Saturday, April 19, 2014

One Night In Argentina--CAMBALACHE--Visits Brooklyn on Malbec World Day by Philip S. Kampe and Maria Reveley

CAMBALACHE is a word that is used to describe something that is totally chaotic, haphazard, something that is filled with contrast and is above all exciting. In this case, the word CAMBALACHE represents the heart and soul of Argentina.
Argentina is a large country with many wide open spaces. Argentina is more than Buenos Aires, wine and grass-fed beef. Argentina is also wide open plains where the Gauchos rule the way their fathers ruled before them.
Tradition is what Argentina is all about.
At Malbec World Day we met a few gauchos who shared their life experience with us, as well as sharing Argentina's national hot drink, mate, made with hot water and dried yerba leaves. The people of Argentina drink yerba all day long, often carrying thermos bottles of hot water to pour on top of dried yerba leaves. Mate is a national epidemic.

MALBEC WORLD DAY takes place in April each year and is celebrated world wide, especially where Malbec wine is sold.
The event brings ARGENTINA to you.
In my case Argentina came to Brooklyn and transformed an event space into multiple Argentine experiences.
Street food of empanadas, meat and vegetable filled were sampled, as well as individual BBQ sandwiches of either chorizo or tenderloin steak with chimichurri sauce.
The food was made by the staff of SUR (Lexington Avenue near 55th street), an Argentine food shop in Manhattan.

                                 Street art-a masterpiece painted in under an hour.
The street art of Argentina was painted before my eyes by three Argentine 'cult' grafitti street arttists: Cebaio Stencil, Roma and Tec. Within an hour a blank canvas was transformed into this masterpiece.

                                       Fifteen minutes into street art painting.

Argentina is also known for Tango and the music that accompanies it. Young people have started Nuevo Tango during the past twenty years, a somewhat different style of Tango that is a bit more modern. Malbec World Day featured young dancers from New York's, Strictly Tango. The dancers offered their services to teach Tango to anyone in the audience.  Of course, older Tango specialist, Henry Weingarten (see photo below) took advantage and showed the youngsters his moves in the modern day Milonga ( a place to dance Tango) that was set-up for the event.

Henry Weingarten and an unidentified female Tango enthusiast brought the house down with their spectacular dancing style and fancy footwork.

Argentina is known for wine, especially Malbec. The evening featured 26 Bodega tables set-up with all of the wines from Argentina.Wine is part of the Argentine culture and has played a role in everything the Argentines do, from the family asado to a night at the milonga.
Wine is a symbol of unity, friendship and of course, fun.

Twenty six Bodega tables of wine were set-up, pouring well over 200 wines from all regions of Argentina. The wines covered the 1242 miles of vineyards from north to south in Argentina, which translates to wines from Salta in the north to Patagonia in the south.

The wineries that participated in Malbec World Day included: Achaval Ferrer, Alamos, Escorihuela Gascon, Argento, Caro, Del Fin Del Mundo, Dominio Del Plata, Familia Schroeder,
Familia Zuccardi, Finca El Origen, Funckenhausen Vineyards, Graffigna, Los Haroldos, Luigi Bosca, Michel Torino Estate, Monteviejo, Kaiken, Norton, Pascual Toso, Salentein, Trapiche, Trivento, Valentin Bianchi, Vicentin and Zorzal Wines.

In fact, Argentina is such a focused wine country, a music and wine tasting seminar, led by Professors Barry Smith and Charles Spence, the leading British authorities on the philosophy of sensory exploration, captivated the attendees of the thirty minute hands-on seminar. As a participant, I was led on a sensory journey from the tip of my tongue to my nose and my ears--all sources of our complex sensory system. Your senses are all about sounds, smells and sights. And all of us are different--which makes the perception of one person to another often debatable.

           Professor Charles Spence leading a Wine & Music Tasting Seminar
In a separate area where the street art was being painted, the vibes of the evening were masterfully mixed by Buenos Aires native and now Brooklyn based, DJ Uproot Andy. Most visitors to this area listened to themusic while eating empanadas and chowing down on sandwiches from SUR, while clutching a bottle of  Quilmes beer, an Argentine favorite.

James Bracken, author of Argentine slang book, 'Che Boludo'

If you chose to escape the DJ and the music you may have ended up listening to the fascinating and charismatic James Bracken, motivational speaker of  'lunfardo', better known as street slang. James illustrated through hand and face gestures what the common Argentinean faces day to day in their bustling country. There is a language, through hand, face and verbal gestures that is the backbone to Argentine life. This language is universal, yet, more rooted in Argentine society than most others.
His seminar was aptly titled, 'Speaking Like An Argentine'.
If wine wasn't enough for your palate, Malbec House, in NYC, created signature cocktails for the evening that were made from a wine base, either Sauvignon Blanc or Bonardo, mixed with exotic fruit. The younger palate in wine making countries often prefer cocktails rather than wine. This new trend has taken off and Malbec House has captured the flavors they are looking for.

Of course, all evenings must come to an end--in this case, on a sweet note.
The evening ended, for me, with a hand made ice cream cup from CONES, an Argentine ice cream parlour at Cambalache, that specializes in 'Mate ' and 'Dulce de Leche' ice cream. You can find CONES in NYC. They are the only producers of Argentine ice cream in the Big Apple

CAMBALACHE means a lot more to me than when I entered the door at MALBEC World Day, five hours before.
If you want to learn about Argentine wines and events, visit
If you want to visit Argentina and Cambalache, feel free to contact Ines Segarra at Argentine Tourism:
If you have interest in personal wine trips to Argentina, contact Nora Favelukas at:

Philip S. Kampe
Maria Reveley

                                        Nora Favekukes and your author

                               As you can see, I really enjoyed CAMBALACHE 2014

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