Plenty more to Argentina than just the beef Porirua food expo shows

Last updated 12:39 16/08/2011
CLICHE BUSTER: Argentinian immigrant Paula Caporalini is keen to share less-well known dishes with Kiwis at Pataka's Migrating Kitchens exhibition, such as these spinach and cheese empanadas.

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When you think of Argentinian food, does anything except top- quality steak come to mind?

If you'd like to expand your culinary horizons, head to Pataka in the next six weeks to get an education in food from rugby-playing nations on every continent.

There is much more to Argentinian food than just steak, says Argentinian chef Paula Caporalini, who will be wrapping up Migrating Kitchens on September 24.

The Buenos Aires native will offer the Pataka crowds grilled meat, empanadas (savoury pastries), and alfajores (caramel pastry sandwiches).

"I didn't want to be so cliched so I did different things," she says.

Lollies and cakes will feature heavily on the day, as Argentinians have very sweet teeth, Ms Caporalini says.

"We're all about our sweets."

Ms Caporalini came to New Zealand in 2006 after a friend raved to her about travelling here. Having spent years travelling the globe, Ms Caporalini was up for the adventure, and arrived on a working holiday visa. She knew nothing about New Zealand, which she says is common for Argentinians.

The differences between New Zealand and Argentina are huge, culturally and socially, she says.

New Zealand is much safer, which is especially important to Ms Caporalini now she has a seven-month-old daughter, Aurelia, with her German husband Robert.

Attitudes to food is another difference - it is much more of a family affair in Argentina than here in the land of the 10-minute sandwich lunch.

"That's not food, that's a snack," Ms Caporalini says.

Kiwis can get a daily dose of Argentinian food at Ms Caporalini's Cuba St restaurant, the Buenos Aires Tango Bistro.

"It's a family place, very small and simple," she says. "Everything is home-made and hand- made every day."

Despite her daily immersion into Argentinian culture through her restaurant, Ms Caporalini says being migrant can be tough.

"When you're travelling your heart is always in the middle."



The 2011 Migrating Kitchens exhibition opens on Friday morning. An interactive food and culture exhibition is open every day, and for the next six Saturdays, migrants from six rugby-playing cultures will celebrate and share their food, art, literature, music and dance.

* Japan: Saturday, August 20 at 2pm. Animated film Nitaboh screens Sunday, August 21 at 2pm.

* Iran: Saturday, August 27 at 2pm. Documentary film Salam Rugby screens Sunday, August 28 at 2pm.

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* Wales: Saturday, September 3 at 2pm.

* South Africa: Saturday, September 10 at 2pm.

* Tonga: Saturday, September 17 at 2pm.

* Argentina: Saturday, September 24 at 2pm. The film The Chimera of Heroes screens Sunday, September 25 at 2pm.

- Kapi-Mana News


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