Favs from the Fiambreria: How to build a great Patagonian Picnic

A good life requires a good fiambreria. That’s a deli. And that’s where so many of the good things can be picked up. Every little neighbourhood in Argentina has a fiambreria because simple things sold there are considered essential here.

Argentines love to snack. Or maybe I ought to say they love to ‘pick’, because they love una picada. It’s a classic part of daily food intake.

The Bariloche-style picada is famous across the country. A wooden tabla or board is brought out with a selection of whatever is found nearby – cold cuts, salami, cheese, olives, pickles, raisins, nuts, bread sticks. It’s usually a pre-dinner snack, and a fundamental pre-asado step.

Uno pica, one nibbles, from la tablita.

My dream deli in Argentina is located in Mendoza, where all the yummy things – olives, tomatoes and such – are from. Everything is oozing with freshness, soaked in olive oil, accompanied by fresh bread. It’s all I need to eat, all the time.

Down here in Bariloche, fiambrerias excel at smoked fiambres (cold cuts). Smoked venison, trout, wild boar, salmon and even smoked cheeses are available.

Everybody has their go-to fiambreria. My favourite, just about 2 km down the road from our cabin, also has some amazing aceitunas griegas, dark and oily, which are without a doubt my fav kind o’ olive. The oil they’re sitting in, when I bring them home in a simple plastic bag, is deep green. Incredibly fresh. Scrumptuous.

So I pop in there once a week or so to stalk up and say hello to Diego behind the counter, who loves fiambres as much as anybody I’ve met.

He often offers up good pairing ideas for cheeses that match with the cold cuts. His Italian-style fresh buns are the best in town. Diego’s got nearly a dozen kinds of olives and fiambres ranging from pate to prosciutto. I usually grab some jamon serrano and lomo salomillo, some reggianito and goat cheese. For mi marido, I’ll grab some dulce de membrillo.

Diego has a small stock of vino tinto as well, including my friend Fede’s Finca La Florencia from Lujan de Cuyo, from his family’s historic vineyard. I can get a box there, shaving a few pesos off the total.

And then I’m fully stocked up.

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