Dios mío guys, the food party just doesn’t stop here in Buenos Aires. If your waistbands weren’t feeling tight enough after BA Food Week, Cocktail Week, and Día del Gourmet, M.E.S.A. de Otoño is here to tip you over the edge into full-blown obesity.
These guys are all about the clever acronyms. M.E.S.A. (which means table in English) stands for Menús de Estación con Sabores de Argentina (Seasonal Menus with Argentine flavors), an initiative organized by A.C.E.L.G.A. (or chard, that most beloved of green vegetables), an association of Argentine chefs and producers brought together by the mission of leveraging the local cuisine and ingredients in an ethical and innovative manner.
— MesaDeEstacion (@MesaDeEstacion) April 12, 2018
The ultimate aim of the week is to promote the use of local seasonal agreements, as well as disseminating information about their origins, growing calendar, and different ways to prepare them. In showcasing ingredients when they’re at their finest, M.E.S.A hopes to convince you of the merits of eating seasonally, ecologically, and economically.
Running since 2016, for one week per season, chefs and restaurants celebrate three seasonal ingredients, building creative and of course delicious menus that showcase the produce at its finest. Summer’s ingredients were eggplant, honey, and mango but autumn promises to crank it up a notch, with chefs building their menus around quince, olive oil and – millennials rejoice! – the avocado.
¿Dónde se #produce el #membrillo, la #palta hass y el #aceite de #oliva en #Argentina? ??? MEMBRILLO: La provincia con mayor producción y plantaciones más importantes es #Mendoza. Le siguen las zonas del Valle de Jáchal en #SanJuan, Andalgalá en #Catamarca y Olta y Famatina en #LaRioja. También se encuentran producciones en #RíoNegro y en el Delta de la provincia de #BuenosAires. PALTA HASS: El #Noroeste #Argentino es la zona productora de palta Hass en Argentina, especialmente las provincias de #Tucumán, #Salta y #Jujuy aunque también hay plantaciones en #Corrientes y #Misiones. ACEITE DE OLIVA: La producción nacional se desarrolla principalmente en Catamarca, La Rioja, San Juan, Mendoza, #Córdoba. También hay plantaciones en Sur de Bs. As., #Neuquén y Río Negro.
But how, I hear you cry, can I sink my teeth into this cornucopia of seasonal freshness? Well starting from April 24, 50 restaurants in Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Rosario, and San Martín de los Andes (rogue, we know) are joining in on the fun, and my oh my, the menus that they’ve develop look heavenly.
There’s a full list of participating restaurants on their website, but the dishes that have particularly caught our eye are Gran Dabbang’s avocado with tamatillo, lime, chilli and toasted chulpi corn and 1893’s empanadas filled with membrillo (quince paste) and Patagonzola cheese.
There are also striking number of desserts featuring olive oil, such as the lemon mousse cake with semolina and olive oil from Basa, or Elena, who have managed to showcase all of the ingredients at once with their avocado, quince, and vanilla ice cream with olive oil biscuits. I think I just gained three pounds writing that sentence.
Hell’s Pizza are also doing a particularly upsetting-sounding vegan, gluten-free pizza with hummus, avocado and crunchy quinoa – to each their own I suppose, nobody’s perfect.
However, this event is not just about the good eats – it’s also an opportunity to find out more about the Argentine agriculture industry. Given that this summer’s drought is predicted to reduce the value of produce exports by US $3.3 billion, initiatives such as this are essential to help support local producers and celebrate the ingredients that they provide.
This newest edition will be inaugurated with a #CharlaMesa featuring one of Argentina’s best-known chefs, Dolli Irigoyen. The idea is to bring together consumers, producers, and chefs in order appreciate and learn about the produce chosen to represent the autumn season. The event will take place on Monday, April 23 in Mercado Belgrano (Av. Juramento 2501) and tickets are free. Sign up from April 16 on Mesa de Estacion’s social media channels, where you can also watch a livestream of the event should you not be able to attend.
There’s loads on, with more activities added constantly, so check out the Facebook page for the down low on where to get your seasonal fill. Everything is running from April 24 to 30, so you’ve got plenty of time to sink your teeth into the finest Argentina’s producers and chefs have to offer.