Mendoza benefits from a unique geographic location at the foot of the Andes. This makes it perfect for the cultivation of wine, but it also means that you will find food and products here that don’t make their way easily to, say, Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires. Here is our guide to the best things to eat while you’re in Maipu.
An obvious choice, for who can come to Argentina and not sample the incredible meat that is on offer in all corners of the country? Many a vegetarian has become a convert for the duration of their stay, such is the lure of the sacred steak. And, of course, Mendoza being primarily a viticultural region, a juicy steak is best served with a rich glass of Malbec. One of the most traditional ways to cook meat in Mendoza is in a clay oven, which tenderises the meat to make it mouthwateringly tasty and melt-in-the-mouth. The restaurant at Casa de Campo serves beef, rabbit, and pork in a variety of styles, but all cooked in the “horno de barro”. They also serve the traditional “disco”, or casserole prepared in a large, flat pan that is slow-cooked over the open fire.
Considering the amount of wine consumed in Maipu, it would be remiss not to mention the delectable selection of local cheeses that can be sampled with a wine tasting in one of the many bodegas you will surely visit on your trip. While the typical provoleta cheese is consumed nationwide, grilled on the parilla and served with your meal at steakhouses, farmhouse and regional cheeses are harder to come by in typical restaurants or local supermarkets. Luckily Mendoza has some wonderful cheesemongers, including Qualtaye, a speciality cheesemaker who produces both sardo, a hard cow’s cheese found in many places in Argentina, as well as fynbo, a semi-hard cheese typical of Denmark. Qualtaye also infuse their cheeses with rosemary, oregano, nuts, and dried fruits. It is also common to find rarer cheeses like goat’s cheese served as part of cheese boards or platters.
While Mendoza might be best known for its wine production, the region also has a reputation for producing high quality olive oil. Known as the Olive Road, Maipu’s olive oil-producing enclave is home to the Pasrai olive grove, a family enterprise that has been going since the 1920s. Laur is another olive oil manufacturer in Maipu in the same area as Pasrai, and they also produce speciality foodstuffs including vinegars and preserves. Tours of the olive oil region in Maipu are available for visitors, where you can be taken around the factory and shown how the oil is produced.
It goes without saying that when in Mendoza, one must drink wine. Maipu is home to many of Mendoza’s most well-known wineries, including the famous Familia Zuccardi who operate a vineyard, restaurant, and bodega. El Enemigo is another of the region’s renowned winemakers, as well as Bodega Lagarde, which is situated in lush green surroundings and has an impressive gastronomic offering. Finca Agostino’s modern bodega has a fantastic range of blends that you can sample, and the world-famous Trapiche bodega welcomes visitors to its beautiful property to taste its wines and dine in its restaurant.