The ritual of the Northern food was sacred for centuries. It took a long process of preparation with several following hours to enjoy it. Pailas (big metal vessels), woody spoons and time were some of the basic ingredients to prepare spicy red stews, colored by the tones of the different chili. To fill all those pots, the Pachamama or Mother Earth was always generous. Corn is the foundation of this region’s meals. With chuchoca (white corn) a delicious stew called locro is made, that invites you to eat with the back sound of the guitars and quenas (a local kind of flute), well served with a Torrontés, white wine or some of the red ones also well cultivated in the area. Besides corn, cooking is completed with chili peppers; traditional and little potatoes as well as different tuber plants with their infinite flavors, colors and sizes. Colors like lilac, green, blue, yellow or red, are only some of them. The pre-Hispanic quinoa and the amaranth are no longer a secret, to be once again enjoyed in new versions. The region also gives pumpkins and lama meat which is increasingly known, and the charqui (meat dried in the sun), among other foods. So, in this region where silence is imposed to appreciate its natural beauties, there is a lot to visit and to taste. It is a sin to leave NOA without having eaten empanadas (a meat pie), humitas (a meal made with sweet corn) or tamales. Or not having plunged a spoon into those locros or spices, name given to stews. Afterwards come the sweets, with the classic vigilante dessert: syrup spread on a piece of cheese. After having seen part of the landscapes, it is a must to fill the luggage with the honey of the Calchaquíes valleys, or some carob-tree or anise scents. The alfajores made with the carob bean, the sweets with local fruits as the fig, the cuaresmillo or the alcayota (kind of pumpkin); and the dulce de leche made with goat milk, are also classics. There also are the typical candies as the alfajores with nougat and molasses, gaznates (cupcakes filled with cream or dulce de leche), and sweet light meals, and the crystallized nuts. Finally, meals, good wines, guitar playing, landscapes like coming out of a postcard, and much more, awaits for those who come to this delicious Argentine region.
“This book, which is a great map of flavors of Argentine regions to visit, is rich and varied.”
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