Carlos Panighetti, gourmet butcher: “We have to re

“It’s to write a novel,” says Carlos Panighetti, already relaxed after a hard day’s work at Cabaña Las Dinas. Tandil Industrial Parknext to National Route 226, has housed for 12 years this hyper-technological premium sausage factory, manufacturing headquarters of a company born almost four decades ago and that with more than fifty products it more than honors the craftsmanship spirit of elaboration that has guided it from the beginning.

And Carlos goes back to those times when he says that the history of Las Dinas deserves a book. “The company was created in 1983 by my father, Carlos, which today is retired from the operational side, but not from the strategic side. He and my mom are sociologists and they came to live in Tandil in the early 1980s. They bought a 32-hectare farm, located 6 km from the city center. What was happening? For an economic unit in the province of Buenos Aires, it was very small, and for a fifth, it was huge,” says the 49-year-old man.

“So, they put up an intensive farm and a pig shed. Starting in 1983, Cabaña Las Dinas was born as a sausage factory, where we began to process part of the pigs produced. In 1992 the hatchery was closed and we only continued with the sausage factory. In ’98 we used the field for a campsite and then a cabin complex. The factory was attached to my father’s house; in December it will be 12 years since we moved to the industrial park”.

A step by step involved in a typical framework of a family business. “We are eight brothers, five of whom work together. Here we do three of us; later, we have the complex of cabins, where my parents are with another of my brothers; and a sister of ours is in charge of the two stores we have in Martínez and San Isidro. There are three sisters who do not participate, Although we are all partnersdetails.


Before Carlos leads a tour of the plant, he talks about numbers and that artisan imprint that the company maintains even in technology. A display of machinery and areas that strictly respect health regulations and trace a product route that avoids crossovers. “We produce 40 thousand kilos per month. It seems outrageous to me, but fellow neighbors produce millions of kilos”

“They are top-of-the-line refrigerators that produce in one morning what we do in a month. But what is special about our company is that you will not find another with a productive volume like ours, with all the perfect sanitary permits and a super interesting technification. And that, in reality, is something that does not happen in the market: those who are technified as we are, in general, do not support the temptation of adulteration or the breakdown of craftsmanship”. Very clear.

And he continues: “In this work, the commercial is under the protection of the sanitary; Let’s say that as much as I want, I couldn’t sell where the sanitary protection doesn’t allow me; It works like this: you have a municipal ejido, a provincial ejido and a national ejido, and according to the sanitary permit that you acquire, you can expand your commercial borders. Last year we released Senasa. So there are not many companies with 40 thousand kilos of production, and that have the legal papers to really reach any point in the country! There are provinces that we have not yet reached because we are not lawless. We are growing as best we can, naturally boosting sales a little.”

Regarding the provision of raw material, Panighetti reports that hoy they are supplied with different refrigerators. “We stopped breeding: at first things went wrong with the hatchery —like many colleagues— and we wintered with small puppies or young capons weighing 50/60 kilos that we bought and then slaughtered; then we bought capons in the region. And later what happened to us was that we didn’t integrate the half carcass of the pig well, which meant that they didn’t give us the costs. Then there we began to buy cuts directly from different producers”.

Take advantage, and, incidentally, give a lesson on the quality of animals and the universalization of a genetic model. “The pig —except in Spain or other places where special animals are used to make products that are like jewels— It’s almost like a commodity in the worldand not only from the point of view of the raw material but from the dominant genetics, which with greater or lesser success is scattered throughout the world. So the quality of the pig is going to be optimal anywhere. They can change some characteristics of the animals due to the issue of food, but they are quite similar. Then, what you do have are different genetics: some are more muscle mass builders, or proteins, or fat, or with different responses to the weather; but the mean is the mean.”


