Calling all foodies! Estancia Ranquilco is excited to offer a 10 day course in Argentine cooking, focusing on traditional Patagonian foods. Not just any culinary vacation, it is a journey into the world’s last frontier, Patagonia, the land of the gauchos. Join us for an all inclusive fun filled culinary tour of Argentina in the Andean cordillera (mountains).
This trip includes cultural excursions, cooking demonstrations, tastings, hands on instruction, and best of all, great food and fine wine. We will also address areas of modern homesteading of interest to chefs, including milking, chicken raising, bread making, cheese and yogurt making, organic gardening (including composting and seed saving), butchering and food storage.
The ten day trip features nine nights in luxury accommodations at our working horse and cattle ranch in northern Patagonia and fun extras such as horse riding and fly fishing.
The April 2011 course features an optional Buenos Aires component. Spend an extra 3 days with me exploring the food, wine and culture in this amazing city.
DATES AND PRICES
February 24th – March 5th, 2011, $2500 USD per person.
April 6th – April 15th, 2011, $2500 USD per person, double occupancy (single supplement $250).
- Nine nights accommodations in double occupancy
- Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner including local wine and beer
- Truck transfer to and from Zapala and in and out of the estancia by horse
- Hands-on cooking lessons and cooking demonstrations
- Horse riding and fly fishing excursions on the Estancia
Optional Buenos Aires Component:
April 2nd – April 5th, 2011, $1000 USD per person, double occupancy (single supplement $150).
Buenos Aires, known for its culture, architecture and addiction to tango is also home to a vibrant foodie community. It is a wonderful place to begin your exploration of Argentine cuisine and wines. Let me be your host in this magnificent city. In between city tours and tango lessons, we will dine at excellent restaurants, meet local chefs, gather for cooking demonstrations, shop and cook together from a local market and sample excellent Argentine wines. Check back after mid-January for a detailed itinerary for this optional add on to my Patagonian cooking class at Estancia Ranquilco.
- Three nights accommodations in double occupancy
- Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner including local wine and beer
- Restaurant and food market tours
- Cooking demonstrations and hands on lessons
- Evening tango show with dinner
- Evening wine tasting with food pairings
- Bus transfer to and from Zapala
Contact Ashley Carrithers at email@example.com and copy Georgina Tegart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please see www.havepatagoniawilltravel.com, Georgie’s personal website for more information about her and her food and culinary philosophy.
Day One. Arrive in the small city of Zapala in Neuquen Province to meet the other class participants. Travel by truck to Buta Mallin a large grazing meadow and gaucho camp on Estancia Ranquilco. There we will lunch with several of our gauchos, eating an asado (grilled meat) served with fresh bread. Following the meal, we will have our first matè session. The infusion called maté is prepared by steeping dry leaves and twigs of the yerba plant in hot water. Drinking maté with friends from a shared hollow gourd with a metal straw (a bombilla) is a common social practice in Argentina and one which you will enjoy throughout your trip.
Watch as your luggage is loaded onto our sturdy pack mules. You will then be introduced to your horse and tack and we will take the 3 hour ride to the lodge at Ranquilco. Settle into your cottage and take some time to rest and shower before joining us on the terrace for the sunset. Dinner will be a simple kitchen meal of guiso (stew) combining traditional ingredients with squash and butter beans. Served with crusty bread and a good Argentine red wine, it will be a perfect ending to your first day at Estancia Ranquilco.
Breakfast on fresh fruit, our homemade granola and yogurt. After breakfast, Georgie will demonstrate yogurt preparation using our own fresh milk. In the morning, unpack, take a walking tour of the grounds, and hold a peaceful maté session.
Lunch will feature fresh greens from our organic garden and a courgette tart using a Carrithers family recipe. After siesta, Georgie will teach traditional bread making (pan casero). Learn the science behind bread baking and useful tips for the home baker. The lesson will take about two hours and we will bake our loaves in our wood fired outdoor adobe oven.
Laze around the lodge for a few hours and then return to the kitchen just before dinner to watch a cheesemaking demonstration. Relax on the terrace with fresh bread, herbed cheese, olives and wine. Dinner in the dining room of Casa Grande will be Lasagna Blanca con pollo y aselga (White Lasagna with chicken and chard) served with wine from Neuquen province. The lasagna will be homemade, a skill you will learn later!
Get up early to visit the morning milking session and learn about keeping a cow and using fresh milk, including a discussion of pasteurization vs raw milk and all the milk by-products available to the home chef. After breakfast, head to the garden for an overview of Estancia Ranquilco’s organic garden methods, including bed making, compost preparation, seed starting and seed saving, organic fertilization methods, season extensions such as coldframes and greenhouses, and garden planning. Sit down to a lunch from vegetables you harvest that morning! Georgie will demonstrate how to spontaneously make use of the garden’s bounty.
After siesta, we will talk about the origins and use of dulce du leche (milk jam) in Argentine cooking. Sample homemade dulce du leche with milk from our own cow. Then we will make the classic Argentine sweet, scrumptious alfajores – two butter cookies with rich dulce de leche sandwiched in between.
An optional 2 hour horse ride will be offered in the late afternoon.
