I became a chef after spending long summers together with my family in Corrientes; it’s that simple. My mom is from that province and all her family lives there; that’s why my childhood is deeply connected to that amazing place in Northeast Argentina where I’ve always come back since I can remember.
Walking by the river side in the city of Corrientes at the summer sunset carrying some “mate” and home made warm “chipas” is still an unbeatable moment. If by chance you get “chipa mboca“, wrapped around a stick, the experience results unique, and we keep this tradition with my husband and children as I used to do with my grandparents and sisters. The sensation is only comparable to enjoying a savarin from Stohrer bakery while wanderimg along the streets of Paris.
At Grandma’s house her kitchen was always busy. On one hand, my grandfather was an enthusiastic fisherman like many other Correntinos, and he prepared magical dishes with what he caught in the Paraná river.
I will never forget his grilled “dorados” seasoned with brine, lemon juice and spices, accompanied with the always present boiled “mandioca.” His fish “chupines” are also memorable, as well as many dishes he used to prepare with fish difficult to find nowadays. When grandpa set off in his motorboat, my sisters and I tried to guess which fish he would bring home.
On the other hand, Grandma Beba and auntie Marita were always at the pans in the kitchen which was separate from the old colonial house. My sisters and I used to have fun gathering avocados, mangos and oranges which would later appear in different preparations or became chutneys or marmelade.
I didn’t like chutney when I was a girl, I became a fan of the spiced mango chutney that auntie Marita prepared as I grew up, which was always present in our “asados.”
Apart from the classic asado when you are in the countryside, one of the dishes I’ve always loved is Mbaipu, or polenta from Corrientes prepared with pork, chicken or red meat, always delicious.
To listen to a gaucho dressed with his typical clothes, singing chamamé with his guitar by the fire while you enjoy Mbaipu is one of those glorious things you can not even get in Paris!