A La Antigua, Mendoza, Argentina
Osv Aldo Furrer Vigneaux welcomed me into his small kitchen with enthusiastic hand gestures and a warm smile. He was stocky, balding and bounced when he walked. It was unassuming and homely. There were several medium sized pots on the stove and a young woman at the sink. It opened to a larger guest area that was filled with natural light. We spoke about his many dips and liquors. He had particular favourites and passionately informed me of the flavours and the inspirations of each. I was particularly interested in the pink coloured liquor containing a rose petal. He assured me I could taste it but first wanted to show me his ‘baby olive trees’.
Ovs’s eyes widened and glinted as he gently fingered the young saplings leaves. ‘You see the Greek olives? They are much larger than the Argentine olives.’ ‘When did you start the olive farm?’ I asked. His eyes narrowed, ‘Oh, many years ago. It was at first a hobby but then I suffered, how you say … a breakdown. I was ordered to stop working and change lifestyle.’
Curious, I pushed ahead, ‘What were you doing before the farm?’ ‘Ahhhh …’ he said, eyes widening again, ‘I was engineer at global firm. Very stressful, but we don’t talk about that now, we eat!’
I tasted while Osv spoke about his wife and daughters. They had moved from Buenos Aries and now lived on the farm. He seemed happy and I admired him. ‘Now …’ he said, reaching for the pink liquor ‘this is special present I make my wife for 25th wedding anniversary.’ He poured a small amount in a shot glass ‘you must smell first. Smell.’ It smelt sweet like a warm spring evening. ‘Now you taste’ he said raising his glass. ‘Cheers.’
It tasted like perfume floating in the air and I told him so. ‘Haha, yes, yes, wife very happy.’ He laughed. ‘You are very happy, no?’ I questioned.
‘Yes, happy and fat!’ he said giggling his stomach. We both laughed.