Argentina: Page 2 of 3

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Tourism
As of 2011, Argentina is the most visited country in South America and the fourth most visited in the Americas. According to official figures from the World Tourism Organization, in 2010 the country received more than 5,300,000 foreign tourists, which meant about 4,930 million dollars of income from divisas. The World Economic Forum estimated that, in 2006 tourism generated around US$25 billion in economic turnover, and employed 1.8 million. Domestic tourism amounted to over 80% of this and tourism from abroad contributed US$ 4.3 billion, becoming the third largest source of foreign exchange in 2004. Around 4.6 million foreign visitors arrived in 2007, yielding a positive balance vis-à-vis the number of Argentines traveling abroad. Buenos Aires is in the midst of a tourism boom, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council, it reveals strong growth for Argentina Travel and Tourism in 2007 and in coming years, and the prestigious travel and tourism publication; Travel + Leisure Magazine, a monthly publication leader in the world-wide market of travel magazines, travelers voted Buenos Aires the second most desirable city to visit after Florence, Italy. Buenos Aires, regarded as the "Paris of South America, offers elegant architecture, exquisite cuisine, a legendary nightlife, and fashionable shopping. The most popular tourist sites are found in the historic city core, comprising Montserrat and San Telmo. The city was originally constructed around the Plaza de Mayo, the administrative center of the Spanish Colony. To the east of the square is the Casa Rosada, the official seat of the executive branch of the government of Argentina. To the north, the Catedral Metropolitana which has stood in the same location since colonial times, and the Banco de la Nación Argentina building, a parcel of land originally owned by Juan de Garay. Other important colonial institutions were Cabildo, to the west, which was renovated during the construction of Avenida de Mayo and Julio A. Roca. To the south is the Congreso de la Nación (National Congress), which currently houses the Academia Nacional de la Historia (National Academy of History). Lastly, to the northwest, is City Hall.
The borough of Recoleta is home to a number of places of interest, including the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, the Biblioteca Nacional, the Centro Cultural Recoleta, the Faculty of Law of the Universidad de Buenos Aires, the Basílica Nuestra Señora de Pilar, the Palais de Glace, the Café La Biela and the Cementerio de la Recoleta, where Eva Perón's crypt can be visited, among those of many other Argentine historical and cultural figures.
Education
The education in Argentina known as the Latin American docta has had a convoluted history. There was no effective education plan until President Domingo Sarmiento (1868–1874) placed emphasis on bringing Argentina up-to-date with practices in developed countries. Sarmiento encouraged the immigration and settling of European educators and built schools and public libraries throughout the country, in a programme that finally doubled the enrollment of students during his term; in Argentina, Teacher's Day (on September 11) commemorates his death. The first national laws mandating universal, compulsory, free and secular education (Law 1420 of Common Education) were sanctioned in 1884 during the administration of President Julio Roca. The non-religious character of this system, which forbade parochial schools from issuing official degrees directly but only through a public university, harmed the relations between the Argentine State and the Catholic Church, leading to resistance from the local clergy and a heated conflict with the Holy See (through the Papal Nuncio).
Following the university reform of 1918, Argentine education, especially at university level, became more independent of the government, as well as the influential Catholic Church. The church began to re-emerge in country's secular education system during the administration Juan Perón, when in 1947, catechism was reintroduced in public schools, and parochial institutions began again receiving subsidies. A sudden reversal in the policy in 1954 helped lead to Perón's violent overthrow, after which his earlier, pro-clerical policies were reinstated by General Pedro Aramburu. Aramburu's Law 6403 of 1955, which advanced private education generally, and parochial, or more often, Catholic-run schools (those staffed with lay techers), in particular, helped lead to the establishment of the Argentine Catholic University. 
The program of deregulation and privatization pursued by President Carlos Menem in reaction to the country's socio-economic crisis of 1989 led to the decentralization of the Argentine secondary school system, whereby, from 1992 onwards, the schools' administration and funding became a provincial responsibility. The policy's weakness, however, lay in that federal revenue sharing did not increase accordingly, particularly given the decision to shift two primary school years to the secondary system. 
Real government spending on education increased steadily from the return of democratic rule in 1983 (with the exception of the crises in 1989 and 2002) and, in 2007, totaled over US$14 billion. Argentina built a national public education system in comparison to other nations, placing the country high in the global rankings of literacy. Today Argentina has a literacy rate of 97,4%, and 16.2% over age 15 have completed secondary school studies or higher. 
