The Masters arrive in Mendoza

The Masters arrive in Mendoza

Masters-at-CatenaMendoza has been blossoming as a foodie destination for the last five years and one of the major attractions for any gastronomist is the Hyatt’s annual Masters Food and Wine event. With four days dedicated to indulging in a myriad of international cuisine and a spread of fab Argentine wine, this is a glutton’s delight.

Throughout the year the Park Hyatt chain hotels hold different Masters of Food and Wine events like wine tastings and themed dinners worldwide, however the only Hyatt to host this special four day food and wine festival is, drumroll please, Mendoza.

As a worldwide operation with connections to countries renowned for their cuisine, like Peru and Brazil, this event is a great chance for people in Mendoza to try a truly international flavour (something which is sadly sometimes lacking in city normally). The first was held in 2007 and has created a strong legion of regulars attending ever since, however 2013 was the first year local press were invited so we got a sneak peek into this exclusive event.

Thirteen chefs from Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Spain, the US and South Korea were invited this year along with four sommeliers to prepare special lunches and dinners to wow guests as they visit seven different wineries in Mendoza between 1st and 4th May.

Kicking off with a cocktail party on Wednesday night food tourists and hungry Mendocineans could enjoy different morsels of international bites prepared by all the chefs and visit stands with the wines from participating wineries.

One of the ‘Argentine’ chefs to participate this year was South Korean expat Chef Mun at Casarena winery. Inaugurating their new visitor centre at the same time, this modern winery has been hosting Saturday night dinners cooked by Chef Mun over the last year and this month they are opening for lunches too. During the Masters visit, guests got a sneak preview of some of his dishes on the new menu: spicy sushi and sticky pork belly buns. As well as being the only Asian chef in a Mendoza winery, Mun was a bit of a novelty for the Masters too: “I am the first Asian in the Masters i think, so I am very honoured I was able to participate and I could bring some Asian tastes to the Masters,” commented Mun.

Other international flavours that rocked into town for the event included Peruvian chef Diego Muaoz who cooked a four course menu in Trapiche winery on Thursday night. The shrimp and clam ceviche was perfect with Torrontes; a delicious crab duo came with a buttery, mineral rich Chardonnay; followed by beautiful steak with a rich spicy gravy served with Malbec and finally a late harvest Chardonnay with spiced rice pudding and forest fruits. The Peruvian influences were obvious, but Diego explains that sometimes you need to take advantage of Argentina’s bounty too: “The beef here is amazing, you have to use it!”

This is a chance for wineries to go all out and impress the food tourists and wine experts. One winery that really wowed the crowd was Catena Zapata which pulled all the stops out with a tasting of their icon wine Nicolas Catena Zapata 2006 with winemaker Pablo Sanchez as well as launching two of their new wines, the gorgeous White Stones and White Bones Chardonnays. With a flamenco band, great wine and three chefs cooking up a storm, this was a highlight of the entire event.

This year the Masters was held at Trapiche, Casarena, Catena Zapata, Zuccardi,,Escorihuela Gascon, Bodega Toneles, and Rutini Wines. For more information on the Masters Food and Wine 2014 and for other food and wine events throughout the year visit www.mfandw.com.ar

By Amanda Barnes