Pueblo Garzón is a very small village located about 40 miles northeast of the world famous and glamorous Uruguayan resort of Punta del Este. Set in the farmlands of southeastern Uruguay this is a village that time forgot - even the train station closed 50 years ago. However all this changed when a certain world famous Argentine chef arrived in the village and liked it so much he decided to open a hotel and restaurant. Consequently the fortunes of this sleepy backwater had a complete turnaround. This chef is Francis Mallman (who is actually half Uruguayan), the man who knows all there is to know about asado (BBQ).
At first it appeared Mallman was taking a great risk by opening shop in such a sleepy village but word soon spread and suddenly Garzón became the place to go. The town itself is charming in a quaint way - gauchos still ride down the streets, there’s a plaza with a fountain and everyone knows everyone. Since the King of the South American BBQ opened up his place, new restaurants, boutiques and even a winery have followed suit. And of course plenty of visitors have made the trip there.
Mallman named his establishment El Garzón, which also has 5 bedrooms as well as the restaurant. The building is an old brick one level hacienda on the corner of the town plaza. As you can imagine dining and staying here does not come cheap, dinner for two will set you back approx $300 and the room costs $590 per night plus taxes although this does include all meals and drinks. This, of course, makes it within reach for only the wealthiest of visitors - clearly the away from it all, shabby, gaucho chic does not come cheap! He trained the chefs at nine of the best restaurants in the area and one of his protégées, Lucia Soria, has opened up an informal restaurant behind her house in the town.
Garzón is becoming home to quite a little community of ex-pats who are so taken with the laid back lifestyle which Uruguay and particularly this town have to offer. As you can imagine the real estate prices in Garzón reflect its unique and exclusive reputation. It is considered to be one of Uruguay’s property hot spots and is thought of as being impossibly chic. Mallman immediately believed this small town had great real estate potential when he first saw it and has since been proved right.
Garzón is a few kilometers inland from the coastal town of Jose Ignacio. There really is not much to do there except enjoy the tranquility and old world charm. But for many people who visit, they fall in love and return time and time again. Plus they get to dine in some of the world's finest establishments with some very exotic, interesting and well heeled people from all over the world as fellow guests. This is all thanks to the hard work and vision of one man.
If perhaps staying at El Garzón is a little out of your financial reach, Uruguay has plenty of other equally charming places to stay instead. A visit to Garzón, the restaurant El Garzón or one of the other eating places in the village are just some of the highlights of a trip to Uruguay. This country makes a wonderful vacation destination - the beaches, historic towns and rolling countryside are just a few of the things to enjoy there. It also has plenty of fascinating places to stay with oodles of cultural and historical interest.
For inspiration on planning your trip and where to stay have a look at our website - www.historicahaciendas.com
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