Devised to be shared with friends or family, the “picada” is the most social dish of porteños, a true institution of local cuisine. Six things to remember before trying it out.
What is it about? It is the Argentine version of Spanish Tapas or Italian Antipasti. It is an appetizer comprised of several small plates and ingredients, served together at the same time
The simplest contain a little cheese, jam, salami, olives, and snacks (crisps, salted sticks, peanuts). The biggest picadas are as unlimited as imagination itself, and of course, budget: the only condition is that ingredients can be eaten with your hands, whether cold or hot, or they can be spread on a piece of bread. Variety of cheese (Pategras, Gouda, Fontina, Gruyere and Reggianito), spreads, Italian mortadella, salami from Cordoba, leberwurst, beef roulade, palm hearts, pieces of potato tortilla, pickles, sliced sausages, meatballs, falafel, Parma ham, sliced baked sirloin steak, anchovies and pickles are some of the ingredients you can try in a picada.
In general, they are served on a big wooden board, or in trays with compartments or in separate plates.
Before a barbecue, for example, as an appetizer. Or when you are gathered with friends. Until the 60s, Argentine used to eat a simplified version of the picada, called the “copetín”, in mid-afternoon. This custom of the afternoon meal for adults vanished for some decades and now it is becoming usual among young people.
It goes well with beer, red wine- sometimes diluted with sparkling water- or some vermouth: Fernet with Coke or Campari with orange.
You can prepare it at home with ingredients purchased in a supermarket, a deli store or a good market such as Del Progreso, in Caballito or San Telmo. You can also try it in many bars, famous for picadas, where you can choose among different compositions, prices and sizes. Some of the most famous spots are:
* Almacén y bar (Cochabamba 1701, Constitución): for many, the best place in Buenos Aires to eat picadas; you can purchase the ingredients in the store or eat them there freshly cut at the bar.
* Café La Poesía (Chile 502 and Bolívar, San Telmo): among all varieties, it offers a very good veggie picada.
* El Bar de Cao (Independencia 2400, Congreso): it has mini picadas and picadas for one person.
* El Preferido de Palermo (Borges 2108, Palermo): hard cheese and artichoke hearts are some of the ingredients of its picadas.
* Café de García (Sanabria 3302, Villa Devoto): lavish, it includes up to 30 ingredients.
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