Argentina and Wines

Daniele with Morrongiellos
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With the Morrongiello's
 I spent the  month of March traveling in South America visiting my numerous Italian Argentinean relatives in Buenos Aires Argentina. The weather was  warm.  Spring-like. I spent time a La Costa.  At the beach resort town of La Lucila del Mar.  I visited with my cousins key neighborhoods of Baires: San Telmo; La Boca, Caminito birthplace of Tango and Congreso and  la Casa Rosada. I also went to fashionable barrios like Barracas, Palermo and Tony Puerto Madero.
The currency Peso is very weak and inflation rate is rampant. The pizza and bread is NOT like New Jersey Shore. There are some  fine restaurants in Baires. The food is good. Asado. Grilled veal, chicken and pork.also known as  Parrilla.
Plenty of Soccer games both on local T.V. And in local stadiums. They also have Rugby, equestrian, tennis and basketball and Gulf Clubs.
Tip: American citizens must pay a Visitors Visa online  before going to Airport. Bring printout with you in order to board plane that will take you to Buenos Aires,  Argentina .
I was pleasantly surprised as to how much the Italian immigrants have influenced Argentinean Cuisine!
There are two ‘Sacred Cows’ in Argentinean Cuisine :
Asado or Parrilla.  ( Barbecue : Beef, pork or Chicken ) and
Mate tea at any time but most likely  between meals and afternoon relaxing time!
These are the Recipes, my relatives proudly prepared for this page of
(1)- La Torre Vegetariana (Vegetarian Tower), by Marta.
1- One large eggplant
2- One medium sized Butternut squash
3- two zucchini
4- two ripe tomatoes and
5- 250 gram mozzarella
6- Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and cut zucchini,  eggplant and  squash and tomatoes in coin rounded pieces. Place them in a baking metal tray and place in oven for 20 minutes at 180 C temperature, until brown.
Next remove tray from the oven and place  one piece each of squash into baking small bowls (clay), + add slice of squash and a piece of mozzarella.
Repeat: Add one of each for 4 separate bowls . If desired repeat process until you use up all the vegetables.
Place the bowls in rectangular baking tray and bake for just 5 min.
Remove tray from oven and  serve.
It serves  4 people.
My suggestion is to pair this with a nice Malbec wine from Mendoza .
(C)*- Daniele Matteo, Food Editor.
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Shishkebob platter in Argentina
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Hugo Marsico with home made macaroni.
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Growing peppers at home in Argentina
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Daniel Morrongiello with home made pasta
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Silvia Morrongiello making pizza
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Ana Maria Arcidiacono
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Chef Matias Morrongiello
 ★★★★★                                                              ★★★★★
Daniel and Anna Maria Morrongiello
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 Antonio and Peppina Morrongiello
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 Anna and Osvaldo Maldacena
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Torta di Anna Tartar.
1- 450 gram of pasta.
2- 350 gram of Mozzarella.
3- two eggs.
4- 350 gram of Prosciutto.
5- Two tomatoes.
Take a round baking dish and line surface with olive oil.
2- Add pasta  to dish and spread evenly.
3- Break up eggs. Toss and add to baking dish on top of pasta dough.
4- Add prosciutto, Mozzarella cheese.
5- Meanwhile boil one egg. Cut in little pieces and add to baking dish.
6- Place baking dish inside convection oven at 180-C. for 30 minutes.
7- Remove from oven and slice in small pieces. Serves 4 people.
It pairs well with a Passito Dessert wine from Pantelleria. Italy.
Recipes of Ana Morrongiello.
(C)*- Daniele Matteo Food Editor.
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Pasta Casera con Carne. (Spaghetti Bolognese )
1- One Kilo of flour
2- three eggs
3- 1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil
4- One Cup of water
1- Mix (Amalgamare),  flour and beat eggs in bowl add a little water, olive oil and  work vigorously the flour on
marble top and flatten with pasta roller.
2- Place in Pasta Machine and cut spaghetti or tagliatelle.
3- Bring a large pot of water  ( three  quarts ), to a rapid boil .
4- Add pasta. Stir and cook for 6 min.
5- Drain pasta and place in a skillet.  Retain some pasta water for preparing sauce.
6- Take a  small skillet and add olive oil, garlic, 450 gr.  Of ground beef + some  tomato sauce and half Cup of pasta water.
7- Cook for 20 min.  Toss  in large Spasa ( Spaghetti Ceramic Bowl ); and serve.
It serves  6 people.
It pairs well with any Italian wines.
BuonAppetito! Recipe by  Daniel Morrongiello.
(C)*- -2916. Daniele Matteo Food Editor.
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Pollo Milanesa. (Chicken cutlets)
1- 2 Kilograms of Chicken cutlets.
2- Some are already prepared by butcher.  Just bring home and cook.
3- 450 gr. Of bread crumbs.
4- two eggs.
5- Spices : oregano, black pepper and garlic powder.
6- One Cup  Extra virgin olive oil.
In a bowl beat two eggs and place bread crumbs in a separate dish.
Take each piece of Chicken and dip in bread and bread crumbs.
In a large skillet add olive oil for deep frying.  Place several pieces of meat in frying pan.
Deep fry for 3 minutes 0n each side, until brown.
Remove each piece of Chicken and place on dish with paper towels, to drain excessive oil.
Wait 15 minutes before serving. Splash of lemon and serve.
For 4 people!
Pairs well with a Pinot Grigio from Friuli.
Recipe by Daniel Morrongiello.
 (C)- Daniele Matteo Editor at
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It is customary in Argentinean households to consume enormous amount of Pizza on Friday night dinner with local beer or wines from Mendoza.