School attendance is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 17. The Argentine school system consists of an elementary or lower school level lasting six or seven years, and a secondary or high school level lasting between five to six years. In the 1990s, the system was split into different types of high school instruction, called Educacion Secundaria and the Polimodal. Some provinces adopted the Polimodal while others did not. A project in the executive branch to repeal this measure and return to a more traditional secondary level system was approved in 2006. 
There are forty-seven national public universities across the country, as well as forty-six private ones. The University of Buenos Aires, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, and the National Technological University are among the most important. Public universities faced cutbacks in spending during the 1980s and 1990s, which led to a decline in overall quality.
Infrastucture
Transport
Transport in Argentina is mainly based on a complex network of routes, crossed by relatively inexpensive long-distance buses and by cargo trucks. The country also has a number of national and international airports. The importance of the long-distance train is minor today, though in the past it was widely used. Fluvial transport is mostly used for cargo. Within the urban areas, the main transportation system is uy the bus or colectivo; bus lines transport millions of people every day in the larger cities and their metropolitan areas. Buenos Aires additionally has an underground, the only one in the country, and Greater Buenos Aires is serviced by a system of suburban trains.
A majority of people employ public transport rather than personal cars to move around in the cities, especially in common business hours, since parking can be both difficult and expensive. Cycling is not very common in big cities, as there are few bicycle-paths, making it difficult to move with them other than in recreational areas.
Since Argentina is almost 4,000 kilometres long and more than 1,000 km wide, long distance transportation is of great importance. Several toll expressways spread out from Buenos Aires, serving nearly half the nation's population. The majority of Argentine roads, however, are two-lane national and provincial routes and, though they are spread throughout the country, less than a third of Argentina's 230,000 km (145,000 mi) of roads are currently paved.
Though, by 1929, Argentina was already home to over 400,000 vehicles (more than half the total in Latin America, at the time), virtually all long-distance travel was done on the nation's vast railways. Argentina, then, lacked a road-building program until 1932, when the National Highway Directorate was established. Paid for at first with an excise tax on gasoline, the bureau could claim some important accomplishments, like the 1951 opening of the 200 km Santa Fe-Rosario expressway, Latin America's first.
Argentina is home to around 9.2 million registered cars, trucks and buses; on a per capita basis, it has long had Latin America's widest accessibility to motor vehicles. Left-lane drivers until 1945, Argentine motorists have since been driving on the right-hand side. The Vehicle registration plates of Argentina are based on a three letters-three numbers per car (with the exception of some trucks) system.
Expressways have been recently doubled in length (to nearly) and now link most (though not all) important cities. The most important of these is probably the Panamerican National Route 9 Buenos Aires–Rosario–Córdoba freeway. The longest continuous highways are National Route 40, a 5000-km stretch along the Andes range and the 3000-km sea-side trunk road National Route 3, running from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia.
Argentine long distance buses are fast, affordable and comfortable; they have become the primary means of long-distance travel since railway privatizations in the early 1990s greatly downsized Argentina's formerly ubiquitous passenger rail service. Competing providers differ little on their time-honoured formula, offering three different services regarding the number of stops and type of seats: the Regular, Semi-cama (semi-bed), and Cama (bed), with Cama being similar to an airline's business class. Some services have also on-board dining, while others stop at restaurants by the road. Long and middle-distance buses cover almost all paved-accessible cities, towns and villages.
Health care
Health care is provided through a combination of employer and labor union-sponsored plans (Obras Sociales), government insurance plans, public hospitals and clinics and through private health insurance plans. Health care cooperatives number over 300 (of which 200 are related to labor unions) and provide health care for half the population; the national INSSJP (popularly known as PAMI) covers nearly all of the five million senior citizens. 
There are more than 153,000 hospital beds, 121,000 physicians and 37,000 dentists (ratios comparable to developed nations). The relatively high access to medical care has historically resulted in mortality patterns and trends similar to developed nations': from 1953 to 2005, deaths from cardiovascular disease increased from 20% to 23% of the total, those from tumors from 14% to 20%, respiratory problems from 7% to 14%, digestive maladies (non-infectious) from 7% to 11%, strokes a steady 7%, injuries, 6%, and infectious diseases, 4%. Causes related to senility led to many of the rest. Infant deaths have fallen from 19% of all deaths in 1953 to 3% in 2005. 
