This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about the Basques in Buenos Aires province who have been producing and distributing dairy products since the beginning of the 20th century.  The partido of Merlo was a prime destination for Basque migrants at the time, to such an extent that the Wikipedia article discusses it in the partido’s history section in Spanish:

“en las primeras décadas del siglo xx los vascos son la principal mano de obra agraria en el partido, transformando a Merlo en una “verdadera vasconia”. Los vascos se dedicaron casi exclusivamente a la cría de ganado vacuno para la producción de leche en tambos”

“in the first decades of the 20th century, the Basques were the leading agricultural workforce in the partido, transforming Merlo into a “true Basque Country.”  The Basques dedicated themselves almost exclusively to raising cattle for milk production.”

So yes, we’ve discussed them quite a bit, including when discussing Alberto Moroy‘s article in Uruguay’s El País about the Baque milkmen of Buenos Aires, when we learned that the milk jugs used in that part of the world are nicknamed esneonas (from the Basque “esne ona” = “good milk”).

Eduardo Parise, in the Argentine daily Clarín, focused on a specific case, that of Pedro Uthurralt, a Basque who traveled from his hometown of Espès-Undurein to Buenos Aires aboard the Niger, setting sail on November 5, 1874.  In 1908, he founded one of the most iconic Argentine dairy companies, La Vascongada, which also launched Vascolet, a powder to make chocolate milk that was part of the cultural zeitgeist in Argentina and in Uruguay.

And we’re mentioning that Basque man and his company again today thanks to an article in the Argentine daily El Cronista in their “Brands history” section.  Here, we’ll find a detailed story of this company and its brands.  One of them, Vascolet, is still available in the Uruguay market, produced by Nestle.

Vascolet continua presente en el marcado uruguayo comercializado por Nestle
Vascolet is still available on the Uruguayan market, produced by Nestle

Yet another story of the Basques in Argentina.  We never cease to be amazed by their ability, energy, strength, and drive.  That’s what’s made it possible for the sons and daughters of this small European people to have such a lasting, world-spanning effect.

By the way, in case there are any doubts, Pedro Uthurralt, was from Soule (which we so dearly love).  This is one of the territories in the so-called “French Basque Country,” but if one really needs to accurately define it, one could say the “Northern Basque Country.”

El Cronista – 10/8/2023 -Argentina

Fundó una empresa láctea icónica, pero quebró dos veces: qué pasó con La Vascongada

El vasco Pedro Uthurralt se embarcó rumbo a la Argentina hace casi un siglo y medio. En ese momento no imaginaba que su llegada al país generaría un recuerdo imborrable para toda una generación. No por su arribo a territorio argentino en sí, sino por la marca que gestó desde Merlo, provincia de Buenos Aires. La Vascongada fue una de las grandes lácteas a nivel nacional, pero atravesó dos quiebras y no pudo sobrevivir. No obstante, algunas de sus etiquetas satélites aún se mantienen con vida.

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Last Updated on Feb 12, 2024 by About Basque Country

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