Regional plates - Córdoba

Region: 
Córdoba
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Flavours of the region: 

Regional Cordobesa Food

Dr.Javier Negri

Referring to “cordobesa” as the traditional gastronomic culture from Argentina’s Mediterranean area is probably wrong, given that the cooking habits of central Argentina do not restrict themselves to the geographic boundaries of that province. Nonetheless, we will keep using cordobesa even though it might be unfair to the adjacent regions.

Now that we have clarified the geographical area, we will start identifying the common features that distinguish cordobesa food from the rest of the country. As always, the culinary identity of a region is directly connected to the resources available. The Mediterranean agricultural production does not feature the abundance from the Pampa’s most fertile areas (grazing cattle can be more difficult in arid regions), nor the magnificent rivers from the Litoral or the ports on the Atlantic Ocean that could provide fish and seafood. This is the reason why cordobesa food is identified by the simplicity of its ingredients: the hunting pieces and a few agricultural products such as corn which is essential for mazamorra, locro and some other homemade stews.

The center of Argentina is a semi arid region of barren woodlands which constitutes a natural habitat for goats and kids. The kid is a rustic animal which suffers from few diseases and whose meat features an excellent virtue: it does not need to be aged. So, unlike other meats, kid meat can be grilled right after slaughter and does not need to be seasoned; only some salt is enough (unlike lamb or pork). “Espinillo” abounds in the Mediterranean region providing the best logs for grill cooking. Therefore, not much more is required to make grilled kid the cordobés dish par excellence. The chanfaina is also worth mentioning-another regional food that is prepared using kid blood and its giblets which are called chunchula.

The beef shortage or the difficulty involved in its conservation (when there were neither refrigerators nor the electric power to make them work), brought about the existence of charqui : salty meat dried in the sun. The dry weather of this semi arid region is ideal for its preparation.

Given that Cordoba is very close to Tucumán, sugar is a constant ingredient in its regional food. It is not only used in the preparation of marmalades and typical desserts but also in regional liquors (milk and egg liquors) and in empanada’s filling (according to older recipes it takes as much sugar as salt or paprika) or carbonada, the already mentioned chanfaina, humita or locro. In Córdoba, all these dishes take sugar and a lot of it! Many foreign people complain that Argentine desserts are too sweet; well, in the Mediterranean area they are even sweeter!

A suitable description for Cordobesa food, no matter how brief, should include the different stages of its development and evolution. As we have already mentioned, farm products have been the basic ingredients of the traditional food. Some of them, for example, locro in its plainest version, (meaning without meat) or the charqui or chastaca are of Incaic origin. The migratory currents and the development of communications contributed to the incorporation of new foods and ingredients without eliminating the colonial base. This was the case of locro to which beef was subsequently added and also chicken which gave birth to the traditional cordobesa food called “perico vicente”. Something similar happened with mazamorra whose main ingredient was white milled maize, which was originally a side dish. Then, as migratory influence and the products availability developed, locro started to incorporate new ingredients. 

The Mediterranean region has received Italian, Jewish, Arab and German immigrants. All of them have left their heritage: the peninsular colonies in Caroya, for example, are famous for the preparation of salamanes and hams of Italian origin. The Germans left the Octoberfest in the area of Calamuchita (Villa General Belgrano and La Cumbrecita); the Arab empanadas and the niño envuelto (rolled beef with vegetable filling) of Levantino origin are very common in the region.

The growing interest from Argentine people to know the roots of their country and families has brought about the reassessment of old family recipes. The Mediterranean region preserves the old colonial food but has also incorporated traditional food from migratory currents that subsequently arrived in the region. Not many places in Argentina feature such a cooking variety as the Mediterranean region. Buenos Aires can be proud of the variety and quality of its cookery but Córdoba also preserves the worship to the traditional criolla food.

Recipes: 

Cabrito al Asador (Grilled Baby Goat)

The kid is a typical seasonal dish of Córdoba. In spring, it is customary to roast and eat these tasty animals by the fire, accompanied by wine and a loaf of bread.

Ingredients (12 servings):

1 baby goat
2 lemons
6 cloves of garlic
Coarse salt
Hot water

Cut baby goat in the middle, gut it and let cool for a few hours covered by a handful of coarse salt.

Prepare brine with coarse salt, hot water, chopped garlic and lemon juice.

Make a wood fire on the ground, and hook goat onto the grill with tweezers and wire. Place it with the ribs facing down on a sloping incline and roast it over a low fire for approximately 4 hours. Turn it around just once. Brush it regularly with brine. Remove and serve or eat by the fire.

Colaciones (Pastry)

Colaciones are a bite-sized pastries stuffed with dulce de leche, a typical Argentine product, that are covered by a thin layer of sugar icing. 

Ingredients (4 servings):

200 gr. powdered sugar 
100 gr. flour 
20 gr. cornstarch 
1 tsp. baking powder 
4 egg yolks
20 gr. sugar 
250 gr. pastry dulce de leche

Preparation:

Combine flour, cornstarch and baking powder. Mold into a volcano-shaped dough and incorporate the yolks one by one in the crater with the sugar and a tbsp. of water. Integrate the ingredients with your hands, making a homogeneous and smooth dough. Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 min.

