Most closely translated as “creole”, criollo refers to a way of life born in the Americas, but with Old World roots. In Argentina, it is a byword for that which is absolutely Argentine – the culture of the countryside and the gaucho. Key aspects of this include the food – asado barbecues, of course, but also maize-based stews like locro; clothing – such as baggy riding trousers called bombachas and the espadrille-like alpargatas; horses – be they for rounding up cattle or playing polo; and a decidedly anti-authoritarian streak in the national character. Even the wealthiest city-dweller is usually keen to prove that he or she is fundamentally a criollo, never happier than when sipping a mate by the fire.

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