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Recap: Cambalache

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When I heard that Wines of Argentina was bringing Cambalache to NYC in honor of World Malbec Day, I was over the moon. I’ll take any reason to celebrate a wine I love, and this Argentinian varietal has not only proliferated on menus all over the city, but makes very frequent appearances in my own wine collection because of its easy drinking.

Despite the event description on their website, Cambalache was about more than just the wine. It was about the people and places behind the Malbecs we love, and offered a holistic view into the culture of Argentina, which is not something I often have exposure to. The event curators did a really impressive job of telling the story of Argentina through the wines we sipped, the foods we tasted, and the people who were there representing their country.

The location was a little daunting for Manhattanites like me. Brooklyn Night Bazaar, located off the G train (shudder) past any part of Brooklyn I’m familiar with, took some added motivation to get there. It was very much worth the trip and the converted warehouse offered an expansive and unique space that was perfect for all of the different stations Cambalache set up. My lazy post-work self would have loved something a bit closer, but the venue added a lot of flair to the event.

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That being said, after a long wait for the G(host) train, my friend Molly and I got involved immediately. We partook in the wine tasting first, which featured 26 wineries all with different blends to sample and stories to tell. Molly had a great time comparing her Mendoza stories with the friendly wine connoisseurs, and I had a great time drinking my favorite oaky tones. As a wine tasting amateur, I eyed in disdain the guests who were pouring out their glasses to make room for the next move, until I’d had about 4 glasses in 5 minutes and realized it was a marathon, not a sprint. That being said, I was a pro by the end.

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Next, we strategically moved onto the outdoor area where we snacked on Argentinian street food while listening to local beats and watching graffiti artists complete a real time wall masterpiece. Moving back inside after eating an amazing array of “fancy hotdogs” and empanadas, we sampled the Dulche de Leche ice cream and then hit up the second half of the wineries.

For those who don’t like wine, they also offered a cocktail station with two types of sweet concoctions that had “hangover” written all over them, so I steered clear. Other stations we didn’t partake in were a session on wine and music, and an opportunity to meet someone acting as a famous Argentinean author.

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By winery 26, we were ready to learn tango, which was another fabulous event in the back of the warehouse. This station gave guests the opportunity to embarrass themselves with pros who made us all look good regardless of skill. The room was curtained, dark, and a bit more private, which was appreciated. Besides the wine, this was one of my favorite parts of the event, and because of the wine, I had the courage to participate.

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We finished off the evening with a few sips of mate tea we shared with some visiting gauchos dressed for the occasion, and then we were on our way!

I had a great time and was truly entertained for the duration of my evening. Cambalache was well executed, well organized, and offered a unique opportunity to immerse in Argentinian culture and celebrate a wine our country has embraced. I speak on behalf of Bitches who Brunch when I say I was honored to be included in such a special night, and I hope Wines of Argentina hosts more events like this in NYC!

Photo Credits: Wines of Argentina

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