Category Archives: Experiences

Wine & Art at Bodega Colomé

Visit the oldest winery in Argentina, home to renowned high-altitude vineyards and wines in the Calchaquí Valleys.


It is said that Bodega Colomé was founded in 1831 by the Spanish Governor of Salta at that time, Nicolás Severo de Isasmendi y Echalar. His daughter Ascensión, who married José Benjamín Dávalos, was the one to bring the first Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon vines from France to Colomé. Today, grapes from three of those original vines are still used for the production of Colomé Reserva wines.

For 170 years the winery belonged to the Isasmendi and Dávalos families, but after a trip searching for the perfect terroir and weather to produce unique Argentinean wines, Donald Hess acquired Bodega Colomé in 2001. Together with his wife Ursula they created the recent history of this ancient winery, rich in achievements and developments. Their vision includes social responsibility towards the people of Colomé town, being the winery today the main source of employment and income for its people.

Colomé has four vineyards at different heights located in the upper part of the Calchaquí Valleys: Colomé (2.300 masl), which vines are all around the winery, El Arenal (2.700 masl) and Altura Máxima (3.111 masl) in the area of Payogasta-Salta and La Brava (1.750 masl) in the north of the Valley.

The altitude is one of the most important factors for the development of the vine. The higher the altitude, the greater the exposure to the sun and the wider the thermal amplitude. Those factors contribute to a uniform and balanced development of the grapes; originating high-altitude wines of great concentration and poise.

Bodega Colomé has three brands so far: Colomé, Lote Especial (special batches) and Altura Máxima. Each one is especially focused on the emblem varieties of Argentina to enhance their unique and differential characteristics. They reflect the soul of the special terroir and high altitude of the Calchaquí Valleys.

At the winery’s visitor center you will start the guided tour and in the end also have a wine tasting experience of the house wines paired with snacks or special dishes, always enjoying the view to the vineyards.

While visiting Colomé, you will not only learn all about its history and wine production but also enjoy the warmth of the Founder’s House; a unique and exclusive building and refuge for friends and guests. From the terrace it is possible to contemplate the surroundings and the starry sky in the evening. It is believed that the Colomé experience and the contact with nature energize and renew the spirit of the visitors.

A plus for this visit is the exclusive James Turrell Museum, the only one particularly dedicated to this renowned American artist who has created striking works that play with perception and the effect of light within a given space.

On his own words: “My work is about space and the light that inhabits it. It is about how you confront that space and plumb it with vision. It is about your seeing, like the wordless thought that comes from looking into fire.”

Turrell’s works of art represent five decades of the artist’s track record, displayed in a time tunnel. They are exhibited in nine light room especially designed for an area at 1.700 masl. Thanks to the powerful art work and the breathtaking nature around the museum, visitors live a thrilling sensory experience.

We invite you to discover Bodega Colomé; where wine, art and history are intimately related.  


 

Walking with Llamas in the Northwest

Take a hike joined by llamas among ancient ruins, salt lakes, valleys, and gorges. An ancestral activity to connect with the Pachamama and the most amazing landscapes in the northwest.


Ever since the beginning of time, the Andean men and the llamas traversed the harsh terrain in the mountains and the high plateau. These particular animals were used not only to transport commercial goods but for their wool, their meat, and their guano.

Nowadays in Tilcara, Santos Manfredi has settled a rural and ecological establishment specialized in taming llamas as a freighting animal, to recreate this ancestral practice. Caravana de Llamas, as it is called, is also dedicated to promoting the conjoint work with local communities, for which they rely on different routes where local families provide their homes and tour guiding.

Santos has developed different trails to hike with the llamas around the Humahuaca Gorge and the Puna Jujeña. With a variety of difficulties and durations (from half day to several days), there are multiple options for everyone, including families. Each hike is developed to satisfy the expectations of the many visitors.

A recommended half day hike is the one towards Salinas Grandes, the salt lakes. Along the way, you have panoramic views of the Humahuaca Gorge. Once at the Salinas, a tent is lifted to provide shadow and to have a well-deserved picnic in the middle of the 45.000 hectares of salt.

