A pit stop in La Pampa - Argentina
A PIT STOP IN LA PAMPA - ARGENTINA
We drove for many hours through wheat fields in the blazing heat in the middle of La Pampa, barely seeing any cars or anyone. Suddenly we blew-up and shredded a tire of our Batan into pieces. We were so amazingly lucky that it happened right in front of an old, dilapidated gas station.
We had no choice but to replace it, the man at the gas station told us that 7 km away there was a tire shop that would take care of us, so we un-hitched the batan and drove into one of those towns you would normally never go into while you are driving: Jacinto Arauz. This small town it turned out was the hometown one of Argentina’s most successful surgeons in its history, Renee Favaloro being the first one to do a heart transplant and one of the country’s biggest pride.
As we drove in looking for our tire shop we couldn’t help being mesmerized by the facades of the old brick buildings, the quietness of the town with its people waking up from their siestas and watering their heat-blasted gardens. Drinking mate under the shade in groups of three or four, everyone waved at us noticing we were not from there.
After changing our tire, we had to stop by a Panaderia; being a wheat-growing region we were very intrigued by the quality of their flour. So we walked and had a conversation with the owner of the Panaderia El Nuevo Sabor who told us about the specifics of the flour, it’s gluten content and his tricks for kneading and proofing the breads.
We bought Tortitas Pinchadas which is essentially folds of Puff Pastry made with lard instead of butter, slightly salted and poked at the end, thus the name pinchadas; simple brilliant little pastries amazingly tasty right out of the oven - I could eat 5 or 6 easily - not so amazingly healthy, but who cares? We had some Facturas; the quintessential Argentinean pastries everyone has either for breakfast or with mate in the afternoon and we also had some of the panaderia’s own bread. A regional version of Pain d’Epi, with thick structure, medium crust, not as chewy as a baguette and as the man claimed “it is best enjoyed the day after it is made”.
Off we left the town of Jacinto Arauz and stopped by another town close by called Padre Buodo. Essentially a few buildings next to a crossroads where truckers stop by to re-fuel, spend the night and have some food at the only restaurant: Las Dos Rutas. We did that, had some dinner and before going to bed, bought some house-made Salamines, Queso Pategras, Dulce de Leche and a few other items for the next day. What can I say? I absolutely love regional products, the simplicity of life of these places and many times I imagine myself and wonder how my life would be if I lived in places like these.