The mouthwatering smell of smoky barbecue streamed across downtown Buenos Aires on Monday as the fifth Federal Asado Championship turned the capital’s iconic Obelisk into a vibrant culinary hub, complete with diverse cuisine and a melting pot of musical performances.
Organised by the City government’s BA Capital Gastronómica arm, the event featured 24 talented parrilleros representing different provinces, each showcasing their exceptional grilling skills. Formosa’s Germán Caballero was named winner and crowned with the prestigious title, topping off an atmosphere of culinary excellence and cultural unity.
While the sizzling grills and tantalising aromas took centre stage, in truth the event offered much more than culinary competition. Attendees had the opportunity to explore 60 gastronomy stalls that lined the Metrobus stops of Avenida 9 de Julio, with various local steakhouses from Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, and Río Negro tantalising taste buds with menus featuring traditional asado delights, starting at an affordable 800 pesos a pop.
One patron, Lénia, said out of everything her favourite combo was a chorizo de jabalí y cerdo ahumado, chimichurri sureño and provoleta.
"It's absolutely fantastic," Lénia said. "It's a flavour explosion like no other!"
A day-tripper from out of town, Iván said the day was all about the local cuisine for him and his family.
“I grew up in Bueno Aires, and we came for the holiday,” Iván said. “The food is really good. As you take your first bite of choripán, you know that it is special," he added.
His six-year-old daughter, Vitorica, chimed in happily too: "And I like the hamburger so much!"
Monday’s festival wasn’t just about Argentina though. Additional stalls representing diverse communities, such as German, Bulgarian, Colombian, Cuban, Danish, Japanese, Jewish, Lebanese, Peruvian, and Venezuelan, also showcased their culinary traditions, enriching the cultural experience.
“You have to try our food!” one Lebanese stall owner insisted, "We marinate the meat with a special blend of spices like cumin, paprika, and sumac. Grilled to perfection, we create flavouring kebabs.”
The festival also served as a showcase for cultures to share vibrant music, with a string of performances and entertainment for attendees of all ages. Adding to the spectacle, performer Rolando Goldman showcased his virtuosity on the charango, filling the air with its enchanting melodies, while La Boombap unleashed their freestyle prowess, electrifying the crowd with infectious energy. As the day progressed, the irresistible beats of Los Satélites del Sur's cumbia got everyone moving, and the heartfelt folklore tunes of Juan Fuentes touched the hearts of all who listened.
As the sun set on an unforgettable day, the savoury aromas continued to linger in the air, serving as a reminder of the enduring passion and love that Argentina has for its beloved asado tradition.