Usually when one gets to know a city for the first time, they look at a map, find something that says “old quarter,” find a museum to go to and then circumnavigate, find a plaza or port to explore and have a sitting-down cigarette and a coffee/beer in. Perhaps a cobblestoned shopping street to stroll down. One looks up at architecture, down at people’s faces and gradually soaks in the essence of the place. I kind of feel bad for my parents, because I think while they were looking forward to doing this in BsAs when they visited me here last week, what they got instead was a frantic food tour of each barrio. That is to say, we went to La Boca for pizza, Palermo for milanesa, San Telmo for picadas, Recoleta for asado, the parks for choripans. In a similar fashion, our trip to Tigre was FOR Narbona. I had an amazing experience at the original one in Carmelo and I wanted to share it with my parents without actually going to Carmelo. Luckily Narbona has a branch in Tigre, one hour away por train from BsAs.
Located on a modern boardwalk outstretch filled with other stores and restos, Narbona sits humbly offering up its goods: homemade yoghurt, cheese, bread, pasta, wine from the vineyard in Uruguay, a country only a short boat ride away. The walls are lined with cylindrical cartons of home-made dulce de leche, baskets of bread made that morning, and wine…lots of it. When we got there, the place was casi-closed, only offering coffee with dessert (teatime). It only took a few kind sentences about the obsession I have with their products and my desire to share it with my parents to convince the waitress to serve us some of their Viognier with a bit of their wonderful cheeses.
She brought us a whole plate full – soft and delicious camambert, dambo de corte with whole pepper grains, spiced logs of provolone, melty colonia – with a bit of their home-made bread and some fresh chive-herbed cream cheese to spread over it. It was small (nothing cooked as the kitchen was closed), but it was perfect. A plate full of their famed cheeses and fresh bread with a chilled bottle of white midday on a hot summer day. It was a miniature version of what I experienced before and exactly what I wanted to show my parents: tranquility, simplicity, kindness, and a careful attention to quality.