Monday, 9 September 2013

Fray Bentos, The Home of Corned Beef

When researching Uruguay many months ago I came across this town Fray Bentos and I could not believe that any town would name itself after a tin of corned beef!!! Fray Bentos brings back so many childhood memories for me, when at boarding school in England, tins of Fray Bentos Corned Beef sent to me by my Mother supplemented my school dinners or in many cases substituted my school dinners!!

Well here I am in Fray Bentos a small town in Uruguay on the Rio Uruguay and just across from Argentina. The town has a population of 22,000. In 1868 a German named Justua von Liebeg set up a company named THE LIEBEG’S EXTRACT OF MEAT COMPANY LTD. He along with another scientist had discovered a way of canning meat so that it would last. In the process they also found ways of using the extract so none of the animal was wasted, they say the only part that was not used was the Moooooo. He built his factory in a very small town called Fray Bentos because of the vast cattle ranches in both Uruguay and Argentina.

The products became so popular in Europe that soon the factory was exporting 90% of its production. In the UK it was marketed under two very famous brand names, Fray Bentos and OXO. During the 1st World War OXO became the drink of the trenches. 

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