Hello. The whirring of the 1980’s fridge behind me screams like banshee. We had a long day of it yesterday… Or more appropriately; I had a long day of it. Argentine’s seem to be able to pace themselves better with the good stuff a lot better than me.
So Jime’s cousin turned up to take us to her house where we could watch the mighty Swansea take on lowly Manchester United. Her husband is a huge Red Devils fan – so much so that it seems he allowed a child to tattoo his body with the team’s crest. I haven’t got a picture of it but believe me, it belongs in the Museum of Poor Art. They came to stay with us in London last year and we enjoyed a weekend in the tropical oasis of Manchester .. where it isn’t cold.. and doesn’t rain… ever.
So we arrived. And these guys; Ivan and Ivana are great hosts. The TV was on, the asado was lit and I was presented with the first of my cocktails. A beautiful gin and tonic. The sun had not yet passed the acceptable yard arm by this point but I didn’t want to be rude and graciously took it… with gusto. Wonderfully refreshing with the mercury slapping the mid 30’s again.
I soon lost interest in the match, and so did our host. The game was much too easy for them which made it much easier for me to enjoy people talking in a foreign language. The wine was now in full flow too as we set about finishing off a beautiful malbec from the Valle de Uco. I will blog about the wine soon (and the food) but I want to have more experience of it before I do :o)
The meat arrived in courses. Pork was followed by Argentine chorizo before the co
stillas and then some colon. Yes. Bowels. Not my favourite. The initial taste is good as it’s barbecued and well seasoned. However, it never seems to be ready to be swallowed. I chased it around my mouth getting some serious mileage out of it before it started to have that worryingly-tasteless sensation of someone else’s discarded chewing gum. The unfortunate thing is is that it seems to be everyone’s favourite part of the asado. And with every great Argentine host (I’ve never met a bad one) they are so intent on ensuring that the guest gets the best of everything. I guess I’m just a boy who can’t say no.
One thing that does haul the taste buds back to life is provoleta. Argentina’s cocktail of European influence invades the dinner table in various forms. Whether it be the insane number of ice-cream vendors in Mendoza, their own take on pizza, milanases or their fondness for Fernet almost every staple Mendocinan food is touched with Italian influence. So provoleta is essentially barbecued
provolone, topped with herbs. It’s amazing. It’s cheese; on a barbecue.
By now we were on the 3rd bottle of wine and ice-cream slipped unbeknownst under my chin. It was good ice-cream too, although to be honest at 35°C they could’ve stuck a frozen cow bowel in front of me and I would have spent the rest of the afternoon trying to lick out what I thought was a Cadbury’s Flake. But, no this ice cream was good. And then we poured some variant of Irish cream liquor over it and it made it even better. Not to draw an end to the proceedings there, some more ice-cream was served. This time Johnny Walker Black Label was tossed in like a sacrificial offering to some great volcano god. And God was the sacrifice worth making.
And then more cocktails.
In spite of the result; an amazing day. We thank Los Ivanos for this experience.