olive oil at a discounted rate. Olives and vegetables in olive oil were also at a good price. I bought some delicious artichokes hearts.
5. Papines or Andine potatoes. These are small potatoes (fingerlings) native from the Andes region, like the North of Argentina, where more than 100 kinds of potatoes and little potatoes are produced. They come in different shapes and colors (like lilac, blue, yellow, red and green) adding visual interest to any plate, with a nutty and earthy flavor.
Stay tunned for the next BAM edition.
Every May and in many countries, celiac disease associations gather efforts to increase awareness about celiac disease and to educate the public about early diagnosis and the gluten free diet, its only treatment (that has to be planned by an expert dietitian)
In Argentina, Celiac Disease Day is celebrated on May 5th
In Uruguay and Chile, Celiac Disease Day in on May 6th
In Europe is on May 16th (in Spain is on May 20th), while in the United Kindom Coeliac Disease Week is on May 11-14th.
In the US, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, puts together lots of free resources from e-cooking books to live webinars.
Global dietitians is a fun place to share and network between for food and nutrition professionals from around the world. Made for dietitians by dietitians.