When many think of Uruguayan cuisine, one iconic element comes to mind: the asado, or barbecue – with a glass of wine, of course. But this great culinary tradition is so much more than just barbecue and wine; it represents the whole country’s identity. Barbecue is one of the most strongly rooted customs in this region of South America and is a symbol of celebration, friendship and family.
Our Culinary Discover Tour in Montevideo, ideal for meat lovers and wine connoisseurs, offers the unique opportunity to discover the role of this special custom in Uruguay. We begin with a visit to a boutique vineyard in the acclaimed Canelones region followed by a traditional Uruguayan barbecue.
Our day starts in the Culinary Center with a short introduction to the unique cuisine, barbecue and wines of Uruguay. Afterward, we depart the pier and enjoy a leisurely drive inland to Artesana, a small premium winery in Canelones, a region with growing conditions similar to those in France’s famed Bordeaux region. While touring the entirely hand-farmed vineyard, you will see varietals such as Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc and the flagship Tannat. Uruguay’s Tannat grape is often judged to be more velvety than its French counterpart and is extraordinarily high in antioxidants, deeming it the healthiest wine in the world. Tannat is used in numerous Artesana blends, as it produces full-bodied wines with dark fruit and spice aromas and flavors. The grape originated in France, but it was brought to Uruguay in the 1870s.
Following our tour of the unique vineyard, we learn to grill Uruguayan meats on a traditional outdoor barbecue. During the hands-on cooking class, we discover how to prepare and grill an assortment of meats using techniques handed down from generation to generation. The grilling methods and secrets you learn easily transport to your grilling at home – and are guaranteed to enhance your backyard technique! You’ll also learn about the quality of various cuts of beef, get an understanding of the difference between grass-fed versus corn-fed beef, discover the art of charcuterie, and gain insight on trends such as wagyu beef and sous vide cooking.
Following the mouthwatering cooking class, we all gather together to dine on our fantastic asado spread, accompanied by fresh wine that perfectly complement the flavors of the meat. You might try a Tannat-Merlot blend or a more complex blend with Zinfandel, the only planting of this varietal in the country.
Following your unforgettable barbecue and wine experience at Artesana, we all return to the pier with a full stomach, new friends and a happy heart. Join us at The Culinary Center on board Marina this fall for a memorable Uruguayan culinary experience!