The Enduring Charm of the Old Pulperías

The tradition of rural grocery stores since the late 18th century

Ruiz (2021-02-05/2021-02-05) by Juan Pablo LanciottiGustar

Rural tourism in the suburbs

Frozen in time, or converted as faithfully as possible to their original form, pulperías are flagships for the growing trend in rural tourism, above all in the province of Buenos Aires and the region of the Pampas. 

Ruiz (2021-02-05/2021-02-05) by Juan Pablo LanciottiGustar

The substance of literature

Pulperías assume a heritage rooted in the collective imagination, drawing from emblematic works of traditional narrative—such as Martín Fierro by José Hernández—in which they are represented at the heart of gaucho life.

Pulpería (2021-02-05/2021-02-05) by Juan Pablo LanciottiGustar

Station and shelter

In the early days of colonialism, they emerged as stations for caravans of carts and coaches, providing food and respite for the horses, as well as shelter, provisions, and leisure for the travelers.

Pulpería (2021-02-05/2021-02-05) by Edgardo ReinaGustar

A meeting point

As the only trading center for the itinerant, solitary life on the Pampas, gauchos would meet there to eat, drink, play cards, and find out about the latest news. Over the course of the 19th century, the majority were converted into general stores. 

Pulpería (2021-02-05/2021-02-05) by Juan Pablo LanciottiGustar

Journey to the past

Many pulperías have stood the test of time in rural areas, on the edges of the urban territory. Towns in the districts of San Antonio de Areco, San Andrés de Giles, Navarro, and Baradero have a series of charming but very old establishments.

Pulpería (2021-02-05/2021-02-05) by Juan Pablo LanciottiGustar

A homage to tradition

Always true to their roots, they are decorated with objects and memorabilia from gaucho times. They furnish visitors with their products and offer midday and evening meals consisting of typical, traditional food, sometimes accompanied by folklore shows.

Pulpería (2021-02-05/2021-02-05) by Juan Pablo LanciottiGustar

Traditional menu

Impressive snacks, including cold cuts and artisan cheeses, beef roulades, and pickles are some of the distinctive culinary offerings in the modern pulperías. In general, these are served as appetizers before the legendary rotisserie barbecues.

Pulpería (2021-02-05/2021-02-05) by Edgardo ReinaGustar

Wine included

Some establishments boost their offering with samples and tastings, while others maintain the tradition of selling wine, as in days gone by. The penguin jug, originating from the height of the immigrant wave in the early decades of the 20th century, occupies a privileged position in the store.

Pulpería (2021-02-05/2021-02-05) by Edgardo ReinaGustar

Traditional dishes

Pulperías also offer visitors the chance to taste rustic recipes and Argentinian cuisine from olden times, recalling the flavors developed by their grandmothers, such as ravioli with veal shanks (see photo), steak topped with fried eggs, and stews.

Pulpería (2021-02-05/2021-02-05) by Juan Pablo LanciottiGustar


Another classic gastronomic ritual in the pulperías is the tasting of homemade empanadas, as well as purchasing preserves, liquor, meat sandwiches, sweet cakes, and artisan confectionery. The stores also sell local honey, jellies, wicker items, and pottery.

Ruiz (2021-02-05/2021-02-05) by Juan Pablo LanciottiGustar

A recurring postcard

Throughout all the pulperías, the imagery is almost always charming old doors, traditional ranches with straw roofs, wooden floors, walls filled with centuries-old offerings, old bottles, lights, and cash registers that resemble artistic installations.

Tambo (2021-03-08/2021-03-09) by Juan Pablo LanciottiGustar

A bridge between two worlds

Although they no longer serve the social function they used to, pulperías bear witness to the lives of country folk; they celebrate their preferences, some of which are still active, while others are blurred by modernity, and they act as a link between rural and city life.

Credits: Story

Editing: Diego Marinelli/Text: Aníbal Mendoza

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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