Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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The rolling grassland each side of the River Plata which includes uruguay and central Argentina is the world’s richest agricultural terrain. The home of nomadic Indians before the arrival of the Spanish, no people had exploited it, nor tilled its soil. It was to prove ideal for imported cattle and sheep, as well as for any temperate crops the new colonists might wish to introduce.

The second largest republic in Latin America is more than just pampas: landscapes vary from the Andes in the north and west, whose foothills support vineyards of high quality, to the rugged terrain of Patagonia in the far south, home of myriad sheep. Nonetheless, it is the superficially romantic life of the gaucho, on the move over immeasurable grasslands, that has marked the character of Argentine, and Uruguayan, cooking.