Plenty more to it than just the beef

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

When you think of Ar­gen­tinian food, does any­thing ex­cept topqual­ity steak come to mind?

If you’d like to ex­pand your culi­nary hori­zons, head to Pataka in the next six weeks to get an ed­u­ca­tion in food from rugby-play­ing na­tions on ev­ery con­ti­nent.

There is much more to Ar­gen­tinian food than just steak, says Ar­gen­tinian chef Paula Ca­po­ralini, who will be wrap­ping up Mi­grat­ing Kitchens on Septem­ber 24.

The Buenos Aires na­tive will of­fer the Pataka crowds grilled meat, em­panadas ( savoury pas­tries), and al­fa­jores (caramel pas­try sand­wiches).

‘‘I didn’t want to be so cliched so I did dif­fer­ent things,’’ she says.

Lol­lies and cakes will fea­ture heav­ily on the day, as Ar­gen­tini­ans have very sweet teeth, Ms Ca­po­ralini says. ‘‘We’re all about our sweets.’’ Ms Ca­po­ralini came to New Zealand in 2006 af­ter a friend raved to her about trav­el­ling here. Hav­ing spent years trav­el­ling the globe, Ms Ca­po­ralini was up for the ad­ven­ture, and ar­rived on a work­ing hol­i­day visa. She knew noth­ing about New Zealand, which she says is com­mon for Ar­gen­tini­ans.

The dif­fer­ences be­tween New Zealand and Ar­gentina are huge, cul­tur­ally and so­cially, she says.

New Zealand is much safer, which is es­pe­cially im­por­tant to Ms Ca­po­ralini now she has a seven-month-old daugh­ter, Aure­lia, with her Ger­man hus­band Robert.

At­ti­tudes to food is an­other dif­fer­ence – it is much more of a fam­ily af­fair in Ar­gentina than here in the land of the 10-minute sand­wich lunch.

‘‘That’s not food, that’s a snack,’’ Ms Ca­po­ralini says.

Ki­wis can get a daily dose of Ar­gen­tinian food at Ms Ca­po­ralini’s Cuba St restau­rant, the Buenos Aires Tango Bistro.

‘‘It’s a fam­ily place, very small and sim­ple,’’ she says. ‘‘Ev­ery­thing is home-made and hand­made ev­ery day.’’

De­spite her daily im­mer­sion into Ar­gen­tinian cul­ture through her restau­rant, Ms Ca­po­ralini says be­ing mi­grant can be tough.

‘‘When you’re trav­el­ling your heart is al­ways in the mid­dle.’’

Cliche buster: Ar­gen­tinian im­mi­grant Paula Ca­po­ralini is keen to share less­well known dishes with Ki­wis at Pataka’s Mi­grat­ing Kitchens ex­hi­bi­tion, such as these spinach and cheese em­panadas.

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