Happy New Year, friends!
Hope that 2016 finds you and yours happy, healthy and incandescently full of wonderful food and company. You should celebrate what you want to see more of this year. You should enjoy all the little things while you explore that big picture. I am reminded of my favorite New Years quote from Holiday Inn: “Five minutes to midnight, five minutes to go. Five minutes to say goodbye, before we say hello.” We say goodbye while also saying hello to more adventures and the same things that made us joyful in the previous year. I hope that those things carry over and that their counterparts are left behind.
THE DINNER: We picked another warm destination for our first country of the New Year— PARAGUAY! Paraguay cuisine is a kin to British food in a lot of ways because they settled the surrounding Falkland Islands and Uruguay. Things like meat, vegetables, manioc, maize, and fruits are common in Paraguayan cuisine. Lots of corn base in their breads and side dishes also. We also see so much concentration on beverages in this country too from matte teas and a range of fruit juices from alcohol and non alcoholic alike.
For the “meal” we made a drink actually. It’s sort of meal when you get down to it though because it has a whole fruit salad in the midst of it. It’s called Clerico which is really close to what we know as Sangria. It’s the national beverage of the country so we figured, when in Rome…
Clerico Recipe: http://www.tembiuparaguay.com/2010/10/clerico.html
OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:
Ease of prep and cooking: HALF a STAR out of five this meal!
This one is a piece of layer cake frosted in lovely cream cheese frosting… okay, my sweet tooth ran away with that metaphor a little, apologies. But it was definitely easy as you can get. You slice up fruit as you would for a fruit salad. You put sugar in like you would a fruit salad… but then something wonderful happens: you in all your adulthood glory add two bottles of wine to this mixture. It gets put in the fridge to get down with it’s bad self and then you drink it. It’s not hard. I will say we had some trouble running into red grapes this time of year, but substituted green in their place. No harm, no foul.
Best dish of all time scale: THREE STARS out of five for Meal!!
This one is sort of tricky because while it was lovely to have a refreshing alcoholic drink, and it by no means was not lovely. It was! The three stars is more of just a measuring stick against all the other really memorable food we’ve had. As far as drinks go, in the grand scheme of things, it was not a bad “sangria” but it also wasn’t “knock-you-soccer-socks-off-memorable”. For me, personally, the Torrontes wine was a little on the dry side and we all agreed that it felt like it needed to be a sweeter tasting drink. The wine also made the fruit “drunken” which was delightful, obviously. Our favorite fruits were the strawberries and the apple. Unusual additions traditional sangria drinks stateside, these were yummy and I will remember to add them in future adventures with wine. (Side Bar here: the orange, while uber traditional in sangria was really bitter with this recommended wine. Not yummy)
We decided to play over a continent away in Niger for #84!! Another warm nation to pass the cold January time!!
– L & K