The availability of health care has also reduced infant mortality from 70 per 1000 live births in 1948 to 12.1 in 2009 and raised life expectancy at birth from 60 years to 76. Though these figures compare favorably with global averages, they fall short of levels in developed nations and in 2006, Argentina ranked fourth in Latin America. 
Culture
Argentine culture has significant European influences. Buenos Aires, its cultural capital, is largely characterized by both the prevalence of people of European descent, and of conscious imitation of European styles in architecture. The other big influence is the gauchos and their traditional country lifestyle of self-reliance. Finally, indigenous American traditions (like yerba mate infusions) have been absorbed into the general cultural milieu.
Literature
Argentina has a rich literary history, as well as one of the region's most active publishing industries. Argentine writers have figured prominently in Latin American literature since becoming a fully united entity in the 1850s. The struggle between the Federalists and the Unitarians, set the tone for Argentine literature of the time. 
The ideological divide between gaucho epic Martín Fierro by José Hernández, and Facundo by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, is a great example. Hernández, a federalist, was opposed to the centralizing, modernizing and Europeanizing tendencies. Sarmiento wrote in support of immigration as the only way to save Argentina from becoming subject to the rule of a small number of dictatorial caudillo families, arguing such immigrants would make Argentina more modern and open to Western European influences and therefore a more prosperous society. 
Argentine literature of that period was fiercely nationalist. It was followed by the modernist movement, which emerged in France in the late 19th century, and this period in turn was followed by vanguardism, with Ricardo Güiraldes as an important reference. Jorge Luis Borges, its most acclaimed writer, found new ways of looking at the modern world in metaphor and philosophical debate and his influence has extended to writers all over the globe. Borges is most famous for his works in short stories such as Ficciones and The Aleph.
The Argentine literature is the body of literary work produced in Argentina. Some of the nation's notable writers, poets and intellectuals include: Juan Bautista Alberdi, Roberto Arlt, Enrique Banchs, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Jorge Luis Borges, Silvina Bullrich, Eugenio Cambaceres, Julio Cortázar, Esteban Echeverría, Leopoldo Lugones, Eduardo Mallea, Ezequiel Martínez Estrada, Tomás Eloy Martínez, Victoria Ocampo, Manuel Puig, Ernesto Sabato, Osvaldo Soriano, Alfonsina Storni and María Elena Walsh.
As a matter of fact, the name of the country itself comes from a Latinism which first appeared in a literary source: Martin del Barco Centenera's epic poem La Argentina (1602). This composition runs 10.000 verses and describes the landscape as well as the conquest of the territory. The word was reintroduced in Argentina manuscrita, a prose chronicle by Ruy Díaz de Guzmán.
Argentine literature began around 1550 with the work of Matías Rojas de Oquendo and Pedro González de Prado (from Santiago del Estero, the first important urban settlement in Argentina), who wrote prose and poetry. They were partly inspired by oral aboriginal poetry—in particular, according to Carlos Abregú Virreyra, by the lules, juríes, diaguitas and tonocotés. A symbiosis emerged between the aboriginal and Spanish traditions, creating a distinct literature, geographically limited (well into the 18th century) to the Argentine north and central regions, with the province of Córdoba as its center, due to the foundation of the National University of Córdoba. Two names stand out from this period: Gaspar Juárez Baviano, and Antonia de la Paz y Figueroa, also known as "Beata Antula".
Gradually, with the economic prosperity of the port, the cultural axis moved eastward. The letters of the colonial age (Viceroyalty-neoclassicism, baroque and epic) grew under the protection of the independentist fervor: Vicente López y Planes, Pantaleón Rivarola and Esteban de Luca.
During the 17th century, Argentine baroque was poor in comparison with that from Europe and some other parts of the New World. The only remarkable poet of this period was fray José Luis de Tejeda who wrote Coronas líricas and El peregrino de Babilonia.
Visual arts
One of the most influential Argentine figures in fine arts was Xul Solar, whose surrealist work used watercolors as readily as unorthodox painting media; he also "invented" two imaginary languages. The works of Cándido López and Florencio Molina Campos (in Naïve art style), Ernesto de la Cárcova and Eduardo Sívori (realism), Fernando Fader (impressionism), Pío Collivadino and Cesáreo Bernaldo de Quirós (post-impressionist), Emilio Pettoruti (cubist), Antonio Berni (neo-figurative), Gyula Košice (constructivism), Eduardo Mac Entyre (Generative art), Guillermo Kuitca (abstract), and Roberto Aizenberg (Surrealism) are a few of the best-known Argentine painters.
