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Making a colourful array of small dishes in a tasting menu paired with their wines, many of the ingredients are handpicked that morning from the garden. Flowers, herbs, fruit, vegetables and even honey come directly from their own garden patch, and their small, biodynamic farm alongside the garden keeps the restaurant in supply of fresh eggs and allows them to make homemade charcuterie.
Sourcing quality ingredients, though, is only part of the process. Within the kitchen there is a much more complex process of storytelling and flavour creation happening. Under the hand of one of Mendoza’s star winery chefs, Lucas Bustos, and Head Chef Matias Castejon, the art to Espacio Trapiche’s menu is its storytelling.
Each dish represents a different part of the vineyard, farm and winery. Take for example their dish ‘Compost’. Composting is an important element of viticulture and sustainable cooking, and Espacio Trapiche celebrates that with this dish which aims to encourage the diner to rethink the concept of compost — not as something which you throw away, but something which enriches the life cycle. Dried pumpkin seeds, a beetroot leaf and vegetable trimmings sit on top of a layer of soil (quinoa) and lightly pickled rabbit and chicken. The complexity and acidity of the dish works wonders with their bright and voluptuous Chardonnay.
Other dishes are more interactive, such as their ‘Finca’ dish. Here you have to prepare and combine the ingredients yourself with the aim of not only allowing you to prepare the dish, but giving you key aromas and flavours associated with the wine pairing — in this case Cabernet Franc. You grind black pepper, mint, mushrooms and spices together, before submerging them into a rich meat broth. The process highlights all the components that go into a complex dish, and a complex wine.
It’s these details which make the menu stand out not only as an eating experience but a creative one that encourages you to be creative too.
Although Espacio Trapiche only opened its doors two years ago, it has been a fast-rising star in the gastronomy scene of Mendoza. Winning the Great Wine Capitals award for Best Winery Restaurant in 2019 was a testimony to how quickly this restaurant has become one of the most sought-after lunch dates in Mendoza.
By Amanda Barnes
Web: South America Wine Guide