For a short and family alternative, a one hour and a half walk around the colorful town of Tilcara will do. You might feel funny walking around the town’s main square right beside a llama, but believe us, is a once in a lifetime experience!

Different paths around the region take you towards ancient ruins, valleys, volcanoes, gorges and salt lakes. While hiking, you learn about the local culture and history. The lamas are always used to carry all the camping equipment, food and personal belongings for the journey, you can’t ride them.

For those travelers in the search of original experiences, walking with llamas is an unforgettable experience in the northwest.


 

Andean Flavours & Refined Wines in Cafayate

Salta´s wines are a true reflection of the colorful andean scenery, history and ancestral traditions. Such are the ones produced by Finca Quara in Cafayate. This is their story.


It is well known that Cafayate is one of the most important wine production areas in Argentina, where the special weather conditions and terroir originate high quality and refined wines. Warm sunny days, cool nights, dry climate and low rainfall make of this town the home to 70% of the vineyards in the Calchaqui Valleys.

José Fortunato Lavaque arrived from Lebanon towards the end of the 19th century and decided to settle in Cafayate, the most prosperous town in Salta at that time. Attracted by the Valley’s´ unique landscape, he begun his new life here and started his own winery, which was kept on going during the next century.

In the 80s, Rodolfo Lavaque (4th family generation) took over the family business and a few years later acquired a piece of land from another winery, where he established Finca Quara. Rodolfo is known for being one of the main characters in the reactivation of the wine industry in the North of Argentina in the 90s and the years to come.

Nowadays, inspired by their father’s example and vision, the 5th family generation makes world famous high quality wines: Alpaca, Quara Single Vineyard and Quara Reserva.

Finca Quara is open to visitors to enjoy different activities to learn about wine production, the winery and vineyards and the Finca’s history. In their own words, Quara designs experiences to combine rural tourism, culture, regional cuisine and wine.

The winery itself is a genuine architectural monument worth of visiting; one of the oldest and best preserved building in the region and inspired by the Renaissance style developed by Andrea Palladio in the Cinquecento.

The wine cellar, surrounded by French oak barrels, creates a unique and mysterious environment with toasted aromas, which makes the perfect place to know and taste Quara’s refined wines.

Under the Glorieta (arbor), it is possible to explore regional flavours paired with the perfect selection of wines, whilst enjoying the delightful mountain scenery.

Wine tasting is always present at any of Quara’s proposals. Even if it is just the guided tour around the finca or including the “Picoteo Salteño” with empanadas or the special Finca Quara Lunch. There are options for every palate!

To find out more about Finca Quara and its visiting and wine tasting alternatives, please contact us. Cheers!


 

Street Food Tour in Buenos Aires

A walking gastronomic tour in Buenos Aires to try some of the national street food icons.


The influence of immigration and the creole imprint made of Buenos Aires an important gastronomic reference worldwide. The culinary diversity and creativity, each time larger and more innovative, have positioned the city as a gastronomic and cultural destination chosen by millions of tourists. This is why Buenos Aires is the 2017’s Iberoamerican Capital of Gastronomic Culture, a recognition given by the Iberoamerican Gastronomy Academy (AIG).

Chefs from all over the world choose the city to educate themselves and travellers arrive looking for the typical asado, Andean dishes, traditional inherited recipes and many other local flavours, textures and aromas.

Pizza al molde
Pizza al molde

We want to celebrate gastronomy in Buenos Aires introducing a special tour that takes you on the search for classic street food that we all Argentineans love. Exploring the city by foot, in the company of one of our expert guides and foodies, this four stops / four fast meals gastronomic experience will give you a taste of what this amazing and diverse city has to offer.

Our guide will pick you up and take you towards the first stop. Then, you will walk around for about 3 hours making a few stops more on the way while he/she tells you all about Argentineans and food, out traditions and tastes, our legacy and influences, and also the full story behind what you’re about to try.