Friday Night. Pizza and More Pizza!


1 Cup of water

1/2 Cup of Extra virgin olive oil

250-gr.  Fresh Mozzarella

150gr. Rockford cheese.(Blue Cheese).

2 white onions

150gr.  Prosciutto

450 gr. Tomato sauce


1- On a clean surface (Like marble top or wood); Mix flour, water, olive oil  olive oil,  water and work dough vigorously with your hands.

2- Roll up dough the size of your fist (about 200 gr. each. Make 5 pizza.

3- Take a large round metal baking tray.

Spread some non-stick oil on bottom of tray and work in raw dough for

Pizza # 1. Add and spread tomato sauce on dough + add mozzarella cheese and bake in oven for 15 minutes @ 180C temp. Take out when done, and serve.

Meanwhile repeat step # 1. While guests consume pizza # 1.

4- Pizza # 2. – Spread some tomato sauce on pizza N. 2.  Place in oven. Cook the same way as pizza # 1. Remove from oven and top with raw prosciutto, and serve!

5- Pizza # 3 – Add tomato sauce to pizza dough in baking tray and also add 1/2 Mozzarella and 1/2 Rockford cheese.  (Blue Cheese); Bake until cooked, and serve.

6- Pizza # 4. Repeat same process.  Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on pizza dough. Slice a white onion in thin pieces. Simmer in olive oil on stove top and add to as pizza topping. Bake and serve.

7- For Pizza # 5. You can add Mortadella.  Bake and serve with local Quilmes or Brahma Beer or wine from Mendoza.

I could not eat more than two small pieces of Pizza.  I prefer variety, with a little aged cheese and a tomato salad with onions.  Paired with Malbec wine.

I want to thank my cousins Anna and Dr.Silvia Morrongiello and their husbands Osvaldo and Hugo Marsico for their great pizzas!


(C)*- 2016 Daniele Matteo Food Editor.


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The Wines of Argentina

When they hear about Argentina, many people think of Maradona, Evita and Juan Peron. They think of la Bombonera. Where Boca Junior plays on Sundays.  They think of el Monumental, where River Plate plays it’s games. They think also of Teams like Banfield, Lanus, San Lorenzo, Quilmes, Racing,  Newells. They think of las Pampas, the Gauchos. the Argentinean cowboys and of course of Asado,  Parrilla and Mate Criollo. I especially like Tango, made popular by Carlos Gardeland Piazzolla. In Caminito. Un Barrio di Buenos Aires: Boca. Birthplace of Maradona.

At such times, I actually think of Malbec wine from Mendoza, the city/provincia at the foothills of the tallest mountains in South America: The Andes.

I spent this past month of March, 2016 visiting my numerous Italian relatives in Buenos Aires.  I was able to experience the enogastronomia Argentina Albiceleste in its many components.

I noticed a great influence of Italy on contemporary Argentinian Cuisine.  After all, half the people I met on my daily bus rides to la Capital Districto Federal, claimed to have a grandmother (Abuela), who came from Italy long time ago!

Malbec is not indigenous to South America.  Like many things there today, they were introduced by colonial Spanish settlers about 150 years ago.  Before that the Spanish Conquistadors brought Jesuits Missionaries to convert the aborigines to Christianity and during the mass they needed red wine for Communion.  So they planted Spanish Tempranillo grapes in the garden of the church.

Later, the Argentinian colonial residents travelled to France in search of a suitable grape to plant and harvest in the New World. A well-known winemaker suggested Malbec. This grape was only cultivated in a small area of France and used as blend with more successful grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and the successful wines of Bordeaux.

In Argentina Malbec thrived in the hot sunshine and breeze at an altitude of 1,200. Meters above sea level and benefited from the cold dry night air of the mountains. This plus the fact that there is a continuous supply of cold glacier water from the Andes also accentuated it.

Back to my journey to Buenos Aires.

