A LOVE LETTER TO GNOCCHI
I was 4 years old when we were introduced. Back then, I fit snugly on a corner of my abuela’s kitchen counter in her bright blue house on a quaint street in Rocha, Uruguay. I would make the simple process of combining potatoes with flour to form your luscious little dumplings a nightmare for my poor abuela. A sprinkling of flour on the counter became an explosion of the entire bag, flour covering every surface of the kitchen, including myself.
TANGO MYSTIQUE ON THE RÍO DE LA PLATA
Three different women tried to kill themselves when they heard the news. It was June 24, 1935, and Carlos Gardel, the greatest tango legend of all time, had died in a plane crash in Medellín,Colombia.
THE PERFECT DAY IN MONTEVIDEO
In 1516 the Spanish explorer Juan Díaz de Solís laid eyes on the Río de la Plata for the first time. The body of water looked more like an ocean than a river, he thought. He nicknamed it mar dulce, or sweet sea.
There is no secret ingredient to Bar Arocena’s famous chivito. Or at least that’s what Fernando López, one of Arocena’s managers, says as I get ready to bite into the hot sandwich he’s just put down in front of me. “No secrets,” he repeats. “It’s a very simple sandwich. So simple.”
NEED TO KNOW: URUGUAY
Uruguay no longer stands in the shadow of its neighboring giants Argentinaand Brazil. This country of just over 3 million people makes headlines not only as the place with the best quality of life in Latin America—it is also one of the most progressive nations in the world. Discover the ins and outs of meat-loving Uruguay.
THE RAIDERS OF RUTA 7
The August sun rises above the Centro Obrero Tupambaé, where I’ve just left my first raid dance. The next bus down Ruta 7 doesn’t come for two more hours. Since the previous afternoon, I’ve shared countless sips of mate with friends and strangers, gone to a beauty pageant, turned red with sunburn, and danced to Lucas Sugo. Now I’m headed back to Cerro Chato—a small town (population 3,227) four hours outside Uruguay’s capital—to referee a youth soccer match.
WHEN IN URUGUAY, DRINK MATE
Take a sip and pass it around. But don’t move the bombilla! We’re talking about mate, the hot tealike beverage popular in Uruguay (and other parts of South America). Yerba mate (literally “gourd herb”) is made from the leaves of an evergreen tree grown in Paraguay, Brazil, and Uruguay.
YOUR GUIDE TO URUGUAY’S WINE COUNTRY
In Carmelo, a sleepy town in rural southwestern Uruguay, a busy work week might include a “quick” three-hour barbecue lunch with at least one bottle of tannat wine, extended yerba mate sessions, cruises along the delta, and the ever-important midday siestas. It is how many dream to spend their days—belly full of cheese, meat, and wine while gazing into the sunset as gauchos ride on horseback through the vineyard.
Bourdain’s Field Notes
Welcome to the tiny, overlooked but enchanted land of Uruguay, one of my favorite places to visit and easily one of the top underappreciated travel destinations on earth. It has beautiful beaches, breathtaking countryside, and a capital that evokes old Havana or Buenos Aires—but without the crowds.
It is, however, no country for vegetarians.
Everywhere you look, on parrillas (large iron grills)—the prominent cooking method of the region—vast wonderlands of meat and sausages cook slowly over wood coals. Salads are few and far between. Apparently, chicken is considered a vegetable.
20 destinations for 2015: Uruguay
Often over-shadowed by its brasher neighbours, Uruguay is South America’s hidden gem, writes Chris Moss
Why? Travel stories from Uruguay always focus on Punta del Este and its aspirational satellites, La Barra and José Ignacio. But some of the less obvious attractions of South America’s smallest Spanish-speaking country lie away from the Atlantic coast. Wine buffs have been busy discovering Uruguay’s tannat-based blends and varietals.
