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Argentina’s Food Culture: A Cheesy Love Affair Starring Asado and Provoleta

example of provoleta for article about argentina food

If anything defines food in Argentina and it’s culture, it is not only the match between meat and provolone cheese, between asado argentino and grilled provoleta, but also the ritual that embraces them. 

Hi! I’m Camila, an argentinian food lover, born and raised in a large country where there is a tradition that reaches us all: Sundays are for family and parrillada

So welcome to the secrets behind a typical Sunday in Argentina. 

Provoleta is basically provolone cheese seasoned and melted. The classic seasoning is olive oil, dried oregano and ground chili. And that’s it, seasoned melted cheese. Nothing more and nothing less. 

You can enjoy it with crusty bread or on its own, it doesn’t matter, it’s one of the best things in life either way. But there is one thing we have to stand firm on: traditional provoleta argentina it’s cooked on the grill.

So yes, here we will highlight grilled provoleta. Of course, as cheese it can be melted in the oven and, as melted cheese, it is still delicious. But the best thing to do is to prepare the provoleta on the grill. First of all because that is what gives it the smoky touch that takes this simple recipe to the very paradise of Latin American cuisine

But also because the provoleta a la parrilla is a must on the menu of Argentina’s food and, more specifically, on the menu of argentinean parrilladas. So, to better answer the question, the provoleta is the definitive argentinian barbecue appetizer. 

All the food of any place is an essential part of its culture. And maybe I’m saying this because I’m from here and I’m slightly biased. But I dare say that the role of food in Argentina is not like in other places. Food is the core of Argentina’s culture

Here, food plays a central role not only because of its distinctive flavors but because of how central it is when it comes to getting together with our loved ones. Plans revolve around getting together to eat, to cook for each other, and then getting our bellies so full that we just have to stay for a few hours of after-dinner conversation

So, getting down to business, the ceremonies of an argentinean parrillada go something like this… 

We open the curtain and the appetite with the one and only choripán, a.k.a the chorizo sandwich. We accompany it with a portion of provoleta for each of us, some potato and egg salad, and then we wait for the star of the show, the meat (or the grilled vegetables for the veggies, chill, there’s parrilla for everyone). 

That’s how it goes, every time, and every step counts. No matter how delicious the main course is, it’s not a true argentinian asado if that’s all it is. Every appetizer plays an essential role and it wouldn’t be the same without them. And last but not least, the wine. Pairing wine with meat is 10 out of 10, but pairing a good wine with a provoleta fresh off the grill is a gastronomic experience truly out of this world. 

Let’s see then the traditional provoleta recipe, where the simplicity of it is directly proportional to its delicious final flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound provolone cheese, thickly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground chili pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. Place the thick slices of provolone cheese in a grill-safe skillet or foil pan. 
  2. Season the cheese with the olive oil (don’t skimp, this will help with the final crispy browning), oregano and chili. Here, of course, you can play with the traditional recipe and add or subtract the seasonings of your choice. 
  3. Grill the provoleta on the grill by placing it directly over the flames. 
  4. Leave for a few minutes until bubbling.
  5. Preferably serve immediately with crusty bread and a glass of wine. Enjoy. 

So, for all those who are curious and hungry for Argentine culture and its cuisine, book a table at your nearest steakhouse (or your garden with a grill) and order the provoleta as an appetizer. 

There, the cheesy bastion of Argentina’s food, a delicious glimpse into the flavor of an entire culture. Or, at least, a taste of that culture on Sundays at noon.

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