I just looooooove cheese and cold cuts with my wine and Argentina has it’s own version. Picada is a plate full of different cheeses, meats, sausages, olives and nowadays some vegetables as well. The word “picada” comes from a Spanish verb “picar” which means to take small bites or snacks and it is very similar to the Italian antipasto, which makes a lot of sense because due to immigration Italian influence is very big in Argentina.
Picada is often eaten before asado, Argentine barbecue, when people come to visit then picada is the first step, everybody have a snack, talk and socialize.
Generally picada has:
- hard cheeses like Reggianito
- semi-soft and soft cheeses like Pategras, Roquefort, Mozzarella, Provoleta, Chubut
- different hams and cold cuts – Serrano ham, cooked ham, salami, chorizo, longaniza
- vegetables and fruits- olives, pickles, cherry tomatoes, grapes
- different breads, pizza sliced small, fugazzeta, crackers
- sauces like criolla, cream cheese with spring onion or cream cheese with red onion
- eggplants in oil and peppers, pepper in vinegar
- marinated hearts of palm
Food can be cooked, salted, fried, cooked with steam, marinaded in vinegar, served with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.
Picada is served on a wooden tray or a plate. Traditional picada is eaten with hands and/or toothpicks are provided.
Typical drink to go with all that food is light beer, white and red wine and soda. My personal favorite with picada is Bonarda, good Malbec and Syrah aged in oak. One amazing option is Bonarda Reserve from Familia Blanco. Bonarda is a traditional and second most grown grape after Malbec in Argentina. It comes from France but has been very popular in Argentina and is thought to put Argentina on the map with another great wine. This Bonarda Reserve has been aged 12 months on French oak barrels, you can feel red berries like cherries and plums. Notes of blackberries mix with toast and coffee that comes of aging in oak barrel. For those who like beer more then Quilmes is one of the most inexpensive brands but also one of the most popular beers amongst Argentines.