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Wine and Food Pairings at Reserve

There are a lot of kitchen experiments going on over here at the Reserve loft! We’re trying to find the perfect food and wine pairings.  I’m sharing a post from the Anuva Wine Tasting blog to show one of the favored combinations:

Hello wine worshippers and food fanatics!! Although this week’s recipe is a pasta dish, it’s really all about the bacon.  I think we can agree that one of the most heavenly smells in the world is that of bacon on the grill.   So I’ll be honest, yes I was craving bacon, but I was also curious to see how it would pair with some of our unique Argentine wines. Get ready… you are about to meet a combination that could impress even the most disagreeable of your in-laws.  So grab your wine glasses and let’s begin! Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

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Ingredients (2 servings):

  • 100 grams of bacon
  • 200 grams of pasta
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 25 ml of cream
  • 1/4 kg of mushrooms
  • few sprigs of parsley
  • 1 entire green onion
  • chicken broth (in packet above)
  • salt and pepper
  • grated Parmesan cheese

To begin you’ll want to boil some water and start cooking your pasta.  Then chop up your garlic:

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And your mushrooms…

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And your bacon.  Let’s cook that bacon first so we can get those good smells going! (Warning: If you plan to cook around other people be prepared to face a lot of puppy dog eyes pleading for a taste)

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Let those bacon slices get nice and sizzled, and then place them on a paper towel to soak up some of the grease, but not all! Next step, start sauteing your garlic and mushrooms.

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Once they are browned a bit, pour in your chicken broth and chopped green onions.

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Let them simmer for a couple minutes and then add a dab of cream and some parsley and……

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Voilà!! A dish to wow the crowds.  Don’t forget to splash with Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Mmm I already ate that entire bowl and looking at this photo makes me want some more.

Now you’ve probably snitched a bit along the way so at this point you must be PARCHED! Time to quench that mighty thirst of yours, and what a better way to do so than with an elegant red wine.

Here are the two contenders for today’s wine pairing:

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Mairena Bonarda 2011 vs. San Gimignano Cabernet Sauvignon Roble 2008.

 

Now for the taste test! (See here for tips on how to pair wine with food)

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And the winner is….

 

The MAIRENA BONARDA! Also known as Argentina’s best kept secret.  Bonarda was once nicknamed the “patito feo” (ugly duckling) because of it’s high yielding production that led to very poor wine.  It was a common blending grape for making low quality table wines.  It wasn’t until the 1980’s when winemakers from around the world such as Michel Rolland from France came to Argentina and started revitalizing the wine-making process.  They focused on limiting yield production and eventually turned this ugly duckling into an elegant swan.

This wine pairs so wonderfully with the dish because of it’s nice acidity and medium-full bodied characteristics that really compliment the creaminess of the sauce and the greasiness of the bacon.  Taking a sip of this wine after every bite swept away all those strong flavors, cleansing my pallet and making it ready for the next bite.  Make sure you added a lot of pepper to your dish because the pepper characteristics of the wine match it divinely!

The San Gimignano Cabernet Sauvignon was a very close second, but I think I’ll save that one for the next time I’m eating a big juicy steak.  For now I’ll stick to my bonarda 🙂

Buen provecho!

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A Little History About Malbec

When I first moved to Argentina my personal wine consumption soared from what it had been in the US.  This was mainly because wine is everywhere in Argentina, and it’s one of the cheapest drinks to buy at the local supermarket, especially if you are buying Zumuva (Which I was…)

zumuva

Yes, that is boxed wine! And it shows just how little I knew about wine at that time.  Now after living here for a few years my love for the drink has greatly increased, due in large part to Argentina’s most prized grape- Malbec.  It wasn’t until I did some wine tastings in Buenos Aires and started noticing the labels of wine bottles that I became interested in Malbec.  While those of you who live in Argentina or know anything about Argentine wine are most likely already big fans of the delicious grape, many of you might not know about its interesting history.

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Domingo Faustino Sarmiento was a great Argentine president.  Upon his death in 1888 he left behind a number of legacies, one of which (and the most important to those who love wine) was the development the country’s wine industry.

