One of the great things about living in Buenos Aires is having the ability to easily escape to any number of smaller towns or farming communities for a day trip. Gabriela, my Spanish teacher, had been thinking about taking me and Erin along with her to explore one of these places. She grew up in Quilmes and has traveled the world, and Argentina, extensively. One of the few campos she hadn’t yet been to but was dying to check out is Uribelarrea. Fun to say, I know. Located within the provincia of Buenos Aires, it was founded in 1890 when Miguel Nemesio de Uribelarrea donated some of his land to start an agricultural community. Just 4 years later, the Don Bosco school was created to teach the children of the town the technical skills needed to cultivate the land for farming, raise cows for milk and other livestock for food, produce the incredible Argentine fiambres (cured meats) and cheeses, etc. The school is said to be the first of its kind in Argentina and still functions to this day. The importance of this school is realized immediately once you try any of the foods produced in Uribe.
We started our trip by taking a small bus from downtown to a town called Cañuelas. It was about a mile walk from where we were dropped off to the bus/train station we needed to get to, so we were fortunate enough to pass through and get a glimpse of the town. With a population of around 50 thousand, Cañuelas is only around 40 minutes outside of the capital and is a good jumping off point to get to places like Lobos and (of course) Uribe.
We got off at the stop right in front of the church, although that was not what was important to us. Across the street from the house of worship was my kind of house of worship – a restaurant called El Palenque. A Palenque is the wooden bar that is outside of saloons and other establishments where the gauchos used to tie their horses to while they went inside to tie one on. As you can see from the picture below, this place has been around for a while. Classically Argentine, the food is your standard asado fare of grilled meats. Now don’t let my use of the word “standard” lead you to think that it’s anything but incredible. Keep in mind that the ability to cook meat over an open fire courses through their veins, and don’t forget that the meat they offer came from a local farm just a few steps away. Heaven.
After stuffing ourselves, we decided to head to the possible source of the meat we had just eaten. Since we went on a Saturday class was not in session, but fortunately the little store that sells the products they make was and they didn’t mind us walking around on our own on the grounds.
After our tour of the school, we got back into the car of the chofer we hired for the day. He was a super nice guy, was incredibly knowledgeable of Uribe having grown up there, and even attended the school when he was younger. Our next stop was the tambo de cabras – goat milk farm.
Onward to Puerto Escondido, a shop right down the road from the tambo de cabras that makes their own fiambres and other indulgences.
They, like everyone else in Uribe, were super cool and more than welcome to show us how they do things. All the salami/sausage is made in house and hung to dry and age in the interior.
Just a few hundred meters down the road lay our final destination. The Uribeña is a place I still dream about and can’t wait to go back to. This bar serves up their house made beer to compliment the menu of local picadas. At the time, they had a blond, a red, and a black beer being served on tap.
Right before we left we were standing around waiting for the cab we called to pick us up and bring us back to Cañuelas, a couple local guys rode up on horseback. They were teenagers and racing each other, just like we would with cars in the States. Erin immediately went up and started to pet the horse when the guy asked her if she wanted to ride it. This was yet another example of how warm and welcoming everyone in Uribelarrea is. Can’t wait to go back.