In its third edition, Festival Atlantico went to Jujuy at the very start of the month-long Pachamama festival, an Andean tribute to mother earth.
This year, Festival Atlantico enjoyed a post pandemic avatar and saw attendance from far and wide. From local champions of the land and its produce to bar figures from the global community from as far as Asia. The festival kicked off in beautiful Buenos Aires with a few remarkable showcases of Argentina’s gastronomic landscape with the teams from the highly awarded bar – Floreria Atlantico and Apostoles Gin, Tato Giavannoni’s maiden spirit venture. Curated dinners, a behind the scenes look at the legendary Don Julio community garden and meat house and outstanding drinks at globally acclaimed local bars Floreria Atlantico and Tres Monos – the first few days were a great primer for everyone who had arrived from afar.
Over 70 festival delegates then made their way to the mountains of Jujuy where the festival took an immersive turn. This kicked off with a traditional Pachamama ritual in the deep mountains with Dominga, a local elder who welcomed delegates to her farm to experience the Pachamama ritual – a sacred ceremony or “offering to the earth” marking the beginning of the festival.
Back at the Hotel Huacalera which was the main venue for the rest of Festival Atlantico, the stage was set for 2 days of meaningful exchange of ideas, talks, panels discussions, and more. The talks were centred around sustainable practices in the world of hospitality, food, and beverage. Vijay Mudaliar of Native (Singapore) spoke about “A Progressive Industry” and shared examples of how one could find naturally occurring “analogue” options for ingredients and materials that could otherwise be seen as unsustainable. He also elaborated on the need to make ideas and spaces accessible to those differently abled as well as those who don’t necessarily belong to the higher income groups. You can read more about Vijay’s latest project, Analogue here.
Another great talk was “Think Local” by Odd Stranbakken (ex Himkok), a 30 minute crash course on how one can represent the biodiversity of an area, reinforcing the idea that local flavours are more unique and sustainable. He also covered some great techniques and recipes for preservation of produce.
The range of speakers, both local and international, covered a healthy section of the global F&B universe – allowing guests a peek into food and drink cultures (and challenges) in far out continents. Over two days, the festival site was alive with activity and a magnificent showcase of local arts and crafts beside the main stage. Some of the region’s finest restaurants – El Nuevo Progreso (Tilcara) and Casa Mocha from the Manzur family (Huacalera), showcased their prowess and the region’s unique culinary landscape over lunch on both days, introducing a whole new community to the richness of the land.
The festival ended back in Buenos Aires with a farmers market at Floreria Atlantico, where the international bartenders including the likes of Alquimico’s Jean Trinh (Colombia) and Carnaval’s Aaron Diaz (Peru) were split into teams and asked to conceptualise a drink using the produce available at the farmers market. This exercise was somewhat of an eye opener that highlighted the vast biodiversity of the region. The producers, curated by Juani Gerardi of BIOCONEXION, had a captive audience of bartenders who then went on to make some fabulous drinks that were served to guests later that evening, while renowned Bolivian chef Marsia Taha Mohamed dished out some culinary wonders.
The aim of this week-long immersion was to highlight the region and all it has to offer – through its culinary landscape consisting of some of the finest bartenders, chefs, and producers. The overseas attendees saw tremendous value in the festival which opened their eyes to a whole new world and pushed one to think about exploring local bounty with a responsible approach.
According to Sebastian of Buenos Aires’ well known and highly awarded bar, Tres Monos, “Events like this open our minds and also help us showcase our culture and the work we do in our bars, working with local producers across Argentina”. He goes on to add that “ this kind of camaraderie and support shown between the people of the industry is the future of hospitality and helps get the right message out”.
Odd Strandbakken agrees, and feels a festival like Festival Atlantico is important because it showcases a wide array of speakers and gives bartenders an insight into everything from corn fermentation, wine production, to foraging herbs. “Argentina has a lot to offer in terms of nature, hospitality, beverages, produce, and history. For many, it’s an undiscovered country because of its location, and that’s precisely why it had so much to offer”, he adds.
The value of a festival like this one cannot be quantified for the simple reason that everyone who was a part of it, took something invaluable away. Expert knowledge, new connections with people from other ends of the world, the ability to immerse oneself in a new culture, and deep experiences of nature. Tato and the entire team that put this together are definitely on to something. As the future editions of the festival get bigger and better, we urge you to follow their journey and if time and circumstances allow, attend the future editions. You will not be disappointed.
All photos by official Festival Atlantico photographers Eugenio and Martin.
Read more about Festival Atlantico 2022 here.
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