Ode to the Chivitos

Posted on October 8, 2008


Sunday was my first big step to becoming a Uruguayan – I had my first Chivito. The Chivito is the national dish of Uruguay and is beloved by the people here. It serves the role of nachos, the Big Mac, Philly Cheesesteak, cotton candy, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. As described by Wikipedia “Chivito is the name of a high-calorie national dish in Uruguay, and consists primarily of churrasco beef, bacon, mayonnaise, black or green olives, mozzarella and tomatoes, served in a bun with a side of french fries. Other ingredients might be added into the sandwich such as fried and/or hard eggs, red beets, grilled or pan fried red peppers, pickles and ham.”

On Sunday night we were invited by the staff of Endeavor (the non-profit hosting us in Uruguay) to the house of Fernandos, the Director. We had a traditional Uruguayan get together involving lots of local wine and fresh made Chivitos. The key ingredient in the Chivito is a slice of beef that is pounded thin. The beef is grilled along with bacon and eggs. Add in a thick layer of mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes, several kinds of cheese, and thick break. The resulting sandwich is excellent, it melts in your mouth and the flavors work together very well. I am convinced that McDonalds got the idea for the Big Mac from the Chivito.

Uruguayan wine is excellent and very cheap. They grow the usual varieties like cabernet, merlot, and the usual whites. In addition, the local grape is the Tannat, a strong, red grape that makes a powerful wine. It is heavy and has a pleasant leather and orange peel taste. Very nice!

Enjoying some of the fine Uruguayan wines
It can not be overstated how friendly the people here are. They have welcomed us with open arms and they are fun to spend time with. I got talked into showing off my moon walk (high five!). Some highlights of the night were listening to Lee sing his Uruguayan love songs, realizing that we drank a whole lot of wine, seeing the biggest bag of mayonnaise I have ever seen in my life, and realizing that even after all the excitement we have had we still had eleven weeks to go.

some photos courtesy of Laura B.

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