A part of Argentine culture that I love and have never seen so universally in other countries is their love of the campo, the countryside. Porteños, residents of Buenos Aires, are similar to residents of any large metropolis in that their lives are stressful and busy, but while the city is incredible in that it can compete with any city in terms of cultural, dining, and nightlife offerings, the countryside is also just a short drive away, and Porteños take advantage of that.
Historically Argentines have been very tied to the land. Many early immigrants worked in farming, and today agriculture continues to be the most important component of the economy, especially soybean farming, which account for nearly a quarter of the worlds total production. Each winter close to a million Porteños visit La Rural, the largest exposition in the country, a sort of extreme version of a country fair in the middle of Buenos Aires that includes 40,000 live animals. City residents of all ages and economic classes line up for the chance to view cattle and check out the newest models of farm equipment. Argentines across the country also continue to listen to folkloric music and consider gaucho culture an important part of their heritage.
How this all relates back to an aspect of Argentine culture that I appreciate, is that still to this day, Argentines no matter where they live, are quite basic and non-flashy people and remain farmers at heart. Oftentimes you don’t find out how important or successful career-wise a person is until you really drill them about what they do; people are not judged by what car they drive; and most people would prefer escaping the city to ride horses, have an asado, and share mate between friends and family in the countryside over eating at the newest and trendiest restaurant or go on a vacation to a far off exotic locale. This is an aspect of Argentine culture that is difficult to understand in a quick visit to the country or if you get caught up in only spending time with other foreigners or strictly following your guidebook. Besides being a large reason I continue living in Argentina, it is a major source of inspiration for our food tour and where we select to visit on the tour.