In One Picture: Uruguay is South America’s Orchard
Meat lovers will argue whether Brazil or Argentina has the best beef, but whether you are an omnivore, carnivore, or locavore, Uruguay has South America’s best food. Uruguayan beef is far more tastier than that of their larger neighbors. Chivitos (which I describe as a french fry and sliced meat sundae) probably wins as one of the most indulgent and ridiculous dishes ever created in Latin America . . . or anywhere. But man cannot and should not live on meat alone, and this is where Uruguay wins. Uruguayan fruits and vegetables are sublime. Bergamot oranges that peel easily and then rip through your mouth with that perfect blend of acid and sweet. Lemons in several varieties that are far more fragrant than the waxy versions to which Europeans and North Americans are accustomed. Then you have the stone fruit: peaches, apples, and plums often taste the way they should because they are picked ripe off the tree. Of course the vegetables tantalized me, and I wanted to cook the various greens, tomatoes, squash, and tubers that would have impressed any chef. Many of the farms in Uruguay are still family owned, and locals insisted that Uruguayan produce is free of the pesticides and chemicals that have become the standard for agribusiness and farming in the Northern hemisphere. This one picture was taken of just one of the many verdulerias and fruterias that I passed while wandering through Montevideo during my last visit. It was a reminder that Uruguayan food is beyond compare. From its freshest ingredients to dulce de leche to Tannat wine, the meals and street food I enjoyed there call me back. And if that occurred, I would escape to Punda del Diablo in a second . . .