From Uruguay: perspectives on pumpkins – in Colonia do Sacramento

Traveling to South America doesn’t necessarily mean that all you can eat is just: meat. In fact, you can easily find modern vegetarian dishes based on very simple local ingredients matched together in a fusion way. One is a la plancha pumpkin, that is, grilled pumpkin served with blue cheese, pistachio crumb and beetroot sauce I enjoyed in my day trip in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay.

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Grilled pumpkin with blue cheese, pistachio crumb and beetroot sauce

As summer is very hot and humid, during my stay in Buenos Aires I took a small vacation to Uruguay and spent one night in Colonia del Sacramento, a 17th century city founded by the Portuguese in south western Uruguay. It’s historic quarter called Bairro Histórico in Portuguese language is now a UNESCO Heritage Site which today witnesses the Spanish-Portuguese disputes over the centuries until Uruguay independence in 1828. Since it’s by the Río de la Plata, it’s a perfect place for a romantic escape from the city (either from Montevideo or Buenos Aires). At least in my perspective!

In the Bairro Histórico there are several very sophisticated restaurants and pubs to chill out by the river or by the Portuguese terrain-fitting streets ot traditional Spanish calles. Colonial and post-colonial styles of small buildings is so fascinating… it’s very difficult to choose a place to stay for lunch or dinner: you should try them all!

Among restaurants by the Rio de la Plata is Charco Bistrot stricking because of its fine outdoor space – a refined garden which is part of the nearby Charco Hotel. Vegetarian dishes are perfect for summer. Grilled pumpkin was quite new for me, and it’s easily reproducible at home. A suitable non-alcohol drink combination is with an iced lime-lemon-ginger juice, which is also detox and refreshing.

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Lime, lemon and ginger juice

Finally, you cannot leave Uruguay – and Colonia in particular –  without trying the national dish: the Chivito sandwich, made with a thin slice of filet mignon (in Italy – in Tuscany in particular – it would be called “la braciolina“) and filled with mozzarella, tomatoes, mayonnaise and olives. Served with potatoes or French fries!

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Chivito sandwich – Chivito Uruguayo

You can find the recipe from the New York Times website if you want to try tomake it at home, otherwise, see the receta para Chivito Uruguayo in Spanish language here!

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