Aren't these emapnadas just mouth-watering? They came from a pizzeria in Buenos Aires on our last trip there, and we ate them in one sitting, while admiring the 'repulgue' code indicating what different fillings awaited us inside. Pretty clever if you ask me. No mysteries, just different seals, along with a small flyer of hand-drawn models to classify each empanada.
Last month, The Oregonian ran a great article by Susan G. Hauser about her empanada obsession. In it, she describes how her love for the stuffed pastry pocket began on a trip to Argentina and returned with her to Portland, where she sought out the best empanada joints in the Northwest and had a lovely chat with Laura Catena. Pretty interesting stuff!
The article includes recipes for several types of empanadas (including my Humita--corn and roasted red pepper empanada), plus information on dough (store-bought or homemade) and even a link to the original 'replugue' video by yours truly. Nice!
The article is a great introduction to one of Argentina's national foods. If you happen to be in Denver, you can check my schedule page and book a private empanada-making workshop with me or attend one of my classes at the Seasoned Chef (Empanada Workshop is next Tuesday, Oct. 16th!) or at Colorado Free University.
On our recent trip to Argentina, we took a day trip to the Andes with friends--headed to Potrerillos, a little town in the foothills of the Andes populated mostly by the weekend and summer homes of Mendocinos, businesses who attract tourists (horseback riding and rafting) and home to one stellar family-owned brewery called Jerome. (Above, the road to Potrerillos and the Andes mountain range.)
Cervezeria Jerome has a wonderful story, which I wrote about for DRAFT magazine in 2009. The brewery was started by Eduardo Maccari Sr. (read the whole history in the link), who learned to brew Belgian-style beer while abroad in Europe, and returned to Argentina to begin brewing his own beer. He was the leader of the Mendoza Slow Food movement, and he stayed true to his belief in quality food and drink, made from scratch with locally sourced ingredients in both the brewery and its companion brew pub. Everything is made from scratch on the premises, according to the season, and is meant to pair with one of their five beers. (Below, the specials from the menu on the perfect crisp yet sunny fall day we visited Jerome.)
Eduardo Sr.died in February, but not before passing the reins to his son, Eduardo Jr., who, as a master craft brewer, carries on in his footsteps. The whole family takes part in running the restaurant part of the business, which has about five or six tables, all packed on the day we visited. They also have a couple of rustic guest houses (which as Eduardo jokes, are for guests who sample a few too many of Jerome's award-winning beers), and they've recently expanded the patio as a beer garden overlooking an Andean canyon.
As your reward for making the drive from Mendoza, you'll be welcomed with a cold, sudsy glass of Jerome's beer...which also happened to take the top honor in the Special Beers category in May at the South Beer Cup in Buenos Aires.
You can also enjoy a filling and hearty plate of homemade sausage and sauerkraut (accompanied by the best homemade mustard I've ever tasted--made with Jerome's Rubio beer, it nails the sweet/spicy/beery blend of great mustard perfectly. Where to find it? Eduardo's mamá makes it in house. I've asked for the recipe, but I think it's top-secret.) There are lots of other delicious homemade meals to choose from, including an incredible 7-layer german chocolate cake made with dulce de leche. (I had that, too, but I shared!)
The Maccaris have become friends, and I was so glad to make the trip back to Jerome this year to visit Eduardo Jr. and see the changes at the brewery. (Below, left to right, Eduardo, Bruce and Linda Warner, my husband Guillermo, and our son Esteban) They plan on expanding--opening a bistro pub in Mendoza later this year! But a visit to the brewery itself is also well worth the drive. It makes a nice break from the wine circuit, and a respite to breathe some fresh mountain air. Hours and contact info are available on their website, www.cervezajerome.com, and they also have a facebook page: Cerveza Jerome. The beer is available in some locations outside of Argentina, email them for those locations!
I hope you pay them a visit on your next trip to Mendoza--between the beer, the food, the place and the company, it adds up to just about the perfect day.
Altos Manantiales, El Salto, Petrerillos, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (mailing address)
Earlier this month, Monica Zlotogorski featured me in an article in the Spanish-language newspaper, De Norte A Sur. Here it is! Thank you, Monica for featuring me in the article--mil gracias, I am so flattered! If you'd like to read the article, you can download here Download Denorteasurarticle in PDF.
Last week I had the chance to pose a few questions to Argentinean director Fabián Hofman, who's poignant film, Te Extraño, will screen at the 2010 Starz Denver Film Festival. The film follows two brothers, adolescent Javier and his older, politically involved brother, Adrian. Based on Hofman's real life story during Argentina's military dictatorship of the 1970s, the plot takes a turn when Adrian, like 30,000 others during the 'Dirty War', disappears.
A special thanks to Sr. Hofman for agreeing to this interview. (Follows in Spanish)