I spent time with my uncle Antonio and my cousins Alberto and Daniel and their families.  One Sunday we all drove to Provincia in Ezeiza near the Airport and had an asado – (Barbecue ), to celebrate my uncle’s 61st wedding Anniversary with my aunt Peppina and my nephew Matias 22nd Cumple (Birthday party).

I had great time and took lots of pictures.  We had a one-man orchestra live entertainment.

The following Sunday we were back at la Quinta Ranch to celebrate my niece Noelia’s Cumple (Birthday party). Congrats Noelia on your up-and-coming new baby girl Vittoria!

Now the wines.  In Argentina Albiceleste beautiful you drink only Malbec wine and some imported Sparkling wine.

We drank wines from the various wineries or Bodegas also known as Finca. Nieto Sentinier,  Rutini, Norton. They also make a medium-bodied ‘Tempranillo Luigi Bosca’. Incidentally there is also a Bosca in Northern Italy whhich makes a nice, inexpensive Spumante Fin del Mundo located in Patagonia!

Terrazzas. Agua de Piedra. Emilia made by Bodega who makes another fine Malbec.  Sorry, I don’t remember the name . Please Google it. Finca Fichman Domain Bousquet. And some other inexpensive everyday wines.

This month Wine Spectator, May 31, 2016. Came out with a listing of some new wines from Mendoza.  I called  the authors at their Headquarters in New York City and asked him what he thinks about Malbec Wines.  He quoted : ” Malbec stands on its own.”- says Kim Marcus of ‘Wine Spectator’.

I think Malbec is more complex than say Tempranillo but less accredited than say Cabernet Sauvignon.  More like a Syrah or maybe it’s got a little bit of everything. Argentina Albiceleste beautiful also produces Bonarda, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah which are used as blends to enhance the properties of Malbec wines.

Some imported Argentinian wines I found at National Liquidators in Lodi, New Jersey, are all quite inexpensive.  All less than $15.00. They are medium-bodied drinkable everyday wines.  So if you are new to the world of wines this is a good inexpensive way to acquire the taste.  I am aware that in some non-Christian Countries of the World, people don’t drink alcohol.

Let’s review some of the latest Malbec Wines from Mendoza available in North America.

Finca Patagonicas. Malbec Mendoza Zolo Reserve 2013. A full-Bodied red with dried green herbs and dark currant notes. With BlackBerry flavors.  It has hints of minerals to the palate.

Bodega Norton- privada Mendoza 2013.This fruity wine is similar to Syrah?  It has dark plum flavors + dried berries and dark currant.  + peppery and  nice round finish.

Ernesto Catena – Malbec Mendoza Padrillos 2015. Very pleasant with notes of dried berries and red plum flavors.  Its got some minerals and a spicy finish.

Valentin Bianchi – Malbec Mendoza Sensual 2015 – A medium bodied red with notes of dried fruits and red currant flavor.  The finish is delectable and crisp!

Andean Vineyards. – Malbec Mendoza 2014. Opi by winemaker Rodolfo Sadler.

The grapes of this expressive Malbec were hand-picked from the vineyard in Maipu’. It has an intense deep ruby red color. The nose and the palate contain scent of blackberries and plum with a finish of vanilla. It is easy to drink. It pairs well with red meats, salami, fideo, chorizo and aged cheese!

Bodega Colome’- Malbec Salta Autentico 2014. This superb wine got 90 Points from W.S. – it is luscious.  Balanced.  With blackberry and plum scent. A smooth and delicious after-taste!

Kaiken- Malbec Mendoza Reserva 2013: A full-bodied wine with hints of dark chocolate and roasted dark currants. Long to the finish.

Casarena – Malbec Lujan de Cuyo 2014. An excellent balanced wine. With hints of ripe black cherry and red plum.  The lingering aftertaste is pleasant.

Bodega Colome’ – Malbec Salta 2013: An excellent well-made wine. It bursts with flavors of raspberry and blackberries and plums. The long chocolatey finish is inebriating!

Proemio Winemakers Selection 2013. GRAN RESERVE Mendoza 2013. A fresh jamy blend with floral notes.  Intense currant aromas and plum.

This is a perfect example how Malbec versatility goes well with other grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah!!! Salute! Cheers!

Oh I almost forgot: Bodega Septima – GRAN RESERVE Mendoza 2013.  My aunt Rose in Brooklyn picked this as her favorite when she visited her relatives in Buenos Aires a couple years ago. It’s a plush mineraly wine. Flavor of spices,  raspberries, black cherry and a hint of red fruits.  It has aromas of ginger which makes it a little tangy. It goes well with spicy Chinese food.

Thank You for your interest!  More to come about this extraordinary success story of the wines of Mendoza, Argentina!

(C)- 2016- Daniele Matteo Wine Editor.