During the first half of the 19th century, most of French immigrants to the New World were settling in the United States. From the second half of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century, Argentina received the second largest group of French immigrants worldwide, second only to the United States. The French influence in South America is not to be understated, but some of these recipes are pure south of the border favorites, without much French influence. The wealthy bourgeisies of Catalonia and the Basque Country were in love with haute French cuisine, and the cooking of these two countries was surely influenced by wars and conquering of territories of one another since the Middle Ages. Not to mention the influences of marriage and inheritance.
We have adopted a few these recipes for our “asados” which feature grilled dishes after our polo matches. Our asado cuisine is influenced by our travels to Spain, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Argentine domination of polo, where we have made many good friends and discovered several great recipes, some of which we have adopted with French improvisations. We hope you will enjoy them as much as we have in our kitchen.
And South of the French Border, Barcelona is famous for its tapas bars, which is often the favorite memories of Spanish cooking for tourists along with paella. Spain enjoys a vastly diffuse and dramatic gastronomic heritage. Drawing on French influences from the north, Moorish influences from the south and, thanks to early explorers ingredients from the Americas and the Far East. Spain is home to fishing, shooting, the saddle makers of the Biarritz such as Devoucoux, and the famous Spanish guns, such as Ugartechea and Garbi. All our favorites makings for a great recipe and story. Compared to Mexican food, it is mildly flavored and filled with seafood. But like Mexican cooking, Spanish foods are favored by a geographically diverse country. There are Catalans which have French overtones. Andalusians like to fry everything, including trout, and love gazpachos due to the hot weather. To be universal, you have to be local. And, let’s face it, French cuisine has been deeply influenced by Spanish cuisine, and both were radically changed with influences from the Islamic Empire, some indigenous to India and China and also Jewish traders. So, in some ways, all cuisine becomes universal at some level.
And, living here in the Southwest, it is hard to ignore all the wonderful flavors of Mexican cuisine. From our frequent journeys to Mexico and throughout the Southwest which is famous for its Tex-Mex and Cali-Mex combinations, we were filled with inspirations on combining cuisines and flavors.
For instance, our asado cuisine is rarely from innovators of Spanish cuisine such as Ferran Adria, but rather it is rustic pheasant dishes and traditional regional home cooking recipes that are our favorites for asados. Throughout the Spanish and Argentine countrysides, there is a feeling of nostalgia for the old rural life that was quickly swept away by booming tourist economies. It is that simple life that we wish to retain for these gatherings of family and friends, which is a departure from the formal dinners we enjoy at the Chateau. We seek out regional dishes and wines which follow time-honored traditional methods of that defend these rustic wines, olive oils, hams and charcuterie, cheeses, honeys and indigenous breeds of cows, pigs, and capons. Most Spanish dishes are born in a rural world where there were no modern kitchen gates and people worked hard. Now, people want to make things ever easier and we have to adapt to less fatty dishes, as people do not toil as long as they used to between meals, and shorter cooking times. The recipes we feature strive to balance between traditional flavors and modern demands, and inspires the cook to blend cuisines from differing cultures.