Cook Without Fear

South America Tour 2012 - Day 8
Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Cooking with Gaston

After a week of eating great food, today we got a chance to help make South American recipes. Hugo from Malbec Symphony, a tour company in Mendoza, picked us up for the trip out to Familia Zuccardi. We were greeted by Natalia and given coffee to drink under the grape arbor. Gaston, our chef and instructor for the day met us at a table under the trees.

Our bread dough

While we were drinking Santa Julia Sauvignon Blanc and Rose, Gaston taught us to make bread with fresh yeast. All of us but Karla made baguettes: she made a country loaf. We moved to Malbec and empanadas. We cut circles in the dough and made beef, onion, and cheese empanadas. When we were tentative about our dough or the fillings Gaston told us to cook with out fear. "Cook with love," he said. With the leftover dough we made pastelitos de membrillo, fried turnovers with quince paste.

A pastelito we made

We had a great time with Gaston. He showed us the clay ovens and barbecue pit fueled by pruned grape vines and promised us a great lunch. We couldm't stay around right then--we had a winery tour to get to. Frederico and Gaby were our tour guides--they were great. The Zuccardi winery has three levels of production--Santa Julia, Zuccardi, and Q. The Santa Julia wines are produced quickly and intended for rapid consumption. Zuccardi vintages are premium wines and Q wines are the top.

Kitty with empanadas

We went back over to the restaurant for a long, leisurely lunch. They served us salads, grilled vegetables, and rounds of meats--tenderloin, baby goat, pork, sausages, and ribs--all with wonderful wines. Dessert was ice cream and cake with fruit. Full and happy, we returned to the winery for a premium tasting. Everything was really good and we especially loved the Emma, a wine named after the winemaker's grandmother.


Mark and Gaston

What a day! We didn't get back to the hotel until almost seven. After canceling the dinner reservations we realized would not be necessary, we bought crackers and parma ham and pulled out some of the wines we've loved along the way. The hotel put tables on the sidewalk out front and we gathered there with our goodies to enjoy the lovely summer evening. Another day in wine paradise!

Sarah and Kitty at Zuccardi




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