It’s food blog time! And as is the tradition, it gets posted a long time after we have left the country… so….. food in Uruguay…..
Well, Uruguay has a lot of similarities with Argentina, and this also includes food… but of course I haven’t done a post about food in Argentina yet – even though I compare every country’s food to Argentina in some way… so I will continue with that tradition….
My view is that most of the food that you get in Uruguay that is also available in Argentina is usually slightly better, more sophisticated, and more flavoursome in Uruguay than in Argentina….yep…
Of course, this may be controversial… 😉 But here are THREE examples… and let’s start with the MOST CONTROVERSIAL OF ALL….
1) Dulce de leche – we have eaten a LOT of this, as it appears at every breakfast throughout Argentina and Uruguay. It is REALLY good 🙂 It’s difficult to describe the taste – if you have never had it, you will just have to read about what’s in it and IMAGINE the taste… 🙂
Now, of course we always study the labels of any Dulce de Leche products that we are given for breakfast, and we were surprised to find that in Uruguay, most of the Dulce de leche we were served was actually made in Uruguay by Uruguayan companies, as opposed to just imported from Argentina, which is a much larger country. Comparing the brands from Uruguay with the brands from Argentina in a highly scientific study 😉 , the evidence was incontrovertible… Uruguayan Dulce de Leche is BETTER than Argentinian dulce de leche….. yep I’ve said it….no comments from angry Argentinians please…..
2) Tortas Fritas
The quality, type and availability of these seems to vary a lot between different regions in Argentina – but in Uruguay we could usually find them, and they were generally of the ’roundish’, ‘big’, ‘thinnish’ and ‘crispy’ kind – THE BEST KIND 🙂
They are called Sopaipillas in most of the rest of South America:
Now in Uruguay, they seem to like to put sugar on them – but I don’t think that’s a good idea at all… they are better without sugar as far as I am concerned… 🙂
These basically consist of 2 round biscuits with a filling in between – but have lots of variations re: sugar coating, chocolate coating, filling inside, biscuit type etc. The standard filling is dulce de leche.
We enjoyed these in Argentina, but in Uruguay they were taken to another level, with the availability of LUXURY alfajores, LOADED with filling and generally much tastier than those in Argentina… PLUS the jewel in the crown…. THE ALFAJOR ice-cream! We ate these ice-creams constantly in Uruguay, and sadly, they only seem to make a pathetic, weedy version in Argentina.. 🙁
So… now that we have confirmed that the food in Uruguay is better than in Argentina, let’s move on… 🙂
Breakfast in Uruguay leaned more towards Brazil than Argentina – especially when it came to the provision of cakes! Usually they were more ‘pastry’ like than full-on cakes, but there was always a good selection 🙂
Also, the coffee seemed to taste better in Uruguay 🙂 But maybe that’s my imagination, or my taste buds being fired up by all the cakes…!
Whenever we don’t have breakfast provided by the accommodation, the go-to breakfast of choice is All Bran (yes, don’t laugh) – except nowhere actually has All Bran – so it’s the closest equivalent. Believe it or not, in some places there is NO BRAN BASED CEREAL – WTF?! Yes, hard to believe isn’t it? But, I can happily report that Uruguay even has it’s own brand of bran-based cereal – YES! 🙂
Lunch and Dinner
One of the problems that CC has when looking for lunch and dinner in South America, is that she doesn’t like meat. Yes, this could be quite a big problem, but she does however eat fsh, and also now has expanded her range to include ‘tasteless meat like what you get in hot dogs, as long as it’s covered in chill sauce and mustard to disguise it’, and ‘chicken, as long as it’s shredded up and doesn’t really taste like chicken’. Also, any bits of meat that are too small to taste can be consumed.
However, even with this extended culinary range it’s still quite difficult to find cheap fast food… BUT in Uruguay there is hope…. enter the Torta Pascualina… which is kind of like a quiche/pie and generally contains egg, spinach and cheese.
This is actually something that apparently came over with Italian immigrants, and so as well as in Uruguay, it can be found in Buenos Aires and other areas around Rio de la Plata. However, over in Argentina it’s much harder to find, and seems to be restricted to supermarkets – whereas in Uruguay it’s EVERYWHERE! Lucky CC 🙂
As you can see from the menu above, there is also a ham and cheese version – and this is WELL DELICIOUS 🙂 In my opinion, better than the pascualina…
So, we pretty much lived off these for lunches, which was a very welcome break from sandwiches.. 🙂
Lots of the food from Argentina – eg milenesas – was available in Uruguay too, but I will write about those items in the Argentina food post – yes, there will be one someday….
There are a few other interesting things around….for one – buñuelos de acelga – or ‘chard fritters’ – yes, they do taste better than they sound, and they also taste better than they look.. 🙂
Also, a special mention to a very Uruguayan speciality – which is REALLY good…chajá. It’s a dessert, and it’s difficult to describe the taste exactly, but it just melts in your mouth, mmmmm.
Now, unfortunately for me there is no English wikipedia article to link to, so I am going to have to write about it…. it was invented in 1927 by a guy who ran a cake shop in the city of Paysandú, Uruguay. It is named after a bird that is very common there (see, we always get a bird mention in there somewhere 🙂 ) which in English is called the Southern Screamer. It is made from meringue, biscuity stuff (that’s a technical term), double cream, and fruit (usually peach).
So, there you go – a delicious dessert named after a bird – that’s combining two of CC’s favourite things in one 🙂 🙂 🙂
And so, moving on to drinks…..
There is of course craft beer in Uruguay 🙂 Which we found to be of a high standard…
Of course there is also Mate – but you already know lots about that (if you are a diligent reader 😉 )
So, did you know that Uruguay makes wine? Well, yes it does – and it was actually AWESOME. There is a grape variety called Tannat – which is a Uruguayan speciality, and in fact is described as the ‘national grape’ of Uruguay. In our ‘grape variety ranking’ table (we don’t really have a grape variety ranking table 😉 ) it comes second after carménère.
And last but not least… the national alcoholic drink… which is… Grappamiel. This is pretty much Italian style grappa with honey added. It’s good on ice, and I quite liked it. CC didn’t mind it… until… the next day she felt sick… and she blamed the Grappamiel and not the 2 large beers that we had had before we drank the grappamiel…yes, can you see a pattern forming here? So far, the national alcoholic drinks are not doing too well in CC’s eyes – with the exception of the Pisco Sour.
So… I had to drink the rest all by myself….