Learning a foreign language can be a frustrating and humbling experience.  When we first arrived in San Rafael,  even a trip to the corner fruitstand was a challenge in communication.  How to ask for avocados, for instance?
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"Tiene aguacates?" I ventured.  I had looked up the word in my Spanish/English dictionary, and was quite confident that this would work, but the grocer gave me a blank stare.  Remembering that the "v" is pronounced as a "b" in Spanish, I tried again.  
"Tiene abogados?"  This time the grocer burst out laughing, and so did the other customers in the store.   An abogado is a lawyer, not a fruit.  

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The correct word for avocado in Argentina is "palta" which bears no resemblance to either its English or Spanish equivalent, but does start with the same letter as "pear".  The ones we buy at the fruitstand  are exceptionally large and delicious , either served raw in a salad or cooked in a soup.  Today we made avocado soup for lunch  with four paltas, chicken broth, a carrot, some green onions and parsley.  The ingredients were simmered for 10 minutes and then pureed with my hand blender to a creamy smooth consistency.  I reserved some of the avocado chunks to add back to the soup, for a more interesting texture.  

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We paired our recipe for  Lawyer Soup with Latitud 33 Chardonnay 2008 from Bodegas Chandon.  This is the South American branch of Moet & Chandon, the French champagne makers.  In the mid-1950s Robert Jean de Voye decided to explore the possibility of expanding the company to the southern hemisphere, and travelled to Rio Negro, Salta and Mendoza, Argentina.  He selected Mendoza province, with its desert climate and volcanic ash soil,  as the perfect spot for growing grapes for champagne.  In 1959 Chandon produced its first bottles of South American champagne.   The Chardonnay has a tropical fruit flavour, with suggestions of banana and pineapple, and a crisp, clean finish.  It can be purchased at Vea supermarket for 17.90 pesos.