Argentinian Malbecs and Gaucho-Style Steaks

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 Sizzling, Gaucho-style steaks fill the plates; ruby-colored Malbec glistens in wine glasses waiting to be enjoyed. It beckons you–an abundant, mouthwatering bounty that is not pretentious or self-conscious but begs to be enjoyed. In many ways, it is emblematic of Argentine culture itself.

If, as we say, a society’s culture becomes apparent through visible signs, Argentine food and gracious, casual dining reveal so much. Dining is a sumptuous experience, symbolic of the plenty of the New World. It’s a time to relax and enjoy hearty food in the company of your friends and family.

Restaurants are full of children late into the night. There’s a din of noise, people talking, laughing, clanking silverware and glasses. Relationships are very important and the food culture nurtures them.

Our 22-year-old vineyard guide waxed poetic about wine-making and told us in detail about her grandmother mixing wine with seltzer water to teach her how to enjoy wine from the youngest age. “I’m passionate about my wine,” she bubbled.

Food and family are intertwined. Different from many of its South American neighbors, Argentina was also settled by families who created businesses and brought family values. Even the gauchos were settlers intent on remaining in the country, not just extracting natural resources to send back to Europe.

I think about other countries and their food culture: France, Japan and Italy. Each one tells a unique story about the country, its aesthetics, its interpersonal relationships — so much.

Where have you seen this intersection of food, culture and relationships?