Ok, the subtitle already marks a dispute. But For Paniguetthi, it is not a matter of certification, but rather a question of whether the work is done —or not— as it should be.. “The dichotomy between industrial and artisanal does not exist” —he stands up—; “What does exist is the good craftsman and the bad craftsman. And there is a difference between one that supposedly does things by hand (without controls, carefree) and one that covers all aspects using technology. There are no bad instruments, there are bad instrumentalists”.

And he gives a practical example: “Look what happens to me: I have a lot of friends who come every year and tell me: ‘Tomá, eat a salami as God intended.’ And I, of every ten salamis that they give me, I try two, which are precisely the ones that I know have been analyzed. This happens everywhere, and you have to be careful. But I can say this because I educated my palate and I am demanding, and the demand from the consumer is not something common.”


In this we are at the limit of stupidity: sometimes the consumer not only needs to be told what is good and what is bad but also what is rich and what is ugly. We are so uneducated, and so unconcerned about what we eat, that we don’t want to use our judgment at all. We want everything to be lowered by the State. And let’s add the tax issue: doing something without paying anything is not the same as complying with all taxes”.

There are guys who make Parma ham in Italy with the same method 100 years ago and sell it to every market in the world.. And surely someone will come to say: ‘Y, but the method is not traditional’. The guy is going to have the right to tell him: ‘Listen to me, skinny, my family has been making ham like this for 3,000 years'”.

“But apart from that they are guys who, Based on what their grandfather taught them, they designed machines, perfected the method so that the best ham in history always comes out the same. How are they going to tell him that because he has a machine that weighs the perfect salt and that measures parameters exactly, the thing is no longer artisanal? You have to understand that technology is a tool, and, it depends on the heart of the craftsman who uses it, it will be used well or it will be used badly”.


“All this is added to the fact that there is a poor quality disclosure, in which they put dichotomies that are not valid. Because then there is the consumer who goes to the delicatessen and sees that there are two hams, one that is worth 100 pesos and the other that costs 1.20. He asks the seller: ‘Is this 1.20 any good?’ And the guy replies: ‘Yes, he’s just like the other one’.

There is no magic fairy of raw ham, let’s understand it! And there is no excuse that you have to take the cheapest ‘because it’s for a cake’. I have some French brothers-in-law, and the guys have a cult of food; but not snobbish, it is an intellectual cult. The guys know how to eat. They know the recipes, the origins of the food. They don’t eat that ham or give it to you, do not mortgage your palate”.

“Look at the meat: we pay tenderness and not flavor. There are countries where they boast of killing oxen that are 11 years old, of maturing their meat, and it is because they privilege the flavor, the culture of cooking. That for me is part of this whole universe of thinking about the supposed dichotomy between the commercial and the artisanal”.


Cap, apron, shoe protectors, chinstraps. The protection kit that Carlos provides prologues a tour of the factory, which must be done yes or yes once the workday is over. Sine qua non condition that is added to a golden rule: do not touch. Paniguetti guides us through a world of state-of-the-art machines: mixers, mincers, sausage makers, cooking ovens, smokers, dryers, all in their own area.

We see porchettas, bacon, salami and chorizo ​​of all styles, bondiolas, bologna, ham, legs, all in their corresponding chamber and in the indicated parking instance. An itinerary that always goes forward, avoiding all kinds of cross contamination. The man takes all the time in the world to tell us how the products are made, what they are for and how each machine works.


Listening to him, one understands his passion for things well done and also the capacity for analysis that, from his butcher’s heart, opens the panorama to something much broader: the Argentine table. “We lost the art of eating, although I think that in that sense it is returning to an origin. Look, I’ve been next to my dad since I was 12 years old doing this, and the truth is that we’ve seen a huge improvement in recent years.”

“And we were in the cat flap, waiting for this moment to value a good and well-made product, and we are enjoying it. Like we were ready and they opened the doors for us. It is there to capitalize on it, and above all from the formation of palates. You have to educate them again and understand what you are eating.”

Carlos Panighetti, gourmet butcher: “We have to re-educate the palate and understand what we are eating” | UPR