In 1853 Sarmiento heard the news of the innovative French agronomist, Michel Pouget, gaining praise for his unique wine-making techniques in Chile, and invited him to come revitalize Argentina’s wine industry.  One of the grapes Pouget brought with him was Malbec, whose vines had originated in Cohors, France.  In France the grape was known as Côt, but because of its poor resistance to pests and humidity, the grape never flourished as well in its native land.  The flavor was so disagreeable in fact that it was given the nickname “mal bouche” or literally “bad mouth.”  However this bad mouth turned out to be a shining success in Argentina, thanks to the dry climate and all that sunshine in Mendoza.

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Another success of the Malbec is that this year it celebrated its 17th anniversary Malbec World Day on April 17th! I don’t know of another grape that claims an entire day all to celebrate just how wonderful it is.  On Malbec World Day we all get to pay our respects to Sarmiento and Pouget for putting Argentina on the international wine map and have an excuse to drink some great wine! But really, who needs an excuse anyway?

How to Make Chocolate Truffles and Pair Them with Wine

If you love chocolate truffles like I do and would like to know how to make them yourself, check out this post I wrote for the Anuva Wines Blog!

Chocolate and wine, a match made in heaven.  If any of you have been to one of our Buenos Aires Wine Tastings, you’ve tried our truffles.  Not to toot our own horn or anything, but they are delicious. And they make the perfect pairing to a bold glass of red wine. You might have been wondering how we make such tasty treats, so I’ve taken the liberty of writing out the steps for you all with some photos to go alongside.  Can you think of a better way to show your love to someone than with an excellent bottle of boutique Argentine wine and some homemade truffles to go with it??

So, put your apron on, this truffle making can get messy!  You’ll only need two ingredients to get started:

  • 400 grams dark chocolate (we use 70% cocoa)
  • 200 grams of cream

First step! Chop up your 400 grams of dark chocolate into small pieces:

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Up-close view of my own chocolate chopping technique:

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Ta-da! Chocolate chopped.

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Now, pour your cream into a pot and heat it up on the stove.

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Wait a few minutes until the cream is hot (but not boiling) and then pour in your chocolate bits.

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Then stir it all up! Now is a good time to have a little taste, you know, to make sure the proportions are right…

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Keep stirring until it looks all smooth and tasty like this:

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Then cover it up with some saran wrap and let it cool in the fridge for at least a few hours.  The longer you can leave it the better because the truffles roll much more easily if they are cold.

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Now it’s time to start molding! I like to use an ice cream scooper to scoop out some chocolate and then use my hands to make a little ball.  Some might wear gloves but I prefer to go au naturel.

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Now for the toppings! Here at Anuva we like to use chopped almonds, but you can use sprinkles, coconut shavings or whatever your creative mind can come up with.

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I made some with chocolate shavings as well:

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Now for the wine pairing you’ve all been waiting for…it was a tough decision, but I chose to go with a Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve by Las Perdices.

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The chocolate is obviously a hit, let’s see about the combo…

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Ahh!! Magical! If I hadn’t been at work I would have helped myself to the entire bottle and all the truffles!

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So, besides the Las Perdices Cab Sav Reserve, what else goes nicely with some homemade truffles? Here are my recommendations:

  • Amauta Corte III by El Porvenir de Cafayate
  • Gran Reserve Malbec by CarinaE
  • Caluna Blend by Caluna

All of these wine are full-bodied with robust aromas that pair divinely with the rich dark chocolate.  The toasty notes in the wine compliment the toasty flavors of the chocolate, and the cocoa butter counteracts the drying sensation from the tannins. All of these wines can be found at our wine store, so go ahead and taste the divine combination for yourself! Just make sure you look in the mirror before leaving the house…

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Zona Norte: The Calmer Side of Buenos Aires

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Buenos Aires is a very big city. Each neighborhood is very different from one another. What they do have in common is that almost all Capital Federal is surrounded by big buildings, and in some neighborhoods they’re more than others. There are also some areas, that by law, they are not permitted to build buildings more than four stories high.

