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After 32 uninterrupted years, the festival of Chivito, Dance and Song will not be held

The pandemic forced to cancel this typical holiday that is already a custom for the Neuquins

The COVID-19 pandemic had dire consequences on the lives of many people. The north of Neuquino, despite its daily calm and small population, was no exception.  Every half of November, a wonderful party is held in the town of Chos Malal ... until now. This pandemic came to cut a  32-year streak of  Fiesta del Chivito la Danza y la Canción  . The celebration grew so much that, since 2004, it has a national character and takes place over 3 days.

The party

The typical gastronomy of the north of the province was always the fort of these meetings. However, it is not the asado de chivito the main reason why the habit of celebrating every november originated.  In the genesis of the idea, is the folkloric group Centenario . In 1988, they had the idea of founding this Neuquin custom. Hence the name that does not remain only in  Chivito,  but also adds  Dance and Song. 

The importance of the song is such that  it is impossible to be a  folk group  or singer-songwriter from Neuquén and not have gone through this holiday.  Artists such as Leon Gieco, Los Palmeras, Damas Gratis and Agapornis also passed through this stage. Musical activities are complemented by riderings, gaucho parades and, of course, delicious regional dishes.

The  commercial stands also offered other typical products from the Patagonian region : yarn fabrics, local woolen clothing,  Huinganco sweets, musical instruments and sallabartería  they could be bought while walking on the premises.

The chivitos

The last editions of the party had as decorated rows and rows of little kids roasting. The calculation was raised year by year, and in 2019 a total of 1300 roasted animals were estimated in 3 days.  The most typical way to make them is to the grill or to the cross; although there are also the variants to the disc and clay oven . The first involves accompaniment of vegetables, the second a good marinade or brine.  All 3 methods will always require patience , a lot of patience.

The most common mistake of people who first attended a chivito roast is to call it a goat. The subtle difference from the diminutive indicates that the animal was not an adult and was meatled during his early youth. With a maximum of 10 kilos,  the meat of the chivitos is more tender and less strong in taste than its adult version . At the party, the importance of the chivito is such that even a jury competition is made, to find out who is the best grill.

Other typical dishes of Patagonian cuisine, and Argentinian in general, could also be tasted at this ceremony. Pine nuts, tamales, mote with huesillo, patero wine and empanadas of all kinds were the traditional variants for those who were packed goat on the first day.

Chos Malal

Chos Malal, where this picturesque holiday was always held, is located in the north of  Neuquino  and was the first provincial capital. To reach it from the city of Neuquén, you must travel 400 kilometers. The road runs from Route No. 22 in a westbound direction, to the junction with Route N°40, to the north. This year, there will be no Festival of Chivito, Dance and Song, but also those who want to visit the picturesque town can taste one of its typical chivito al grill dishes. 

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