Thursday, April 9, 2009

Under the Argentine Sun

Cheval des Andes Polo ......Lunch in Mendoza .....Argentina winery

I love summer! And if you're like me you can't wait for the robust yet refreshing flavors of the warmest why not have two summers and spend part of your winter in Argentina! That's when it's summertime in the southern hemisphere. I tell ya...I have a new slogan for Argentina's Tourism folks.. "What took you so long?!" On a trip to Buenos Aires and Mendoza (Argentina's Napa Valley) I fell in love with the sunny weather, the incredible wines, the delicious foods, the wonderful people and the incredibly affordable peso! I was lucky enough to be invited to one of the best culinary events in the world.....the Masters of Food and Wine South America. Held each February in BA ( Buenos Aires) and in Mendoza at the lovely Park Hyatt properties, this large scale yet intimate ( somehow ) event is a parade of the world's greatest chefs from Michelin star French guys to hot chefs from U.S cities and South America. To find out how you can join the food and fun next year go to or email
Don't Cry for Me Argentina!
Yes! I had the famous flavorful grass fed beef raised in Argentina. What I loved the most were the condiments that are traditionally served with the grilled meats at parillas ( steak houses).
Here's the dish on dieting part- the beef, lamb or pork may be center stage but interesting salads such as hearts of palm with tomato, onion and green olives grace the tables. Pickled onions, chimichurri sauces and other savory treats add punch to the parilla feasts so you don't have to eat Texas sized steaks. This is Argentina and the dining style is more European with smaller portions and the pace is slow and easy.
Then the wines....and the wine knowledge that flows!! At each Masters of Food and Wine event top wine experts, sommeliers, wine makers are on hand to pop corks and pour the best. Argentina's best know grape varietal is Malbec, a velvety smooth, red wine with the all of the aromas of Cabernet Sauvignon but with the black currant and spices of Merlot. But Argentina is becoming known for its white wines too..especially Torentes. I made a point of sampling this elegant white wine with the character of viognier but with great acidity. The sparkling wines of Argentina are top class, too. Uh, could it be because top Champagne houses from France including Moet Chandon and top sparkling producers from Spain such as Cordorniu have wineries in Argentina, too?
Polo and Tango
Sure Madonna may have dipped into town to shoot that little movie "Evita" but the real action happens everynight in BA when the tango halls fill up with locals young and old...and tourists..talented and not so talented (me) to tango! It's great fun just watching...which is what I should have done! I was kicked back to my table of friends after a handsome Argentinean asked me to dance and then asked, "Have you ever had a tango lesson?" I responded, "No, but I thought it looked easy. I've been watching for 20 minutes." Uh, it's not easy!!!! I did buy a pair of fabulous black lace tango shoes at a cool little shop in BA called Comme il Faut...a French term that means "as it should be" and is the name of a famous tango tune.
On to another spectator sport. I attended an sophisticated Hermes meets white jeans and boots polo exhibition at Cheval des Andes winery in Mendoza. The blue sky, bright sun day began with a glass of bubbly and inspiring views of the Andes and polo players!!! I thought, "I don't care if I've died and gone to heaven. I really like it here!" Viva Argentina!!

1 comment:

Sarit said...

To be honest, it's kind of untrue. Spend sometime in the city of Buenos Aires and you will find that well made salads are hard to come by and that everything is served in huge portions.