There's a very fine restaurant near our farm that offers the best cuisine and the most serene, scenic environment to be found anywhere in the province of Mendoza.  Located in the midst of Algodon Wine Estates,  an 825 hectare land development  with a golf course, vineyard, bodega, championship tennis courts,  and lodge, the restaurant is one of the area's gems.  
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During the winter, there's a cozy spot by the fire indoors, and in the summer, a terrace with cushioned couches overlooking the olive grove and manicured golf greens.  The staff at Algodon is always welcoming and eager to make our dining experience  a pleasure.  

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The menu features regional foods, cooked on the grill and in a traditional clay oven.  The ingredients such as olives and tomatoes are grown right on the estate, and we notice the chef slipping out from the kitchen to pick herbs fresh from the garden.  We choose "Puro Campo" which is a beef filet grilled to perfection, roasted vegetables, fried potatoes and green salad.  

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Dessert is nothing less than "Todo Chocolate," a sublime combination of white chocolate sauce, fudge brownie, a dark chocolate cylinder filled with creamy mousse, and a scoop of orange sorbet.  The presentation suggests architecture, or perhaps a sculpture installation.  

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The wine is, of course, Algodon's own label - a Cabernet Sauvignon 2006.   The grassy herbal notes of this fruity wine are a pleasant surprise, along with the finishing hints of toast and t0bacco.  The estate bodega offers wine-tasting events and tours of their facilities. The American consortium that owns Algodon development has just opened a luxury hotel in a restored mansion in Buenos Aires.  The complete story of their land development project  in San Rafael is given on their website


The bill for lunch for two at Algodon was 146 pesos.

 

Postre

10/30/2009

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It's been hot in San Rafael for the last two days, with temperatures rising well over 30 degrees Celsius.  In the middle of a heat wave, one just doesn't feel a strong urge to turn on the oven and  start baking pastry.  A cool dessert still seems appealing and fortunately it's possible to purchase exquisite  European-style cakes and pastries in the ice cream shops and bakeries in the city.    
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Ripe strawberries combined with chocolate mousse pie from La Delicia to make  a grand finale for our dinner last night.  Heladeria La Delicia (Av. H. Yrigoyen 591) is where the ex-pats congregate to enjoy a cup of espresso coffee and a pastry while checking e-mail and conducting Skype conversations with family members back home.   The restaurant  has a strong Wi-Fi signal, over 40 flavours of ice cream and air-conditioning.

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We served a white dessert wine, La Consulta Cosecha Tardia from Finca la Celia with the chocolate pie and fresh fruit.   The grapes used to produce this wine are harvested late, when reduced water content has concentrated sugars and acids.  The result is a natural sweetness - not syrupy, but refreshing - with notes of pears and honey.  It has a lovely summery floral nose and a brilliant gold colour.   This wine is best served very cold (6 - 8 degrees C.) and benefits from an additional  few minutes  in the freezer before pouring.  It would also be excellent to serve with pate de foie gras or strong cheeses.  The cost for a bottle of Cosecha Tardia is 15.83 pesos at Vea supermarket.  The chocolate mousse pie was purchased for  10.50 pesos at La Delicia.

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