Grand Taste of ARGENTINA

Bringing forth a gastronomic culture that re-interprets the meaning of eating large are Chef Pancho Suarez and his wife, Katrina Huntley with the taste of Northern Argentina in our hometown.

Bringing forth a gastronomic culture that re-interprets the meaning of eating large are Chef Pancho Suarez and his wife, Katrina Huntley with the taste of Northern Argentina in our hometown.

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PART OF discovering the heart of a culture is through their food; with that being said, Chef Pancho Suarez and Kate presented us with the opportunity to do exactly just that with an authentic Northern Argentine feast.

“Argentinians love to fill their plate. We would rather people complain because there is too much food than because there is too little, so our portions are always big!” vows the couple who started Taste Of Argentina, specialising in Asado or family-style Argentine BBQ catering and delivery service for other traditional dishes.

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Boy, are we ready for a feast! First, we had a regionally admired snack made of baked shortcrust pastry called Empanadas. Although each region has their own type of fillings, the most popular one is from Chef Pancho’s hometown – Salta, which is usually stuffed with meat and vegetables or a combination of cheese and onion. This sizeable dish can be found in almost every Argentine gathering and it is also often had on its own as a wholesome meal.

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Next, the regular star feature of an Asado barbeque feast is a combination of premium meat in all shapes, forms and sizes including Argentine chorizo sausages (chorizo criollo), beef ribs (also known as asado), flank steak (vacio) and whole lamb (cordero), which is cooked distinctly in a customized Argentine BBQ pit, whereby the coals are prepared in advanced to slow-cook the meat without intense heat and smoke, keeping the flavors intact and the meat oh-so moist and tender. Needless to say, our stomachs instantly growled at the sight and whiff of assorted barbequed meat laid out for us.

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Accompanying the meals were traditional sauces like Provençal made with olive oil, garlic and parsley, Salsa Jawa with tomatoes and chillies, and typical Northern Argentine Chimichurri, which can be used either as a dipping, marinating or basting sauce. Keeping us refreshed was a light and cool concoction called Clerico made of finely chopped fresh fruit in white wine,

Northern Argentine’s cooking concept is still heavily influenced by countrymen (Gauchos) and indigenous tribes (Matacos) of the region, who were devoted to simple, rustic and family-style outdoors chargrill. “Food from the North doesn’t use much condiments. They are made with very basic ingredients and use cooking methods from centuries ago,” says Chef Pancho, who was born to Spanish parents who  moved to Argentina.

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Soon, hungry Jakartans will also be able to experience a range of novelty Argentine cuisine and a glimpse of the culture in the couple’s upcoming restaurant, La Posta – Taste Of Argentina.

“Traditionally, La Posta refers to a place like a half-way house where the Gauchos would stopover after a long journey to eat plenty great food, drink, rest and mingle with friends. We want La Posta to be the same for ‘modern-day Gauchos’ of Jakarta,” says Kat.

She says to expect big servings and leaving the restaurant absolutely stuffed, just like how the Argentinian’s love it. Even their restaurant’s hashtag says it all: #NoneOfThatBigPlateSmallPortionBusiness

“Our prior catering business has allowed us to understand the local palates and remain authentic. As long as we have a spicy sauce, our Indonesian clients are more than happy, and many of them are really keen to experiment different things,” says Chef Pancho.

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“But one of our challenges was finding ingredients we were used to, for example big-sized chickens! We used to have chickens that weigh around 4 kilos each in Argentina! Also, traditionally, our food is served chunky and in an all-you-can-eat style, so we had to learn to serve it in a more refined manner.”

Chef Pancho recalls his grandmother being one of the biggest influences to spark his passion for big Argentine cooking. “When I was little my grandmother used to always prepare extra-large meals, especially for stew. If there were seven of us, she would always make seven and a half portions so we could have an extra-large serving.”

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Also, as a young lad, Chef Pancho worked with his father in their successful restaurant in Salta that was famous for being the first American style diner serving traditional North Argentinian food, accommodating about 400 seatings and had a large function room.

He continued his passion by training alongside celebrity Chef Gato Dumas, catering for Pope John Paul II during his visit to Salta and worked in a restaurant in Valencia, where he met his English wife, Kat. Soon after, the jolly couple opened two restaurants in Valencia before recently deciding to move to Jakarta, where Kat’s father resides.

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For Chef Pancho, living large does not only involve food, but also enjoying every aspect of life including Argentine folk music, being a hopeless romantic, laughter and drinking Argentine liquor (Fernet y Coca), things you might soon witness in La Posta.

Thanks to the couple, our palates experienced a new culinary world, while our tummies rejoiced from eating large!

TASTE OF ARGENTINA
T: +62 812 8587 2935
Instagram: @toargentinajkt
Facebook: tasteofargentinajkt
Twitter: @TOArgentinaJkt
www.tasteofargentinajkt.com


Written by Divya Pridhnani Photographs by Dennie Ramon November 7, 2016.

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