Every year, between the months of July and mid-September I live in a musical and vinous heaven thanks to Radio3, live via the internet. And no thanks to whatever the name of that Apple guy is, but with huge gratitude and thanks to a Sir Timothy “Tim” John Berners-Lee. This afternoon, thanks principally to Tim, and with the global time difference taken into account. The Finnish Maestro, Sakari Oramo raises his baton and drives the extremely capable BBC Symphony Orchestra into a musical plethora direct from the Royal Albert Hall. Hitler, Goering and the rest of those bastards are all rotting in hell now and I am here in heaven, listening to Sibelius, Malcolm Sargent and eventually will be shedding a tear through William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’ and a heart wrenching Auld Lang Syne, a la Robbie Burns. It always brings on a tear.
Now, it is Saturday lunch time, and it is tipping down with rain. I am in the kitchen wondering what to conjure up to fit this musical-gastr-vini billy. I have an extreme urge to eat oysters for lunch today. The type of urge than needs to be dealt with, now! Unfortunately in my area there are only two or three places that I can buy them from with confidence (and not have to go all the way up to barrio Chino on the tube, as I really I don’t like their oysters, as they come covered in shit from wherever, and it is totally off putting to clean them and smell all that shit in the sink. It is as if they have been scraped off the bottom of the hull from one of their huge oil tankers, that lurk around the world in all their Chineseness. Maybe it is a second income for our Oriental friends? To be frank (whoever he is) it is just all a bit too much, even for me, tho they are a lot cheaper than elsewhere, it is just not worth the bother, I tell you.
So I take the 37 bus to Avenida Las Heras, always my first port of call for a kilo or two of Ostroedia. They rarely have them, but when they do, my goodness they are goodies. I am feeling lucky today. So in I go, and I am greeted by the fishy lady, I ask, and she says “No, today we don’t have any, why don’t you ever call us beforehand (with reason). Well, I need the exercise is my reply. I then go plan B. I walk via Avenida Santa Fe. They are also out of the mollusk. Oh no, but n real problemo. It has stopped raining now, so I will head north to a little place that someone once said was not a problem to find oysters, so off I go. En route, I see the owner of Oviedo (a fabulous fish restaurant which I will tell you more about another day, as they have an extraordinary wine cellar) puffing on some tobacco (I think?) outside his noshery, and I stop to ask if he has Oysters on the menu today. Nope! Ah okay, so I continue and decide to go all the way to San Antonio fish shop in Recoleta. It is quite a walk, but I need to stretch my legs, as last night’s tasting did go on a bit, until the wee small hours, and I must get to the oyster shop before 14hrs, as they close up, a bit like everything else in this city on a Saturday afternoon (a la Londres back in 1980s).
Well, I enter the place just in time, and what am I welcomed by, but a large wooden bucket, in the shape of a fishing trawler, of oysters. Yes! A kilo please, and eight of the healthiest looking oysters later, I leave as happy as Larry, and head home with my treasure. Fully operational in the kitchen with my faithful shucker to hand, nibbling on some toasties a la Rouille. There is nothing worse than opening oysters when you are hungry, as I become a little too impatient with them and start hurting myself. Now, what to drink with these beautiful beasts. I open a 2016 Garnacha Blanca called ‘Uvas Locos’ from Mendoza. It’s okay, but too light for this, and does not really have sufficient acidity and body to match the oysters. So I decide to open an old favourite of mine from the Rio Negro, Old Vines Riesling 2016, made by Humberto Canale. You may at this stage be asking why on earth is your vinous-correspondent here tucking into Riesling to go with his oysters. Well he is not. I am blending 1/3rd of Riesling with 2/3rds of the Garnacha Blanc, and it hit the button right on baby. Pure instinct I guess. I should do this more. It was really, really a super home blend. Why don’t we all blend our own wines at home a little more? It sups things up a bit and I can think of a thousand Malbecs that would benefit from a 50% hit of Cabernet Sauvignon or a touch of Petit Verdot, that I can blend at home.
“Bring me my bow of burning gold. Bring me arrows of desire, Bring me my spear, O clouds unfold. Bring me my chariot of fire”
I will definitely come back to Saint A. for more!!
NB: The world seems to be fascinated by taking photographs, apparently, of what they eat these days, or order in restaurants and do not eat, who knows. A kind of Gastronomic pornography? So, I hope I am not too late, but I have jumped on the band-wagon here, but I do prefer the look of the empty plate, always. It seems less pornographic and more gastronomically content, for me. I, may post more in the future, or am I about to start a trend. Oh shit! not again.