Roll dough with a rolling pin on a floured surface. Cut into circles of 5-cm molds and stretch to an oval shape. Place the oval discs on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Spread a generous tablespoon of dulce de leche (milk caramel) on each cap. Set aside. 

To make the glaze, mix sugar with two tablespoons of hot water and whisk vigorously into a white blend. Cover the caps with a spoon and set aside

Locro Cordobés

Locro is a dish common to much of the Argentine Republic, although each area has its particular preparation. The following is typical of the province of Córdoba.

Ingredients (6 servings):

800 gr. trodden corn
300 gr. white beans
300 gr. pumpkin
1 chicken
2 peppers
3 onions
3 ripe tomatoes
2 tbsp. grease
1 sprig of parsley
1 tsp. powdered chili pepper
1 tsp. paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

In a saucepan, soak the beans and the trodden corn in water overnight. The next day, boil for about an hour. 

Add cleaned and chopped chicken together with the diced pumpkin. Cook until the pumpkin is ready. 

Separately, peel and chop the onion, pepper, and tomatoes into cubes, and fry in grease. Season with salt, pepper, paprika and powdered chili pepper. Lastly, add chopped parsley. Serve the locro with this dressing. 

Yacanto

Localities: 
San Javier
Establishments type: 
Hotels
Region: 
Córdoba
Establishments information
Description: 

The traditional 1920 hotel of English style is located in Sierras Grandes, at the bottom of Cerro Champaquí, the highest mountain in Córdoba.
The hotel is located in the middle of an impressive landscape, at an altitude of 900 meters (2800 feet).
Among the old trees of an enormous park and surrounded by pure air characteristic of the area, it is considered one of the best microclimates of the World.
The restaurant offers a nice variety of homemade food and a snack bar.
The hotel features a spring water swimming pool for adults and children and a 9 hole golf course with narrow fairways and small greens, designed by Carlos Blasi in 1928.
The hotel is open all year long.

Address: 

Yacanto

Phone: 
+54 (3544) 482002 / +54 (3544) 482007
Contact email: 
Classification
Facilities: 
Outstanding restaurant
You can play golf
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El Puerto Alegre del Buen Señor

Localities: 
La Cumbre
Establishments type: 
Hotels
Region: 
Córdoba
Establishments information
Description: 

The little hotel from the XIII century is located in the Córdoba Mountains.
The house features a pink arched gallery of Arab style and has been restored to offer its guests a most peaceful, comfortable and nice place to stay.
The rooms display classic and smart decoration with modern bathrooms and big windows which offer amazing views.
The restaurant offers gourmet style food and a nice variety of dishes and desserts as part of an all inclusive price system.
The hotel’s innovation is the spa which features Jacuzzi, massage room and Pismanta mud therapies which are included in the service provided.
You can participate in trekking, horse riding expeditions, 4 x4 adventures and mountain biking or just relax at the nice swimming pool.
Silvia de Ridder, its owner, delights her guests with wonderful hospitality honoring kindness and good service for those who appreciate the best.
Children are not allowed.
The hotel is open all year long.

Address: 

Ruta 38 km. 74,5

Phone: 
+54 (11) 15 4440 5188
Contact email: 
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Map Córdoba

Region: 
Córdoba
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La Mora

Localities: 
Santa Rosa De Calamuchita
Establishments type: 
Restaurants
Region: 
Córdoba
Establishments information
Description: 

The restaurant, located at Hostería San Miguel, in San Miguel de los Ríos del Valle de Calamuchita; is warm and cozy. Marco Moreno, its owner and Chef offers excellent Central European, Basque and mountain food. He prepares his food with organic and biodynamic ingredients, assuring the best quality and a symbiotic relationship with the environment around him: pine woods, rivers and mountain paradise. The tasting menu is a journey through flavors and textures that is worth experiencing; Moreno is one of the best of its kind in Argentina. Yamani rice bread with low fat cheese, vegetables and mayonnaise and vegetable sprouts, lamb and lavender confit, chestnut and anise cream soup, cauliflower cream soup, truffles oil, trout prepared in Japanese style with soy bean sauce and butter, topinambur chips, wheat stew and pine mushrooms with truffles scent and rhubarb parfait. Bread, jams and liquors are homemade and the wines are great at perfect cellar temperature. Celiac and diabetic menus are available. It is essential to make a reservation. Payment method: Cash only

Address: 

Calle Pública s/n, Estancia San Miguel de los Ríos

Phone: 
+54 (3546) 461078 int. 88 / +54 (3546) 154 75083
Contact email: 
Classification
Recommendation (Oscars): 
AAG's Very Highly Recommended
Facilities: 
Valet parking
Accepts reservations
Parking
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Images: 
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Cuatro Vientos

Localities: 
San Javier
Establishments type: 
Restaurants
Region: 
Córdoba
Establishments information
Description: 

The restaurant is a family business and a classic of the area which is an exponent of “Slow Food”: eating healthy and homemade food in peace, reprising flavors and taking the time to enjoy and share the best of its food; either in the warm dining room or on the terrace overlooking the mountains or in the park.