Others include Benito Quinquela Martín, a quintessential 'port' painter for whom the working class and immigrant-bound La Boca neighborhood, in particular, was excellently suited. A similar environment inspired Adolfo Bellocq, whose lithographs have been influential since the 1920s. Evocative monuments ny Realist sculptors Erminio Blotta, Lola Mora and Rogelio Yrurtia became the part of the national landscape and today, Lucio Fontana and León Ferrari are acclaimed sculptors and conceptual artists. Ciruelo is a world-famous fantasy artist and sculptor, and Marta Minujín is an innovative Conceptual artist. Argentina's "modern painters" are a difficult group to define. They have developed a constructivist rather than figurative style, though it is not quite abstract. Artists of this group include Julio Barragán, Luis Seoane, Carlos Torrallardona, Luis Aquino, Atilio Malinverno, and Alfredo Gramajo Gutiérrez.
Juan Del Prete (later the creator of Futucubismo, a mixture of Cubism and Futurism) came from the abstract art movement in Argentina, which developed in the 1940s from, of course, concrete art. Tomás Maldonado is one of the most well known abstract artists.
The Madí Movement, began in Argentina in 1946. One source claims Madí was founded in protest to the government control of the arts under Juan Perón. while a different source says that Madí is not necessarily a response to that oppression. The movement spread to Europe and later the United States. It is considered the only artistic movement founded in Buenos Aires to have a significant impact internationally. It was founded by Gyula Kosice and Carmelo Arden Quin, and included artists such as Rhod Rothfuss, Martín Blaszko, Waldo Longo, and Diyi Laañ.
Architecture
Numerous Argentine architects have enriched their own country's cityscapes and, in recent decades, those around the world. Juan Antonio Buschiazzo helped popularize Beaux-Arts architecture and Francisco Gianotti combined Art Nouveau with Italianate styles, each adding flair to Argentine cities during the early 20th century. Francisco Salamone and Viktor Sulĉiĉ left an Art Deco legacy, and Alejandro Bustillo created a prolific body of Rationalist architecture. Clorindo Testa introduced Brutalist architecture locally and César Pelli's and Patricio Pouchulu's Futurist creations have graced cities, worldwide. Pelli's 1980s throwbacks to the Art Deco glory of the 1920s, in particular, made him one of the world's most prestigious architects.
The simplicity of the Rioplatense baroque style can be clearly appreciated in Buenos Aires, in the works of Italian architects such as André Blanqui and Antonio Masella, in the churches of San Ignacio, Nuestra Señora del Pilar, the Cathedral and the Cabildo.
Italian and French influences increased after the wars for independence at the beginning of the 19th century, though the academic style persisted until the first decades of the 20th century. Attempts at renovation took place during the second half of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, when the European tendencies penetrated into the country, reflected in numerous important buildings of Buenos Aires, such as the Santa Felicitam Church by Ernesto Bunge; the Central Post Office and Palace of Justice, by Norbert Maillart; and the National Congress and the Colón Opera House, by Vittorio Meano.
The architecture of the second half of the 20th century continued adapting French neoclassical architecture, such as the headquarters of the National Bank of Argentina and the NH Gran Hotel Provincial, built by Alejandro Bustillo, and the Museo de Arte Hispano Fernández Blanco, by Martín Noel.
However, after the early 1930s, the influence of Rationalist architecture and of Le Corbusier became dominant among local architects, among whom Alberto Prebisch and Amancio Williams stand out in this new vein. The construction of skyscrapers proliferated in Buenos Aires after 1950, though a new generation started rejecting their "brutality," and tried to find an architectonic identity.
This search for identity is reflected in the Banco de Londres building finished in 1967 by Clorindo Testa with Diego Peralta Ramos, Alfredo Agostini, and Santiago Sánchez Elía. In the following decades, the new generations of architects incorporate, as always, European vanguardist styles, and new techniques.
Since the latter part of the 20th century, Argentine architects have become more prominent in the design of prime real estate projects in the country, such as the Le Parc tower and Torre Aqualina, by Mario Roberto Álvarez, and the Torre Fortabat by Sánchez Elía, as well as around the world, most notably the Norwest Center and the Petronas Towers, both by César Pelli.
