It’s the little things that remind us of a good trip: the pop song on the radio that played in every bar in Spain; the grey beat-up backpack that dutifully carried all our belongings; and the site of red wine served from a penguin.
It’s the latter that reminds us of all our hot Latin nights, dining on the sidewalks of Buenos Aires eating juicy steaks and cheap house wine.
“Wait, did she say wine from a penguin?”
Yes I did. Yes I did.
In Argentina, the local steak restaurants (parillas) for which the country is notorious, serve their house wine in upright penguin-shaped ceramic pitchers. In fact, you literally order the house wine by the “pingüino” (1-liter pitcher) or a “half pingüino” (a ½-liter pitcher).
Then, as the smells of grilling steaks waft over the table, out comes a lil’ white, stout vino pingüino (Spanish for wine penguin) with an opening at its beak and a handle down its back. And inside, a deep red Malbec fills up its rounded belly.
This tradition of serving wine from a penguin began years ago in the 1920’s and 30’s when it became popular in the parillas of the working class of Argentina. We’re not entirely sure how the “penguin” became the chosen vessel, but it might be a nod to the waddling birds down south in Argentina’s Patagonia region. To this day, the penguin still takes a place at tables across Argentina.
>>>Get your penguin wine pitcher here<<<
In fact, a restaurant could serve a fat, juicy piece of bife de chorizo, pureed calabaza, grilled provoleta, and hot empanadas and I would still hardly call it an authentic Argentinian parilla without the kitschy vino pingüino sitting tableside with a little bit of red wine dribbling down its beak. Well, at least that’s how we felt.
So upon returning home to the US a few years ago we decided we wanted to buy one to remind us of our bygone days of traveling through Argentina. Unfortunately, however, we couldn’t find anyone in the US selling them.
That didn’t stop us. With the help of a family friend in the import/export business and a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit, we found a way to bring not just one, but 500 vino pinguinos to the States! And now we have enough so that others can share in the over-80-year-old Argentinian tradition of drinking wine from a penguin.
*Below are a few of the images that come to mind when we drink from the vino pingüino and remember our time in Argentina.
Whether you want to remember a past trip to Argentina, or dream of planning one, this little guy is just what you need.
And if you have a an empanada-eating, gaucho-loving, vino-guzzling friend, then buy them a vino pingüino and pair it with your favorite Malbec to make an Argentinian-themed gift.
This has become such a fun little side business for Tom and I. We hope this little pitcher will find a way to waddle onto your table and into your hearts. But if not, no worries; just come on over to our place and we’ll pour you a big glass o’ vino from our plump penguin friend and tell you all about the country we love, Argentina.
Buy your penguin wine pitcher here.
I'm Jaime. My husband is Tom. Suburbanites, backpackers, and expats...we've been them all!