Enjoying Asado and Malbec with mi amigo Gonzalo Perez at La Barra.
We Americans spend a lot of time observing national and Hallmark holidays by gathering with our family. We celebrate our mothers with Champagne in May, appreciate our fathers with Cabernet in June, and come together from near and far to feast on large roasted birds, fixings and an array of wines in November and December. But unlike other countries, namely in South America, we are still lacking a day dedicated wholly to an equally important aspect of our lives.
On my first visit to Argentina this July, I learned about a national holiday that carries a sentiment so wonderful and obvious I wondered why the US, a consumer economy that finds any reason to develop marketing campaigns driving us to celebrate (aka buy and consume), had not yet picked up on it.
Gabriel with fellow amigo
July 20th is Día de Amigo in Argentina and it happened to be my first day ever in the country. Once we arrived in Mendoza, my group went to restaurant La Barra for our first Argentine Asado– a traditional barbecue and endless meat bonanza. We were hosted by Gonzalo Perez and winemaker Gabriel Bloise of Chakana Winery who told us that the city of Mendoza would be raging tonight for National Friends Day. ‘What a fun concept,’ I thought. After our feast of exceptional beef and Chakana Malbecs, I asked Gabriel if he could guide me through the streets of Mendoza to witness Argentines observing this cool holiday. We walked up the main strip of cafes and bars where jovial amigos and amigas were gathered at tables outside laughing, in some cases exchanging small gifts, and enjoying cocktails and of course, delicious Argentinean wines. On our outing Gabriel serendipitously bumped into and hugged two amigos.
Friendship Day was originally promoted in the US in 1930 by Joyce Hall, the founder of Hallmark Cards, but it died out in the 1940s. While we may spend plenty of time with our friends here at home in similar scenes of what I saw on National Friends Day in Mendoza, the day is designed to promote and reflect on camaraderie and a culture of peace. July 20th was proposed by Argentinean teacher Enrique Febbraro because it was the day the entire World united to watch the first man to ever land on the moon in 1969.
I’ve decided to begin my own campaign to revive National Friends Day in the US. And my celebrations will most certainly include my inspiration, a delicious bottle of Chakana Malbec.
P.S. Check out my offer of Chakana's 2011 Maipe Rosé of Malbec live on Lot18 now!