Christmas in Argentina: Food Guide and 7 Popular Dishes

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This is the word I’d choose to summarize the best part of Christmas in Argentina: food. 

Christmas Eve is an important night in Argentina where families dress nicely and gather to enjoy a delicious dinner. 

Every family member takes care of at least one Christmas dish and brings it to the table. 

What are the seven most popular dishes for Christmas in Argentina? Continue reading to find a food guide and all the info about these delicious dishes. 

How Argentina Celebrates Christmas

The temperature in Argentina in December can go over 40°C because it’s summer time. 

Therefore, Christmas in Argentina can be quite different from what you’d consider a “normal” Christmas if you’re in the Northern hemisphere. 

Learn more about how Argentina celebrates Christmas and its seven best traditions on this blog post.

Dressing for Christmas in Argentina

Due to the amount of food and the heat, it’s best to wear loose comfortable clothes for Christmas in Argentina. 

For Argentine women like me, wearing a comfortable dress for Christmas Eve seems to be the favorite choice.

Nothing tight for men, either. They usually prefer a comfortable short sleeve shirt or polo shirt and stretch dress pants. 

Christmas food in Argentina: “La mesa fría”

In Argentina we call our Christmas table “la mesa fría”. This is when we prepare several cold dishes for Christmas Eve.

Cold, fresh dishes are preferable when the temperature is too hot outside.

So forget about warm soup and hot chocolate because you won’t find that for Christmas Eve in Argentina.

Christmas in Argentina: Food Guide

There are seven popular dishes that tend to be present in every Christmas table in Argentina. Read about them below.

7 Popular Dishes

  1. Pionono

This dish is similar to a Swiss roll but it’s usually savory, stuffed with ham, cheese, mayo, olives, red peppers, sometimes tuna or other ingredients. It ‘s just delicious!

  1. Ensalada rusa

Russian salad is very common for Christmas Eve. Some grandmas call it “mayonesa” because it’s usually done with lots of mayo. My grandmother makes the best of these. 

  1. Ensalada Waldorf

Another popular salad is the Waldorf salad, which makes an excellent refreshing dish since it’s got apples, grapes and greens.

  1. Vitel toné

The famous vitel toné is a very popular Italian dish that Argentinians love. It’s basically sliced veal served with an anchovy and tuna-based sauce. 

  1. Pollo relleno

Chicken stuffed with onion, spinach, ham, cheese, bacon and mushrooms. The filling may vary, though. I prefer it with ham, cheese and plum.

  1. Matambre arrollado

The word matambre comes from the combination of the words “mata” (kills) “hambre” (hunger). 

This is a thin cut of meat that is stuffed with peppers, carrots, hard boiled eggs, herbs and spices. Then it is rolled or “arrollado” and sliced. You must try this!

  1. Tomates rellenos

Stuffed tomatoes are refreshing and perfect for a warm Christmas Eve. Usually they are stuffed with rice, tuna, olives, capers and mayo. 

Where to get the best Christmas food in Argentina

All these Christmas food can be purchased at a “rotisería” or rotisserie. My suggestion, though, is to cook everything the old way!

To get the chicken and matambre meat, head over to the bucher’s shop “la carnicería”. 

Get all the vegetables and fruits at a green grocer ‘s or “la verdulería”. 

Supermarkets also provide a wide variety of Christmas ingredients for a tasty “mesa fría”. 

Argentina: Christmas Foods you Must Try

We haven’t talked about the traditional Christmas sweets in Argentina yet. I might even write a separate blog post about this, since there is so much to say about it.

Nevertheless, let me give you a quick list of three Argentinian Christmas sweets you must try! 

  1. Garrapiñadas
  2. Mantecol
  3. Pan dulce

Conclusion

When we talk about Christmas in Argentina, food is a relevant topic. Argentinians prepare a “mesa fría” or cold table with 7 popular dishes:

  1. Pionono (similar to a Swiss roll)
  2. Ensalada rusa (Russian salad)
  3. Ensalada Waldorf (Waldorf salad)
  4. Vitel toné (creamy sliced veal)
  5. Pollo relleno (stuffed chicken)
  6. Matambre arrollado (meat roll)
  7. Tomate relleno (stuffed tomato)

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