The Pampas (from Quechua pampa, meaning "plain") are fertile South American lowlands, covering more than 750,000 km2 (289,577 sq mi). These plains contain unique wildlife because of the different terrains around it. Some of this wildlife includes the rhea, the pampas deer, several species of armadillos, the pampas fox, the White-eared opossum, the Elegant Crested Tinamou, and several other species.
Frequent wildfires ensure that only small plants such as grasses flourish, and trees are rare. The dominant vegetation types are grassy prairie and grass steppe in which numerous species of the grass genus Stipa are particularly conspicuous. "Pampas Grass" (Cortaderia selloana) is an iconic species of the Pampas. Vegetation typically includes perennial grasses and herbs, which constitute unique foder for the grazing cattle. Different strata of grasses occur because of gradients of water availability.
The gaúchos, or inhabitants of Rio Grande do Sul state, strongly cultivate the traditions of the Pampas, such as drinking mate (known as chimarrão drunk in special gourd cups), eating the typical barbecue, known as churrasco.
When it came time for a harvest dinner on the area’s ranches during the state’s pioneering era, meat was first and foremost. Big slabs of beef would be roasted over open fires, and swords heavy with chunks of pork, lamb and poultry would be turned over the coals. Seasoned by salt and smoke, the meats were sliced onto plates and enjoyed by the gathered group. Today, waiters at steak houses throughout Brazil serve huge skewers of meat, with knives at the ready that would do well in any Zorro remake, and they slice meat until you moan, “nao mais” (no more).
The Gaucho from Bruno Maestrini on Vimeo.
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