The Products and Flavors of the Argentine Littoral

Rivers, rainforests, and Guaraní traditions

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The Argentine Littoral region is nature in its purest form. The region, which is made up of the provinces of Misiones, Corrientes, Entre Ríos, Formosa, Chaco, and Santa Fe, has rainforests, fast-flowing rivers, and red soil.

The variety of its geography is reflected in its gastronomy. The flavors of the Argentine Littoral are influenced by the imposing presence of rivers such as the Paraná, and by the traditions of the Guaraní people, who originally lived in this region as well as in Paraguay and some parts of Brazil and Bolivia.

Un colibrí en la chacra en Paraje Nueva Argentina. (2020-12-26/2020-12-28) by Fotógrafo 1: Julio Noguera.Gustar

One region, endless wonders

The Argentine Littoral is a popular destination with both domestic and international tourists, thanks to its numerous attractions. Its most famous tourist attractions are the Iguazu Falls, the Iberá Wetlands, the ruins of a Jesuit mission, and the El Impenetrable National Park in Gran Chaco, a native forest covering an area that is over 15,444 square miles (40,000 km²).

La chacra en Paraje Nueva Argentina. (2020-12-26/2020-12-28) by Fotógrafo 1: Julio Noguera.Gustar

A cultural melting pot

Migratory flows and the influence of the Guaraní people connect the Argentine Littoral with Paraguay and some parts of Brazil. These three places share a gastronomy, as well as cultural traditions such as music and the Guarani language, spoken by inhabitants of all three countries.

Pescador en el Río Paraná, Puerto Bemberg (2020-12-06/2021-01-08) by Fotógrafo 2: Gonzalo Guendler.Gustar

A fishing paradise

The Argentine Littoral also has some of Argentina’s biggest fishing areas, with rivers such as the Paraná, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bermejo, and Pilcomayo. Its varied fish fauna, which includes dorado, catfish, and pacu, has meant that the region is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts.

La chacra en Paraje Nueva Argentina. (2020-12-26/2020-12-28) by Fotógrafo 1: Julio Noguera.Gustar

Fertile land

The Argentine Littoral’s agriculture is varied and based around cotton, rice, corn, soya, yerba maté, and tea. Thanks to its climate, it also produces tropical fruits such as pineapple, mango, and papaya.

La chacra en Paraje Nueva Argentina. (2020-12-26/2020-12-28) by Fotógrafo 2: Gonzalo Guendler.Gustar

Tobacco is also one of the region’s main commodities. Once harvested, some varieties are cured and air-dried by hanging them upside down from wires or ropes. 

 

Limpieza del Yerbal (2021-02-11/2021-02-13) by Fotógrafo 1: Julio Noguera.Gustar

The land of yerba maté

The Argentine Littoral is the home of yerba maté production, which is the basis of Argentinians’ favorite infusion, maté. Yerba maté fields are more than just crop fields; they are a central part of the Argentine Littoral’s culture and landscape.

Preparación del tereré (2021-02-11/2021-02-13) by Fotógrafo 1: Julio Noguera.Gustar

Tereré

This drink, which is very popular in the Argentine Littoral, is like a cold maté. It is made with yerba maté leaves to which cold water or juice is added. Some people add pohã ñana (the Guaraní name for medicinal herbs) to it.

Giuliana prepara tereré (2021-02-11/2021-02-13) by Fotógrafo 1: Julio Noguera.Gustar

When making it with juice, it is best to use juice that is freshly squeezed; usually orange, grapefruit, or lemon.

Tereré (2021-02-11/2021-02-13) by Fotógrafo 1: Julio Noguera.Gustar

The water or juice is poured into a glass or plastic jug, with plenty of ice. The gourds used for serving tereré are usually made of glass or metal. Ice and a little sugar can be added to the herbs.

Giuliana Francesca y Fernando toman tereré (2021-02-11/2021-02-13) by Fotógrafo 1: Julio Noguera.Gustar

Some historians believe that the tradition of tereré drinking originated in Paraguay. Tereré drinking, in common with the traditional ritual of maté drinking, is based around the idea of sharing.

Preparacion del Mbejú (2021-01-27/2021-01-29) by Fotógrafo 1: Julio Noguera.Gustar

Mbeyú

Cassava’s Guaraní roots have meant that it is a central ingredient in the cuisine of the Argentine Littoral. It also features heavily as an ingredient in Paraguayan, Brazilian, and Bolivian cuisine. One traditional dish is mbeyú, a kind of fried cake made using cassava starch.

Mónica y Leticia comen Mbejú (2021-01-27/2021-01-29) by Fotógrafo 1: Julio Noguera.Gustar

The recipe is simple: it is made with cassava flour, cheese, butter, egg, milk, and salt.

Proceso de elaboración de un plato típico del NEA: Gallinada. (2020-12-26/2020-12-28) by Fotógrafo 2: Gonzalo Guendler.Gustar

Gallinada

This dish, originally from Brazil, is a kind of chicken and rice stew, cooked using the stock from the chicken breast and thighs, with added seasoning and cornstarch.

Proceso de elaboración de un plato típico del NEA: Gallinada. (2020-12-26/2020-12-28) by Fotógrafo 2: Gonzalo Guendler.Gustar

A popular method of making gallinada is in a pan known as a disco, meaning disc. This is a flat frying pan made from thick iron, with handles on either side. It is heated over a flame and coated in oil or animal fat.

Lidia sirviendo Chipa Guazú. (2020-12-26/2020-12-28) by Fotógrafo 2: Gonzalo Guendler.Gustar

Chipá guazú

From the 17th century onward, Jesuit missions were established in what is now Paraguay and northeastern Argentina. The Jesuits came to the region intending to convert the Guarani people to Christianity. Dishes such as chipá guazú are the culinary legacy of those missions.

Un plato típico del NEA: Chipa Guazú. (2020-12-26/2020-12-28) by Fotógrafo 2: Gonzalo Guendler.Gustar

They are a kind of baked corn cake with cheese, onion, butter, egg, and milk.

La chacra en Paraje Nueva Argentina. (2020-12-26/2020-12-28) by Fotógrafo 1: Julio Noguera.Gustar

Tropical fruits

Thanks to the properties of its soil and the region’s climatic conditions, the Argentine Littoral produces tropical fruits that are not easy to grow in other parts of Argentina, such as pineapples, papayas, mangoes, and bananas.

Credits: Story

COMI Cocina Misionera, Ministerio de Turismo de Misiones /Editor: Diego Marinelli/Text: Juan Marinelli <br>

Credits: All media
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