Buenos Aires, Argentina
It shouldn’t surprise anyone to find out that there are a whole lot of gay wine geeks and collectors in the world; and they were out in force at the Masters of Food and Wine 2008 in Buenos Aires. Upon arrival, I found myself amidst the swirl of hors d’oeuvres, flagons of wine, internationally acclaimed chefs, sommeliers, restaurateurs, and collectors who were willing to ante-up the air fare, hotel costs, and entrance fees-all of which added up to somewhere around $6,000.
The five-day extravaganza opened with a wine and cheese tasting at the Park Hyatt’s Palacio Duhau in Buenos Aires, a stunning, converted mansion that takes up half a city block. The Duhau’s staggered levels and twisting staircases gave a certain Escher air to the space. The courtyard and surrounding wine bar and salons were perfect for introductions and a chance to sample a range of some of Argentina’s most interesting cheeses and wines.
The next night’s “Rarities” dinner offered an exclusive group of wine gliterati tastes of treasures from the cellars of 25 Argentine wineries. Then next day it was off on flights to Mendoza, 700 miles west in the foothills of the Andes Mountains.
At the posh Park Hyatt on the town’s central plaza we kicked off a trio of days with a wine and hors d’oeuvres party, catered by two dozen chefs from all over the globe and wineries pouring hundreds of bottles, to a mere thousand attendees. The next two days passed by quickly as we broke up into smaller groups and headed out to Mendoza’s amazing countryside, each group visiting a trio of wineries per day, and dining our way through multi-course lunches and dinners cooked by the visiting culinary stars.
The event culminated with a Gala dinner back at the Park Hyatt where each of us vowed to return again next year.
The Masters of Food and Wine 2009 will be held February 10-15. For more information visit www.mfandw.com.ar
Passport magazine is a relatively new, ultra-slick, ultra-hip gay travel magazine. My friends Don Tuthill and Robert Adams, respectively the publisher and editor-in-chief, who have owned and run QSF magazine for many years, launched this publication recently. It has received industry accolades. They asked me to come along and write the occasional article for this venture as well.