Cinema and theatre
The Argentine film industry creates around 80 full-length motion pictures annually. The per capita number of screens is one of the highest in Latin America, and viewing per capita is the highest in the region. The world's first animated feature films were made and released in Argentina, by cartoonist Quirino Cristiani, in 1917 and 1918. Since the 1980s, Argentine films have achieved worldwide recognition, such as The Official Story (Best foreign film oscar in 1986), Man Facing Southeast, A Place in the World, Nine Queens, Son of the Bride, The Motorcycle Diaries, Blessed by Fire, and The Secret in Their Eyes, winner of the 2009 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. A new generation of Argentine directors has caught the attention of critics worldwide. Argentine composers Luis Enrique Bacalov and Gustavo Santaolalla have been honored with Academy Award for Best Original Score nods. Lalo Schifrin has received numerous Grammys and is best known for the Theme from Mission: Impossible.
Buenos Aires is one of the great capitals of theater. The Teatro Colón is a national landmark for opera and classical performances; its acoustics are considered the best in the world. With its theatre scene of national and international caliber, Corrientes Avenue is synonymous with the art. It is thought of as 'the street that never sleeps' and sometimes referred to as the Broadway of Buenos Aires. The Teatro General San Martín is one of the most prestigious along Corrientes Avenue and the Teatro Nacional Cervantes functions as the national stage theater of Argentina. The Teatro Argentino de La Plata, El Círculo in Rosario, Independencia in Mendoza and Libertador in Córdoba are also prominent. Griselda Gambaro, Copi, Roberto Cossa, Marco Denevi, Carlos Gorostiza, and Alberto Vaccarezza are a few of the more prominent Argentine playwrights. Julio Bocca, Jorge Donn, José Neglia and Norma Fontenla are some of the great ballet dancers of the modern era.
Music
Tango, the music and lyrics (often sung in a slang called lunfardo), is Argentina's musical symbol. It has influences from the European and African culture. The golden age of tango (1930 to mid-1950s) mirrored that of jazz and swing in the United States, featuring large orchestral groups too, like the bands of Osvaldo Pugliese, Aníbal Troilo, Francisco Canaro, Julio de Caro and Juan d'Arienzo. Incorporating acoustic music and later, synthesizers into the genre after 1955, bandoneón virtuoso Ástor Piazzolla popularized "new tango" creating a more subtle, intellectual and listener-oriented trend. Today tango enjoys worldwide popularity; ever-evolving, neo-tango is a global phenomenon with renown groups like Tanghetto, Bajofondo and the Gotan Project.
Argentine rock developed as a distinct musical style in the mid-1960s, when Buenos Aires and Rosario became cradles of several garage groups and aspiring musicians. Today it is widely considered the most prolific and successful form of Rock en Español. Bands such as Soda Stereo or Sumo, and composers like Charly García, Luis Alberto Spinetta, and Fito Páez are referents of national culture. Serú Girán bridged the gap into the 1980s, when Argentine bands became popular across Latin America and elsewhere. Current popular bands include: Babasónicos, Rata Blanca, Horcas, Attaque 77, Bersuit, Los Piojos, Intoxicados, Catupecu Machu, Carajo and Miranda!.
Beyond dozens of regional dances, a national Argentine folk style emerged in the 1930s. Perón's Argentina would give rise to nueva canción, as artists began expressing in their music objections to political themes. The style went on to influence the entirety of Latin American music. Today, Chango Spasiuk and Soledad Pastorutti have brought folk back to younger generations. León Gieco's folk-rock bridged the gap between Argentine folklore and Argentine rock, introducing both styles to millions overseas in successive tours.
Following the emergence of "new tango" in the 1960s, one of Piazzolla's fellow bandoneónists he influenced most became a noted jazz composer in his own right. Rodolfo Mederos' 1976 album Fuera de broma 8 fused be-bop with tango and acoustic rock; Mederos has since recorded numerous albums and film scores. His success with jazz fusion inspired others, like fellow bandoneónist Dino Saluzzi, guitarist Lito Epumer and alto sax man Bernardo Baraj. Later in the 1970s and through the 1990s, drummer Pocho Lapouble became well known for his jazz trio and film scores. Argentine jazz saxophonists have also become prominent in their genre. Alto saxophonist Andrés Boiarsky, who emerged in 1986 performing the film score for Hombre mirando al sudeste ("Man Facing Southeast"), records extensively to this day, collaborating with Latin jazz greats like Paquito D'Rivera and Claudio Roditi. Carlos Franzetti's work and arrangements for the 1992 feature film, The Mambo Kings, earned him a Latin Grammy.
