Cuisine & Wine of Mendoza: 5 Night South American Cooking Vacation
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Cuisine And Wine of Mendoza
Ciudad de Mendoza

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Around the world, Argentina is known for its grilled beef and steakhouses, a tradition that began in the 19th century when ranchers in the Pampas region roasted meat on a spit and then sliced it off in chunks. But the gastronomy in this South American country has also been influenced for decades by Mediterranean cuisine — including Italian, French, and Spanish — making it a destination for any foodie. From their chimichurri sauces, raviolis, and empanadas to their traditional yerba mate tea, meals here are social events and an important part of daily life.

Experience this love of food in the thriving metropolis of Mendoza, which is situated at the foothills of the Andes mountains. In addition to discovering the cuisine of the city, tour Mendoza's most popular plazas and statues. The Mendoza province is also known for its wine, particularly Malbec. In the Maipu region, just a few miles from the city, visit some of the country's oldest vineyards and bodegas for wine tastings. The province is also populated with a number of charming mountain towns, which you can explore during a unique high mountain tour that features stunning natural attractions, such as a natural bridge formed by the Las Cuevas river.

Your accommodations for the week, the 4-star Mod Hotel (or similar), is located in the city center of Mendoza. When not enjoying the sights of Argentina, relax in the hotel's outdoor pool, or spend some time in the spa. The property also has its own restaurant.

About the cooking classes: The cooking classes will explore Argentina's unique mix of European and South American influences. The first will focus of Italian-Argentinian cuisine, including pizza cooked Argentinian-style—on the grill! The second class will be at a local restaurant and will include the preparation of a 6-course tasting menu.

Cuisine And Wine of Mendoza Itinerary

Day 1

  • Arrival and pickup from Mendoza Airport.
  • Transfer to Mendoza City, where you will have a city tour. You will visit the main plazas: Endependecia, Plaza San Martín, and Plaza España, as well as the San Martin Park and its lake. At the end of the park, ascend “Cerro de la Gloria” (Glory Hill), which is crowned with a wonderful statue of San Martin and his Liberation Army. It is one of the world’s most complex and renowned bronze sculptures. See also the Greek Theater Frank Romero Day, where the harvest festival is celebrated each year, and the Civic Center.
  • Transfer to your hotel for check in. Dinner on your own (your host can make suggestions) and overnight.

Day 2

  • This morning transfer to the Dominio del Plata winery in the Lujan de Cuyo Region for your first cooking class, “Manos a la masa” (or “hands on the dough”). Start with a cheese and ham platter accompanied by the winery’s fine wines, and then it is off to the kitchen. This class will feature Argentina’s unique fusion of Italian and Argentinian cuisines, and you will learn about the strong Italian heritage that influences both the gastronomy and wine making of Argentina. Prepare the dough for both country bread and grilled home-made pizza, as well as pasta with two different sauces. Lunch to follow based on your efforts.
  • Return to your hotel with free time and dinner on your own.
  • Overnight.

Day 3

  • Pickup from your hotel and transfer to the vineyards of the Maipú region, in the heart of Mendoza Wine Country. Your English-speaking guide will take you to three different wineries. Depending on the week, you might visit the Benegas Winery, whose new generation has restored the wine-making traditions of this nineteenth-century estate. You may also visit the CarinaE Boutique Winery, owned by a charming French couple, which has received a lot of buzz for its latest vintages of Malbec, Syrah and Cabernaet Suavignon. And your final stop will be the wonderful El Enemigo Winery, whose winemakers have recaptured the ear when European immigrants first settled in Argentina.
  • Lunch at the winery, accompanied by fine wines.
  • Return to Mendoza with free time and dinner on your own. Overnight.

Day 4

  • Breakfast.
  • Your driver will pick you up at 8:30 a.m. for a scenic drive to the highest mountain in the Americas. You’ll leave the city along National route 7 and pass through Lujan de Cuyo. Soon after, you’ll leave the countryside behind to enter the pre-mountain range area. The first stop will be in Potrerillos, a small mountain town, with weekend residences belonging to the inhabitants of Mendoza. There is also an unbeatable view of the Potrerillos dam, which forms a breathtaking artificial lake.
  • Back on the road, head to Uspallata, which is framed by mountainous landscapes with changing colors, various geological formations, and many tunnels.
  • The tour continues through several other small mountain towns, including Polvaredas, Punta de Vacas, and Penitentes, until you reach Puente del Inca, a natural bridge where Las Cuevas River has drilled into the mountains to form an incredible natural attraction. Close to the border, a wonderful view allows you to see Aconcauga Mountain, which stands at 22,841 feet above sea level.
  • On the way back, stop in Uspallata for lunch.
  • Return to your hotel about 6:00 p.m. Dinner on your own.
  • Overnight.

Day 5

  • Transfer to the restaurant of the Andeluna Cellars in the Uco Vallely region for a cooking class at 10AM. You will help make a 6-course tasting menu with the chef and his team. Lunch to follow based on your efforts.
  • Return transfer to the hotel around 5PM, with free time and dinner on your own.
  • Overnight.

Day 6

  • Breakfast and check out.
  • Transfer to Mendoza airport.