If one had to pick up a word to describe Argentina, Criollo would be the one that comes first, even before football and El Diego (Maradona).
Criollo is a culture of the huge pampas where Gauchos on horse lead gigantic herds of cattle. It is also all what makes a good Gaucho: from the cloth to his emblematic knife (the fácon) and the famous asado (huge barbecue).
We found out that we are quite criollo, perhaps most than city dwellers in Argentina. We do not ride a horse but a bicycle, we have also special clothing and even an all usage knife (the little swiss army knife). And to complete our cycling Gauchos training, we made an asado!
We did improvise our little version of the asado. We went to a butcher to buy roughly a kilo of meat for 2 persons (that is little here!). We had 2 morcilla (blood sausage), 2 slices of Nalga (filet) and a vacío (a part from the flank of the cow, some 500g of meat at least!!).
As Argentines say, if you know the meat, then you know how to make your barbecue. Depending on the type of meat, you might need to have a thin or thick layer of coal. This is art according to Argentines!
So as they instructed us for our meat, we started a fire, added the coals and when they were bright red, we moved the coals under the grill and cooked the meat. Our first asado was made and we enjoyed it! We were real Gauchos now
Though we did break 2 asado commandments:
- Asado is the men’s arena, but Vera helped me starting the fire.
- It takes 3 asados before one can make it right, but our first one was a great success.
Jean-Christophe & Vera
PS: We even completed our training further. For 24 hours, we had our own dog following us next to our bicycle. It would even chase the cows and sheep in front of us. This poor and beloved dog followed us for 80km (40km per day) and kept watch on our bicycle when the night came. Furthermore, we are now drinking Mate, a herbal drink that is heavily popular in Argentina.