In the early evening, relax on the terrace with a wine tasting. Learn about Argentine wines and sample varieties from several provinces, including a local bodega. Dinner will be estancia raised beef on the grill, yogurt & mint baby potatoes and garden greens.
After breakfast, we will gather in the kitchen to prepare perfect river side picnic fare – an an Argentine delight – empanadas. After rolling out the dough, we will prepare 3 different filling representing three different provinces in Argentina. After they are baked, we invite you to experience superb fly-fishing in one of the best trout rivers on Earth – the Rio Trocoman – just below the lodge. Walk, fish, swim and picnic by the river for a relaxing day.
For dinner, Georgie will prepare poached trout in butter, milk and white wine with capers for dinner. Enjoy pre-dinner drinks on the terrace with a traditional Patagonian tablas spread – venison, smoked boar, cheese, olives and marinated white beans.
After breakfast, we will pretend it is the 29th of the month – sadly February only has 28 days – and celebrate Argentina’s national Ñoquis (Gnocchi) Day. On the 29th day of each and every month it is a tradition in Argentina to get together and eat ñoquis. Some say the tradition is in honor of Saint Pantaleon, the patron saint of Venice, whose feast day is on the 29th. The saint is said to have eaten a simple meal with farmers on one of his pilgrimages. The farmers had a record crop the next year and the miracle was credited to the saint.
We will prepare traditional ñoquis dough together and while you roll individual ñoquis over the backside of a fork, Georgie will make a simple salsa de tomates (red sauce) as an accompaniment. When you sit down to our at Feliz ñoquis del 29! Celebration at lunch, place a small amount of money under your plate for good luck as per tradition.
The afternoon is free for activities or relaxing.
Dinner will include estancia raised lamb and an Argentine favorite, creamed chard.
Day Six. After breakfast, we will talk about ways to extend the harvest. Preserving, including canning, salting, drying, and freezing are all an essential part of sustainable living. Georgie will take you through some simple recipes (such as kale chips) that represent a range of delicious preserving options and show you how she smokes and preserves trout from our river.
Lunch is Georgie’s famous Rocket Pizza, homemade pizza with arugula. Then saddle up and ride with the gauchos to the Confluencia (the meeting of the Rio Trocoman and Rio Picunleo) to learn some traditional gaucho camp cooking. First swim, siesta and relax by the river. Then we will make tortas fritas (fry cakes). Gauchos make tortas fritas out in the cordillera (mountains) as a substitute for bread because no oven is required. As evening falls, watch as the gaucho prepares an asado of baby goat. Gather around the fire with wine as they stoke the coals and the meat sizzles. The goat will be served on slices of fresh bread – no plates! Ride back to the lodge at night under the stars – or sleep out on your saddle blankets and return in the morning.
The morning is free for rides and river time. For lunch, enjoy Georgie’s spicy squash cakes and a gaucho favorite, lentil and onion salad.
After siesta, we will unmold the cheese we began earlier and prepare a simple ravioli filling of cheese and spinach. Then we will prepare pasta dough from scratch. After rolling out and filling the pasta, we will learn a simple sauce – a cream, walnut, and butter sauce with pine mushrooms from the area (hongos de pino).
Relax before dinner on the terrace.
Day Eight. After breakfast and your maté circle, those who want to will walk up to visit the gaucho who keeps our goat herd and watch a traditional goat slaughter. Learn how we use as much of the animal as possible, including the hide. Return to Ranquilco and watch a gaucho carefully slice the fresh goat leg into the thin fillets we will use for traditional milanesas. Return to the kitchen with Georgie and pound the meat slices and marinate them in oil, egg, garlic and parsley.
Lunch on a traditional dish inherited from the Spanish, tortilla de papas (not to be confused with the Mexican flatbread, this is an egg omelet with fried potatoes, onion and garlic). The afternoon is spent at your leisure. At 6pm join Georgie in the kitchen to finish up the milanesas by breading them. Then relax on the terrace before our dinner of milanesas con pure (milanesa with mashed potatoes).
Day Nine. At breakfast we will talk about the origins and use of rosa mosqueta (rose hips) in Argentina. We are fortunate that the plant grows wild in our area and you can sample our homemade rosa mosqueta preserves. After breakfast, Georgie will take you through some fun techniques for plating your food to showcase your new recipes and skills in the kitchen.
For lunch enjoy a traditional corn pie with fresh greens.
The afternoon is free for rides and river time. In the evening, as a fitting ending to your stay on the Estancia, we will celebrate with a huge asado. One of our gouchos will prepare cordero a la cruz (lamb on the cross). After packing, sit around the fire pit to watch him work. After our meal, the guitars will come out and the traditional folk dancing can begin.
Day Ten. After breakfast, watch as your luggage is loaded up onto a mule and then ride out to Buta Mallin. There, try traditional ñaco, wheat berries mixed with beer to keep you going until we arrive by truck in the small town of El Huecu. We will rest at a chakra (small land holding) for lunch and eat chorizo’s off the grill before continuing on to the city of Zapala. There, we will say goodbye. You can either take the overnight bus back to Buenos Aires, or better yet, continue your culinary journey through Patagonia by going on to San Martin de los Andes.