(Oh all right! the title of this post was indeed inspired by Evelyn Waugh’s famous novel. However, a boar farm is slightly less glamorous than a country pile. Only just.)
Last weekend my parents, Sean and I we piled into the car and drove to Suipacha. This is the town where I bought my antique china tea set last year and I wanted to see if they had matching plates but they had none left.
We had reservations at the restaurant they owners of the boar farm recently opened on site. The food was very good. I’d never eaten boar before and I expected it to be more gamey than it actually was. I had boar ravioli, Sean had boar with a berry sauce, my dad had homemade pasta and my mum had goulash. Apparently, their recipes were handed down the generations of this family.
It was a glorious day, perfect for a stroll after lunch to see the boars. Some can be very mean and rather dangerous, hence the electrified fence inside another fence. Their grunts did sound scary.
Every time I go to Buenos Aires, my parents take me on day trip to the country. On my latest visit, we went to the town of Suipacha. It is located 126 kilometres west of Buenos Aires and is an important dairy centre. Let me rephrase that: it’s cheese lovers heaven.
Recently, local dairy and cheese farmers (and one wild boar breeder) got together with local authorities and created the Cheese Trail /Ruta del Queso (link in Spanish.) Visitors can either book a guided tour around cheese farms (which includes tastings) or visit them on their own (call ahead first. Some charge a small amount).
We chose to visit a purebred European boar farm, a family business established in 2002. The owner himself led the guided tour of the facilities. His passion for his business was contagious and his knowledge, vast. Among the things I learned is that the piglets (boarlets??) coats change with age: first they’re spotty, then stripy, then a solid dark gray when they become adults. Adult boars are ugly beasts but the piglets are so cute!
Suipacha is a quiet town. So much so that when my dad asked the waiter of a cafe if the place was always this quiet, he said it feels like Sunday every day. Lots of peace and quiet and a very low crime rate seem ideal to me.
We stopped at an antiques shop, which we don’t normally do. In the shed across the street, they had an amazing collection of furniture from all decades in different states of repair. A carpenter was restoring a wooden table and was kind enough to talk to us about the furniture. We then went inside the shop for a browse. I’ve always coveted an old china tea set and my wish was granted. I purchased a set manufactured in Turnstall, England, by W.H. Grindley and Co. Ltd. It looks like it’s from the 1940s; I did some research online but haven’t found the pattern’s name.
According to a potter’s website, W. H. Grindley used this mark between 1936 and 1954, so I wasn’t wide of the mark. The teapot still has tea stains. I wonder who owned it before, what their life story is. I imagine a newly-wed young woman having her friends round to tea to show off the good china. They all wear floral dresses and their hair in soft waves and curled under. They sit round a mahogany table to gossip and exchange recipes, with the smell of a freshly baked cake wafting from the kitchen.