The restaurant offers elaborate food with Mediterranean base but with autochthonous touches and ingredients.

You can enjoy delicate typical dishes, “criollos” and homemade such as goat cheese and local cold meats. Grilled meats are excellent and later, you will be delighted by all kind of desserts to suit every whim.In the afternoon, you can watch the sunset while enjoying the most delicious cakes, cold meat appetizers or a nice cup of tea.

Homemade liquors and jams can be purchased on site.

A permanent exhibition of “Tenderos de Traslasierra” is on, where you can buy blankets, artisan knitting yarns (llama and sheep), caronillas, vests and sweaters.

Address: 

Camino de la costa s/n

Phone: 
+54 (3544) 482140
Classification
Facilities: 
Valet parking
Accepts reservations
Parking
Establishments images
Images: 
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Amelie

Localities: 
San Javier
Establishments type: 
Restaurants
Region: 
Córdoba
Establishments information
Description: 

The restaurant is located in the middle of a stand of old trees and a privileged view of Sierra Grande. The architecture is reminiscent of the old English style train stations.

Amelie offers healthy, Central European and Mediterranean food: a proposal of scents and flavors typical of Asian food with different combinations of meats and vegetables cooked “al wok”, grilled meats, criollo dishes and desserts; soft and crunchy textures which are praise for your senses.

You can also enjoy inevitable ingredients from the area such as goat cheese, raspberries, olive oils, trout, mushrooms and others.

From April to November the restaurant prepares a Premium chocolate that can be purchased in different versions: with milk and almonds, mint, caramel, and crunches, to name a few.

The service is friendly.

Payment method: Cash only

Address: 

Calle Pública a 200 m. de Plaza San Javier

Phone: 
+54 (3544) 482-267
Contact email: 
Classification
Facilities: 
Valet parking
Parking
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Images: 
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La Casona del Toboso

Localities: 
La Cumbre
Establishments type: 
Restaurants
Region: 
Córdoba
Establishments information
Description: 

The little cottage, barely visible from the outside, is a classic of La Cumbre. The restaurant offers international food where the specialty is trout, goat, vizcacha, and delicious roasted meat which is served baked or grilled. Payment method: Cash only

Address: 

Belgrano 349

Phone: 
+54 (3548) 451436
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Kasbah

Localities: 
La Cumbre
Establishments type: 
Restaurants
Region: 
Córdoba
Establishments information
Description: 

The restaurant is located at a traditional corner in town and offers exotic food with Oriental flavors. This little and friendly place is always busy and no wonder why! Fabián Onori, owner and Chef, travelled to Asia and studied the secrets of healthfood and is a specialist in Ayurvedic cuisine. The restaurant offers Arab, Thai, Indian, Chinese, Italian and local food. There is something for every taste and the opportunity to experience new and exotic flavors. The food, of Asian style, mixes fast, modern and light meals for the palate with the traditional handling of spices and their scents. It is prepared at the moment using fresh ingredients of excellent quality: Baba Ganoush ahumado (smoked) pastas with curry sauce and sea food, chicken with ginger sauce and lemon and indescribable homemade ice cream …the result is a pleasure. The gastronomy is combined with very nice ambient music; a peculiar mix of Cordobeses, Porteños and foreign guests with the friendliest service. Kasbah is a must in La Cumbre. Payment method: Cash only

Address: 

Sarmiento 6

Phone: 
+54 (3548) 15 401926 / +54 (3548) 451 679
Contact email: 
Classification
Recommendation (Oscars): 
AAG's Highly Recommended
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Macadam

Localities: 
Colonia Caroya
Establishments type: 
Restaurants
Region: 
Córdoba
Establishments information
Description: 

After observing the ancient plane trees that characterize Colonia Caroya, you enter this authentic house that belonged to old Friulians immigrants and was restored in 2001 where you can enjoy the most friendly and family atmosphere. Under the protection of a vine shade or from the big access gallery that leads to the dining room, guests are delighted with typical Caroyenses dishes and the most traditional end exquisite Friulian food. A complex and varied menu that reprises recipes, flavors, smells and cooking methods using fresh and available ingredients from the region: Frico (Spanish omelet with onion and three different cheeses), Codeguin or homemade sausage with white polenta (uncommon in Argentina), Rognosa (scrambled eggs with chorizo or salami, egg and onion)chicory with fricis (pieces of fried bacon). Cold meat appetizers accompanied with homemade wine as “Nonnos” used to do. The wine cellar is excellent with premium wines in store. An upscale restaurant dedicated to the preservation of Friulian food. Payment method: Cash only

Address: 

Av.San Martin 3210

Phone: 
+54 (3525) 469777
Contact email: 
Classification
Recommendation (Oscars): 
AAG's Highly Recommended
Facilities: 
Valet parking
Accepts reservations
Parking
Establishments images
Images: 
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