Sunday, 24 January 2010

La Cupertina – Empanadas Ye Olde Way

If you take two old ladies, a few traditional ways, some old recipes, a shop and decorate it as if it’s your grandma’s kitchen, a lot of care and attention to detail. Mix all these ingredients together and you get Cupertina. A great place that sells empanadas, tamales, stews and other foods from the North of Argentina.
I’ve eaten their literally every time I have visited Buenos Aires. No idea how we originally found it, as it’s on a street in Palermo with nothing really around or close to it.
I’m pretty sure the two old ladies who run it, really do not need to. But they do it for the love of it. The love of doing simple things perfectly and sharing their love of Northern Argentinean food to the local Porteños.
They are quite a funny couple. As they don’t actually seem to talk to each other. It looks to me as if they keep out of each other’s way. Maybe years of working with each other has driven them mad. They each have their own jobs to do and that’s it. It doesn’t create a weird atmosphere, but it is kinda funny to watch.
The star of the show here are the empanadas. They only do a few. Knife cut beef empanadas, cheese and onion and humita. Which is a sweetened maize empanada. It’s an acquired taste. Not my favourite, but hey I just stick to the meat ones.

The knife cut empanadas have knife cut chunks of juicy meat in slightly spicy gravy. They are the bees knees. I can honestly say they are the best empanadas I have ever tasted. But more on that on a later blog.
They also do a stew of beans and chorizo sausage called Locro. The Humitas (tamales) are also really good. Maize based. But still pretty darn good.
Northern Argentina used to belong to Bolivia, but then again so much of Northern Chile, Southern Peru used to belong to Bolivia also. It once had a coastline, till Chile stole it. But that’s enough of politics for one day.

So most of the peoples of Tucuman are of Bolivian decent. Their customs, their foods are all heavily influenced by the high Andean plateau they came from. The foods especially the stews are heavy on the stomach for a Buenos Aires Summers day, but it fits perfectly on a Winters afternoon anywhere.
Cupertina is well worth searching out, and I’m sure when we return to B.A. in a few weeks we will pay another visit for some more of their fabulous empanadas.

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