Zona Norte

In this blog I will talk about the lovely neighborhoods in Zona Norte de Gran Buenos Aires (north side of Buenos Aires) province of Buenos Aires. Around here you will see beautiful houses, another side of Rio de la Plata, yachts clubs, large green parks, smaller buildings, most of them unique and beautifully built. In each paragraph I will be you some information about the neighborhoods and how to get there from Capital Federal.

One of the most known places in Zona Norte is Tigre, located on the northeast side of the south coast of Rio de la Plata. It is one of the most go to places on the weekend. Tigre

Here you can visit Puerto de Frutos where minor locals sale all types of decor for home, gardening and personal use. You can take long walks next to the sea and even boat rides. To get here you can take the coast train or the 60 bus from pretty much anywhere. Make sure it says “A Tigre” in the front. 

Peru Beach

Another lovely place in Zona Norte (and personally my favorite in Buenos Aires) is San Isidro. To me this area is like a latino California. This neighborhood started as a little town and originally the main provider of bread, fruits and wood for the city of Buenos Aires, basically the fountain to income of the citizens. Eventually people from the city were so attracted by San Isidro’s’ beauty and moved to big houses and started transforming land into country houses. If you ever go visit in a sunny day, try going the San Isidro Cathedral and to Peru Beach, where they have some awesome activities like kitesurf, kayak, and they also provide an outdoor space to just chill out drink and eat.

 Kayac Peru

Another place to visit is Vicente Lopez, located on the northern of San Isidro. Vicente Lopez has always been a residential zone but has a variety of places to visit like; Puerto de Olivos Puerto de Olivos where the fishing Club is, el Nautico and the Yacht Club Olivos. Take a walk and around this area you will find some lovely and peaceful places to have a meal with a view of the city. paseo de la costa El Paseo de la Costa is quite new, inaugurated in the year 2000 is a big green space, where people go, exercice, ride their bikes, skateboards, you name it. On the weekends there is also a Craft Fair. And last but not least is the Quinta Presidencial, which is the residence of the president of Argentina, located almost in front of the Puerto de Olivos, it is a nice place to visit, although you cannot see the house from inside, it is very big and very impressive to be able to stand in the front door of the house. To get in any of the mentioned places in Vicente Lopez you can take the coast train and get off in the Olivos stop. The 168 bus also leaves you in front of the Quinta Presidencial.

My Organic Opinion

Argentina is known for its sultry tango, it’s rich malbecs and it’s melt-in-your-mouth grass-fed beef.   Every tourist knows they cannot come to this country without gorging on a delectable steak.  Unfortunately, most people are not aware of the disheartening transformation of the Argentine agricultural industry since the arrival of the US biotechnology corporation Monsanto in the late 1990’s.   If you have never heard of Monsanto, think Pinky and the Brain.  They plan to take over the world, starting with our food…

farming-before-and-after-monsanto-any-questions

But this is no news for any of us.  The agricultural industry is pretty messed up everywhere. The most important thing is for us to figure out how to feed ourselves in the the least harmful way possible.  I personally, have gone for the organic route, and thankfully there are  many others in Buenos Aires with the same idea.

I started ordering organic fruit and vegetables to my home once a week from De la Huerta a su Mesa (from the garden to your table). My fridge looks like a tiny little garden with leaves sticking out and a wonderful smell of fresh parsley explodes every time I open it.   No need for air fresheners!

You can also check out some of these organic markets around the city:

  1. El Galpon in Chacarita, a few blocks from the Subt B stop Federico Lacroze.
  2. Mercado de Economia Solidaria Bonpland on Bonpland street in Palermo Hollywood.
  3. Sabe La Tierra, located at the San Fernando Train Station on the Tren de la Costa.

I recommend the Bonpland Market for its convenience, and the fact that you can take your recycling there. But the Galpon and Sabe La Tierra are other great markets to check out for a fun trip on a Saturday.

I also recently started buying natural and vegan face creams from Nai Ellen Naturals. With a mix of sweet orange, ylang ylang and avocado and grapeseed oils it leaves my skin feeling fresh and smelling delicious! Plus I’m not questioning what I’m rubbing all over my face every night.

So there you go friends, my organic opinion.  Take care of you body, like they say- you are what you eat!