If you’ve been following this blog you must have noticed my appreciation for a neighbouring country, Uruguay (I live in southern Brazil and only around 200 km from the Uruguayan border). I’ve written about “parrilladas“, the national Uruguayan dish, as well as about my fishing experience in the Salto Grande dam. Let’s return to this lovely town.
Salto (official site here – sorry, only in Spanish), was stablished in 1756 by the governor José Joaquim de Viana, who was on a mission related to the settlement of frontiers between Spanish and Portuguese colonies. Salto faced a great population increase after 1860, with the arrival of European settlers, specially from Italy, Spain and Portugal. Around Salto, one of the largest touristic destination in Uruguay, you can find several hot spring areas, particularly “Termas de Dayman” (around 15 km south of Salto) and “Termas de Arapey” (around 90 km north of Salto).
Today, with around 100,000 inhabitants, Salto maintains a charming and relaxing atmosphere.
Walking around downtown with my wife and some friends (Renan and Leila), on a beautiful summer day, my attention was called by a small restaurant called “La Trattoria” (Calle Uruguay, 754 – GPS: S31 23.245 W57 57.969), a clear reminder of the Italians who arrived after 1860.
We walked in and let me tell you, no regrets. The food was very well prepared and the house wine just up to the Uruguayan tradition. One distinctive feature of Uruguayan wine production is the Tannat, a red grape generally ignored in the rest of the New World but very important in this small and wonderful country. It matched just fine the meat lasagna (a la Bolognesa), plenty of muzzarela and a rich tomato sauce. Final price? Around US$12,00/person, wine included.
The whole experience in Salto was a definitive proof that Uruguay has much more to offer than just “parrilladas” (although they continue to be my favorite Uruguayan creation).