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sao paolo-dona onça-preparing glass for red wine copy

Our charming and good looking maître d’ swirling the wine in the glass to get rid of any lingering smell from the wash.

The buffet at Bodega Catena Zapata was huge but there was only one dish I was really interested in and that was the pork shank stew served with creamed corn. It was so good that I asked lovely Karina which chef was responsible for it — we were at the Park Hyatt Masters of Food & Wine in Mendoza to which Karina had invited me — and she immediately introduced me to Janaina Rueda, a delightful young Brazilian chef who has a bar/restaurant in Sao Paulo where I went recently with the inimitable Luiz Horta. Janaina’s food is simple hearty Brazilian home cooking but presented elegantly and our delicious degustation menu started with scrumptious pastels and a very pretty 3 lemon caipirinha, both great Brazilian classics.

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mendoza-guessing wines at catena zapata copy

Last week I did something quite mad and flew all the way to Argentina to spend 3 days in Mendoza for the Park Hyatt Masters of Food & Wine. I had missed it the previous year and didn’t want to this time round despite the long journey for such a short stay. I am happy I went. And if you haven’t been, you should go. Mendoza is beautiful. The wines and food are great and the people totally charming, and beautiful.

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