Federación Gaucha, Folkloric Dance and Food in Buenos Aires

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Empanadas - Federacion Gaucha When looking for intimate authenticity in Buenos Aires, without straying from city or comfort, Federación Gaucha, on Sunday afternoons is exactly the experience needed. Amidst the weekly fair in the Mataderos neighborhood find an entrance at 6574 Avenida de Los Corrales.

A chalk board on the sidewalk labels the doorway and mentions food, but when you peek down the green illuminated corridor you are not sure what to expect. The green translucent corrugated roofing paints the first ten paces with an awkward hue. The color spills into the main room where the walkway from the street becomes a restaurant.

The room is a rough rectangle, with concrete, stucco, and old paint standing bruised but proud. There are about 20 tables, eight feet in length and tattooed with plastic floral table covers. Benches provide visitors their only luxury; a seat.

The walls, as concrete as the floor, hold photographs of local gauchos, horses and landscapes. Four argentine blue and white streamers connect the corners of the room to the middle of the ceiling. The lighting is mixture of fluorescent, incandescent, and natural light, with a splash of green.

Ordering food is easy. There is no menu and only one option, empanada de carne. They were sold out of asado. You can tote your hunger into this establishment knowing you’ll be fed, but it is the people, music, and dancing that is most satisfying.

The typical folkloric music and dance is deeply rooted into Argentinian life. The two guitars, accordion, and hand made drum are loud and obviously familiar with each other.

The dancing is a fluent churn between male and female. They begin at opposing sides of the room, each floating a scarf or handkerchief from their fingers. Face to face they take steps in the same circular direction, pause, and then repeat in the reverse direction. Their orbit is at times across the room and at others nearly touching. Flirtation is portrayed by a chasing pace slowing to a romantic stop then speeding again while simultaneously opening and closing the distance between them.

Every table was nearly full with friends and family. Amazing stories are written on the faces of each patron but take a lifetime to read. Young girls dance with graying men, while women twirl their dresses and scarves alike. Everyone claps or dances and even the toughest jaws crack smiles.

Upon exiting, you notice the unusual pink tinting of the natural light outside. Your eyes complain that they already miss the green hue, which reinforces the unhuried pace of your experience. With your stomach as satisfied as your smile, a strange nostalgia takes over, with the knowledge that you are not able to make this stop a Sunday tradition like it is for your new friends.

Federacion Gaucha
6574 Avenida de Los Corrales

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[…] your style, then take a look at this Argentina Travel Guide blog, which has a review of an interesting place to eat in Mataderos – that is, if you like the choices on offer of empanadas, empanadas, or… empanadas! However, […]

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