The best-known Argentine jazz musician internationally is probably Leandro Gato Barbieri. The tenor saxophonist worked with renowned big band orchestra conductor Lalo Schifrin in the early 1960s, shortly before Schifrin became internationally known for his composition of the theme to Mission: Impossible. Hired by jazz trumpeter Don Cherry, the two recorded Complete Communion in 1965, an album that secured their reputation in the jazz world. Barbieri went on to record his influential Caliente! (1976), an album combining Latin jazz and experimental work such as his own and jazz fusion great Carlos Santana's, as well as Qué pasa (1997), which draws more deeply from Argentine folklore roots.
Media
The print media industry is highly developed, with more than two hundred newspapers. The major national newspapers are from Buenos Aires, including the centrist Clarín, the best-selling daily in Latin America and the second most widely circulated in the Spanish-speaking world. Other nationally circulated papers are La Nación (center-right, published since 1870), Página/12 (left-wing), Ámbito Financiero (business conservative), Olé (sports) and Crónica (populist). The most circulated newsmagazine is Noticias. 
Radio broadcasting in Argentina is predated only by radio in the United States, and began on 27 August 1920, when Richard Wagner's Parsifal was broadcast by a team of medical students led Enrique Susini in Buenos Aires' Teatro Coliseo. There are currently 260 AM broadcasting and 1150 FM broadcasting radio stations in Argentina. 
The Argentine television industry is large and diverse, widely viewed in Latin America, and its productions seen around the world. Argentines enjoy the highest availability of cable and satellite television in Latin America, similar to percentages in North America. 
Argentine comic artists have contributed prominently to national culture, including Héctor Germán Oesterheld, Alberto Breccia, Dante Quinterno, Francisco Solano López, Horacio Altuna, Roberto Fontanarrosa, whose grotesque characters captured life's absurdities with quick-witted commentary, and Quino, known for the soup-hating Mafalda and her comic strip gang of childhood friends.
National symbols
Argentina has a number of national symbols, some of which are extensively defined by law. 
The National Flag consists of three, equal in width, horizontal stripes, colored light blue, white and light blue, with the Sun of May in the centre of the middle, white stripe. The flag was designed by Manuel Belgrano in 1812; it was adopted as a national symbol 20 July 1816. The Coat of Arms of Argentina, which represents the union of the provinces, came into use in 1813 as a seal for official documents.
The Argentine National Anthem, adopted in 1813, was written by Vicente López y Planes with music by Blas Parera. It has been subsequently shortened to only three paragraphs, after omitting the lyrics' attacks against former occupant Spain.
The Cockade of Argentina was first used during the May Revolution of 1810 and was made official two years later. The Hornero, habitating practically across all the national territory, was unanimously designated as Argentina's national animal in 1927. The ceibo is the country's designated national flower and tree, while the horseback game of pato is its national sport. The Schinopsis balansae was declared "National forest tree" in 1956. The Rhodochrosite is the national stone. 
The national dishes are asado and locro, and wine the national liquor. 
The Virgin of Lujan is Argentina's patron saint. 
Cuisine
Besides many of the pasta, sausage and dessert dishes common to continental Europe, Argentines enjoy a wide variety of Indigenous and Criollo creations, which include empanadas (a stuffed pastry), locro (a mixture of corn, beans, meat, bacon, onion, and gourd), humitas and yerba mate, all originally indigenous Amerindian staples, the latter considered Argentina's national beverage. Other popular items include chorizo (a spicy sausage), facturas (Viennese-style pastry) and Dulce de leche, a sort of milk caramel jam. The Argentine barbecue, asado as well as a parrillada, includes various types of meats, among them chorizo, sweetbread, chitterlings, and morcilla (blood sausage). Thin sandwiches, sandwiches de miga, are also popular. Argentines have the highest consumption of red meat in the world. 
The Argentine wine industry, long among the largest outside Europe, has benefited from growing investment since 1992; in 2007, 60% of foreign investment worldwide in viticulture was destined to Argentina. The country is the fifth most important wine producer in the world, with the annual per capita consumption of wine among the highest. Malbec grape, a discardable varietal in France (country of origin), has found in the Province of Mendoza an ideal environment to successfully develop and turn itself into the world's best Malbec. Mendoza accounts for 70% of the country's total wine production. "Wine tourism" is important in Mendoza province, with the impressive landscape of the Cordillera de Los Andes and the highest peak in the Americas, Mount Aconcagua, 6,952 m (22,808 ft) high, providing a very desirable destination for international tourism.