Local handicrafts and artisanal items to pick up on your trip

Argentine Leather Products
Argentina produces beautiful and reasonably priced jackets, shoes, belts, billfolds, wallets, and other leather products. Buyers can find great deals, but be wary of hawkers on the over-commercialized pedestrian mall on Avenida Florida downtown. The authors of the Guia Total Buenos Aires like leather goods on Calle Murillo. Prüne (Calle Florida 963; tel. 54 11 4893 2634) purse stores have great Coach-quality purses at a fraction of the price.

Dulce de Leche
Pick up this super-sweet, creamy, caramel-like spread at most grocery stores and many candy stores. Argentines quibble over which brand is best, but a couple of the most popular brands are Chimbote and Llolay, and Lapataia from neighboring Uruguay. Buy dulce de leche in cans for easy and safe transport home in your luggage.

Malbec Wine
Fine Malbec wines are mostly produced in the western Argentina region of Mendoza. Excellent quality and great prices are available in wine shops and grocery stores alike; many wine shops, restaurants, and bars also offer tastings. Torrontes, the Argentine white wine, is also worth trying.

Mate Gourds
Spend any time in Argentina and you will see the locals sipping yerba mate, a bitter herb drink from these gourds through bombillas, or metal straws. Enterprising artisans have converted this staple in most Argentine homes into artwork, plated with Argentine silver, decorated with leather or alpaca wool, or painted with kitschy renderings of local celebs such as revolutionary Che Guevara or soccer icon Diego Maradona. You can buy them at almost any neighborhood art fair and most craft or souvenir shops.

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