1024px-Choripan_mariposa_By David (Choripan) [CC BY 2.0 (httpcreativecommons.orglicensesby2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The famous choripan!
The first tasting stop will be at a food truck in the Costanera Sur for an exquisite and unique choripan. Its name is an acronym from the words chorizo (spicy sausage) and pan (bread), which are the two basic ingredients. It is said that the choripan goes back halfway through the XIX century, when in the countryside the gauchos organized asados to celebrate any occasion, and then started the habit of eating chorizo inside a bread. The choripan has three fast food main characteristics: it’s easy to cook, fast to eat and relatively cheap. Today it’s a main character in any Argentinean barbecue and it’s usually the first treat to serve while waiting for the rest of the meat to be done. Without a doubt, it’s a national classic street food and one of the Argentineans’ preferred dishes.

1024px-Empanadas_salteñas_By travelwayoflife [CC BY-SA 2.0 (httpcreativecommons.orglicensesby-sa2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Baked empanadas salteñas
Then you will try an empanada, which is actually a traditional dish from most of the Spanish speaking kitchens. An empanada is, basically, a piece of fine dough stuffed with a salty or sweet filling and cooked in the oven or fried. In Argentina, the empanadas usually have a semicircular shape, a distinctive repulgue (the technique used to close the piece of dough and give it shape) and the filling varies: meat, ham & cheese, corn, tuna, spinach & cheese…these are the classics but there are many more. There are also many varieties of empanadas in most of the country’s provinces, such as the famous empanadas salteñas or the tucumanas, with different kind of doughs, fillings and condiments. We strongly recommend to taste empanadas wherever you go in Argentina.

The last two stops of the tour will pair you up with two Italian inherited and adapted delicacies.

As the final salted course, a slice of pizza. Of course, this is an international specialty nowadays, but what makes it different in Buenos Aires is the dough’s thickness. From the Italian recipe disembarked presumably in La Boca, we created the pizza al molde, which literally means “mould pizza”. This version has a thick dough, maybe 2 o 3 cm thick, and very oily mozzarella cheese drips on the sides. It’s typical from the pizzerias in the neighborhoods, where hungry people in a hurry pass by and have a slice standing up. The main flavours for the porteños are the fugazzeta (cheese, onions and oregano), ham and peppers and the plain but eternal mozzarella. Probably you didn’t know this, but Argentina is one of the biggest pizza consumers.

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Mozzarella pizza
choc_frutilla_httpwww.afadhya.com.ar
Strawberry & chocolate artisanal ice-cream

Up to this point you should be not only thirsty but also craving for something sweet, which takes us to the final refreshing tasting of the tour: ice-cream, or as we call it, helado. Also brought to the city by Italian immigrants halfway through the XIX century, more and more artisanal ice-cream shops appeared all around. The national ice-cream flavour king (and it is said for foreigners visiting too) is the dulce de leche (caramel). Probably there is no other classic flavour as famous as this one. And although you may find original and new flavours, even seasonal ones, the classics are ever present: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, lemon and crema americana (plain cream). You can’t miss the tramontana (cream with dulce de leche and crunchy pieces of biscuit).  

Empanadas, choripan, pizza and ice-cream. As we like to say, panza llena, corazón contento: a full belly makes a happy heart!

Now that you had just a taste of what Argentine cuisine can provide, you surely want to try some more. There are many options in the city and throughout the country where you can enjoy delicious meals. Make sure to contact us for suggestions!


GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Private service up to 8 people.
  • Includes described street food meals with drinks, roundtrip transfers and bilingual guide.
  • Operation: Daily tours year round.
  • Pick up at 11.00 am (by taxi or van, depending on the number of pax).
  • Duration: 3 hs
  • The places to visit and/or order of the meals may vary depending on the guide’s criteria and pax preferences.
  • The last stop can be replaced for a coffee instead of ice-cream.
  • We recommend to dress informal and to wear comfortable shoes for walking.
  • Published rate valid from 30/06/2017 to 31/12/2017.