Wine, Olive Oil and the Good Life in Uruguay
Our first lunch was laid out like a last supper. There, in the middle of a vineyard, underneath a billowing white cotton tent, a long wooden table had been set up, every inch of it covered with platters of food. There was the stuff you might expect at a picnic: bread, homemade and chewy; wedges of various cheeses arranged on wooden cutting boards; paper-thin slivers of prosciutto and salami. Then there were the local specialties — bowls of creamy spinach dip, stacks of freshly baked empanadas, stuffed with tuna and still steaming. And finally the wine, bottles of the heavy stuff this area was famous for and what brought us here in the first place.
Have a perfect beach vacation in José Ignacio, Uruguay
Old Montauk meets Malibu in Jose Ignacio and the coastal towns surrounding Punta del Este in Southeastern Uruguay. Here you’ll find everything from surf shacks to gauchos in traditional garb, not to mention delicious communal asados (barbecues) set on wide Atlantic beaches. Punta del Este serves as an entry point to a series of lovely fishing villages and quieter inland destinations such as Garzón, the Deco throwback set amongst verdant, rolling hills that is home to famed Argentine chef Francis Mallman’s hotel and restaurant, Garzon.
Uruguay’s Punta del Este has long been ?a glamorous jet-set destination. But the country also boasts a decidedly ?laid-back, rustic-chic beach scene.
In the pantheon of eternal underdogs, there will always be a special place for Uruguay, the small, flat, and mostly featureless country that’s known mainly for lacking the world-class attractions of its nearest neighbors, Argentina and Brazil…
Uruguay: living a gaucho dream
Oliver Balch, an admirer of Uruguay’s last cowboys, heads to the hinterlands to see whether he’s fit to join them.
The cowboy tips his hat. I nod, as nonchalantly as I can. He grunts. I grunt back. This is how it should be. Amiable laconicism. Men among men. We’re in Uruguayan gaucho country after all.
In Uruguay, Bohemian-Chic at the Beach
WHEN summer arrives in December, La Pedrera’s main street bustles with families dining al fresco, sandy-haired teenagers hanging out in board shorts, jazz musicians entertaining passers-by and artisans selling handmade jewelry on makeshift stands.
Vik hotels: Uruguay’s stylish hideaways
With exceptional art and striking interiors, Playa Vik, Estancia Vik and Bahía Vik are defining new standards of style in Uruguay
Four years ago the Norwegian-Uruguayan billionaire investor Alexander Vik took the decision with his American wife, Carrie, to admit paying guests to Playa Vik, the four-bedroom beach house (plus six satellite casitas) they had built on Playa Mansa near Faro José Ignacio, 12 miles from the super-fashionable Uruguayan resort town of Punta del Este.
Your Next Winter Escape: Punta Del Este in Uruguay
“The Hamptons of Buenos Aires” is the easy shorthand for Punta del Este, a reference to the fact that well-off Porteños started building their summer retreats here a century ago. But I prefer the “St. Barth of South America,” as this sunny, sandy sliver of Uruguayan coast is now also a magnet for Brazilians, drawn by the safety, plus a smattering of international jet-setters. It’s also more casual than most millionaires’ playgrounds—I’ve never taken “barefoot luxury” so literally: At two prestigious establishments here, I followed the lead of other guests and kicked off my shoes at the door.
At home on the range in Uruguay
Fancy life as a gaucho? The ranches of Uruguay are the place to come over all cowboy, from horseriding to cattle-herding to eating huge amounts of meat…
Perched on horseback, I listened to the prairie sing its own song. The rumbling cattle hooves, bellowing moos and metallic groans of American windpumps were the orchestral arrangements. The gauchos – South American cowboys – were the conductors, their yelps of encouragement drifting across the bottle-green plains.
Uruguay’s boutique wineries
“I love creating new blends, experimenting with grapes and techniques, and taking risks. Any winery today can hire an oenologist and make standard wines. But it’s about the process. If I had to make the same wine all the time to the same standard…” said boutique winemaker Pablo Fallabrino, before trailing off and bursting into laughter.