Polenta, pizza, pear

Those four slices of mine from the #Muza5K.
Those four slices of mine from the #Muza5K.
It can be hard to keep a track of every morsel consumed — solids, liquids and alcohol-infused solids — but when a dish is outstanding, it does stay in my mind. Sometimes I write things down, or email myself a quick reminder, just to make sure that fresh-out-the-oven flavour is captured forever. And although some are critical of snapping pics with an iPhone then uploading them to Instagram, it’s another way of keeping that moment. (That’s right, Mr Moreno, I do own an iPhone…)

In the past seven days, I’ve gorged on pizza, eaten mozzarella-stuffed fried pasta, eaten rabbit-stuffed cannelloni, drunk espumante sparkling wine on the back of a horse and carriage, tucked into perfect mushroom risotto, and even had a two-leaf salad from an organic garden. Quite an array of flavours and textures.

So rather than focus on one particular place, I thought I’d share my favourite starter, main and dessert of the week, Fuudis dinner-tour style. A different course, a different place.

First up is some impeccable Italian style, a veritable plate licker. Daniele Pinna, the Sardinian owner and cook at La Locanda whipped up a delectable starter in the brand-new private dining room in his basement. A polenta-esque base was loaded down with truffle oil, mozzarella cheese, a poached egg and asparagus. This dreamy mass needed immediate yolk blending, the rich truffle flavour was a perfect match to vamp up the polenta, the crunchy greens offsetting the richness of the egg and cheese. Basic ingredients fused together for a dream combination tickling taste-buds that will end up craving more.
La Locanda
Pagano 2697, Recoleta

For my main course choice, it actually boils down to four selections, and it is all thanks to the hugely popular Muza 5K walk that took place last Saturday. The aim? Walk five kilometres, stop off at seven pizza parlours. That’s right. And I did it. (Well, I did 3.5k because I had to go to dinner in the middle of all this action…)

The brainchild of sommelier and wine critic Joaquín Hidalgo and Campari ambassador and journalist Martín Auzmendi, this second edition was a million times more popular than last year’s, which attracted around 20 people.

Auzmendi explains: “The idea for the Muza walk came about with a great friend of mine, Franco Antolini, to only eat pizza, supplemented with Moscato wine, at pizza houses located on Corrientes Avenue. We’d thought about how we would choose the best one and to choose, we’d have to try them all. The only way to do that was to walk the length of the avenue, stopping off at each one.”

And that is exactly what happened. Starting off at Chacarita’s El Imperio, the famished and the intrigued numbering around 300 kicked off with a nine-peso slice of “Muza.” Naturally the good folk at Imperio were prepared for the onslaught, and whipped out thick, over-fresh slices. Probably the speediest service I’ve ever had!

Onwards and downwards, numerically speaking, Corrientes, and the next stop was popular chain La Continental, that ended up being my favourite of the four I did try. And those kindly folk were giving it away. Plenty of tomato, heaps of gooey melted deliciousness, it was a great cheesey triangle of love.

Me and the pizza posse also made it to El Trebol then Kentucky located on Billinghurst, where my four-slice dream ended. But the die-hard kept on marching all the way to the Obelisk, accompanied by a TV crew. Slow news day? Nah, just a fun and really porteño event that got some of the city’s gastronomy movers and shakers together to eat pizza.

And the outcome? Hidalgo says: “The #Muza5k (as used on social networks Twitter and Facebook to pique interest) was a success. There was some 300 people on the walk, point to point, and we ate around 2,400 slices, we walked 65 blocks and we generated a repercussion that was off the scale with respect to what we had imagined in 2012. It was incredible to see how couples, friends, families, fathers and sons, shared the walk and the pizzas.”
#Muza5K on all good Twitter feeds
Pizza houses: El Imperio, La Continental, El Trebol, Kentucky, Guerrín, Banchero, Las Cuartetas, La Rey.

The palate cleanser takes me further afield, to Salto in the province of Buenos Aires. Although La Fortuna isn’t a restaurant, should you stay at this stunning estancia, you will be extremely well fed.

Estela the cook had prepared a warm cherry tomato and brie salad as well as salmon steaks, but the proof of her skills was in the pudding. Dessert was a perfectly perky Torrontés-marinated pear, mascarpone and handmade biscotti, which Mr Links (who lived in Italy) declared the finest he had ever eaten.

That peeled pear had been oven baked to perfection, and retained its shape. But it was the wine marinade that had caramelized that made a perfect pairing with the delicately cheesey mascarpone and crunchy almond biscuits. A perfect mix of of sweet and savoury.
Estancia La Fortuna
Salto, Buenos Aires province

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