Uruguay is a small country located on the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by neighbouring countries Argentina and Brazil. Even though Uruguay is less popular as a travel destination, the country has a lot to offer, especially in the culinary field. In this blog, we will introduce you to Uruguay's cuisine.
Chivito is an authentic Uruguayan dish. It is a sandwich with beef, ham, bacon, vegetables such as tomatoes and lettuce, and cheese. In addition, toppings such as peppers, onions or pickles are often added. Of course, the mayonnaise is not to be missed.
The chivito was created in the 1940s by the owner of the restaurant El Mejillón in Punta del Este, when a customer wanted 'chivito' (goat meat), but this was not available. The chef made a sandwich with beef and ham and told the customer that this was their 'chivito'. These days, the chivito is an integral part of the Uruguayan culture, and you can try different kinds of chivitos almost everywhere in the country.
Tip: do you want to make this delicious dish at home? You can find a recipe on Anthony Bourdain's website.
Photo: Explore Parts Unknown
A pancho is, in essence, a hot dog in Uruguayan style. The toppings are what make the pancho unique, and they often differ per region. However, there are a number of popular ingredients that you cannot ignore, such as cheese, onions, mayonnaise and ketchup. In Montevideo, you can go to Pancho Va! to try a real pancho.
Photo: Pancho Va!
Parilla is a typical barbecue and very popular in Argentina and Uruguay. In the harbour of Montevideo, there is a large market hall called Mercado del Puerto, where you can have a delicious lunch. Each stall has its own parilla where the meat is roasted. Together with a good glass of red wine, you can enjoy a delicious steak.
Empanadas are enormously popular in Latin America. They are eaten everywhere; from Mexico to Argentina. They are dough snacks that are often filled with minced meat. However, you can also fill them with cheese, tuna fish or something else. Earlier we wrote a blog about how you can make your own empanadas.
Alfajores are traditional South American biscuits which, as in Argentina, are eaten a lot in Uruguay. The biscuits are filled with dulce de leche, a kind of caramel sauce. If you are in Montevideo, it is a must to get these biscuits at Cake's, a bakery where you can get delicious desserts and cakes.
In Uruguay, there is a Swiss colony called Nueva Helvecia, the first tourist area of Uruguay. Here you can visit an ambiguous cheese factory, and learn more about the Swiss cheeses it makes.
After Argentina, Chile and Brazil, Uruguay is the 4th largest wine-producing country in South America. That says a lot because Uruguay only produces 100 million litres of wine a year. That is as much as a large vineyard in Argentina. This is because many vineyards in Uruguay are small family farms. Of course, you do not notice this in the quality: the locally produced Tannat, which is made from a red grape from south-western France, is considered to be the wine from Uruguay. The Carmelo region is one of the country's leading wine regions. Here you will find several wineries where you can taste wine, such as Irurtia and Cordano. As a true wine lover, we advise you to stay at the Narbona Wine Lodge.
Another enormously popular product from Uruguay is olive oil. One of the best Uruguayan olive oils is produced on the Colinas de Garzón estate, also known as 'Little Tuscany'. The trees are imported from countries such as Italy, Israel and Argentina. Would you like to know more about the olive oils of Colinas de Garzón? Then take a look at the video below.
Mate is a traditional drink that is widely consumed mainly in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. It consists of tea leaves topped with hot water. Drinking the mate is a social ritual: there is one cup with a metal straw (bombilla) for the mate, and this is passed on to friends or family to drink from. Mate is an important part of Uruguayan culture, so don't be surprised if you see locals walking around with a thermos for their mate.
Photo: Explore Parts Unknown
Restaurant Garzón, Garzón
This is the restaurant of the world-famous Argentinean chef Francis Mallmann. You can have breakfast, lunch and dinner here. The dishes are based on local ingredients and fish dishes are prepared with fish from the Atlantic Ocean. Delicious wines from Bodega Garzón are also served with the food.
Visit the website.
Photo: Restaurant Garzón
Restaurant La Bourgogne, Punta del Este
The restaurant is connected to the restaurant group Relais & Chateaux. The dishes come from the French cuisine. Chef Jean-Paul Bondoux uses products from his own vegetable garden, such as courgette and herbs, which he then combines with delicious other products. In the restaurant, you can enjoy homemade bread, Argentine wines and starters such as rabbit with Uruguayan caviar.
Read more about La Bourgogne.
Photo: Relais & Châteaux
Would you like to travel through Uruguay yourself and are you curious about the possibilities? We are happy to help you organize a trip that meets your wishes. For more information, visit our page about Uruguay.
Do you have a question? Feel free to contact us. Call +31 73 610 62 04 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to help.