We had quite the international food fare last night. Our friends Tim and Nina invited us up to their place above Travelers Rest last night for a gathering in honor of a visiting chemist. Nina hails from Chile, and Dan, the visitor, is from Peru. In addition, there was Lourdes, also from somewhere in South America, Georg and Iriana from Russian, and a few plain old Americans to round things out.
The hors d’ourves started with falafel, pita and hummus accompanied by Chilean wine and the music of Hayseed Dixie and Dread Zepplin. From there, we progressed to Bill Pennington’s "quiche for men" (egg and jalapenos fused at 350 degrees) accompanied with Algarrobina. Algarrobina is a Peruvian liqueur made from sap of the algarrob tree and resembles molasses. Our cocktails were the liqueur combined with condensed milk and spices, and tasted very much like Bailey’s and Kahlua combined with a touch of cinnamon on top.
After the Algarrobina, Nina brought out the Pisco. Both Chile and Peru claim responsibility for Pisco, which is a potent brandy made from white muscatel grapes. Georg brought out his contribution – plum tomatoes pickled with horse raddish, garlic, peppers and bay leaves according to an old Russian recipe. The procedure was as follows: toast, shot of Pisco, followed by a whole pickled tomato as a chaser. The taste was fantastically indescribable, and I could have done Pisco shots with tomato chasers all night if Laura had felt like driving. As it was, I limited myself to a half-shot of Pisco and multiple chasers.
With a couple of drinks under our belts, we were ready for Tim and Nina’s vacation slide show – their climb up Mount Kilimanjaro this past summer. That was followed by discussion of their plans for Macchu Picchu sometime next year.