Emily, the Vines Marketing Manager, inspired by an article in the Houston Chronicle, turned Friday Night into Noqui Night at the home of several staff members. As the story (at least the story in the Houston Chronicle goes) Noqui, more commonly known outside of Argentina as gnocchi, is traditionally eaten on the 29th of every month because people have little to no cash left (a situation not unique to Argentina). The Argentine twist is that at this event each participant places a peso under his or her dish to bring good luck for the upcoming month.
As any tourism major in Mendoza will tell you, it is better to check these tales than it is to take them at face value. In an attempt to get the local insight into this tradition, I asked a friend if her family made noqui and put pesos under their plates. She had no idea what I was talking about. Her family didn't follow this tradition and she didn't know of any families that did. Her explanation was that she just wasn't superstitious. Of course, we couldn't take the word of this actual Argentine over the word of the Houston Chronicle - Noqui Night was on!
Good thing that we aren't superstitious either - because we really didn't get the traditions correct. Two basic elements of our noqui night violated the traditions and I have to assume cut against whatever good luck should have been coming our way.
First, noqui are supposed to be made from scratch with a group of friends. Our noqui were store bought and Emily didn't really feel the need to encourage the assistance of friends. Our "help consisted of staying out of the kitchen and drinking boutique Argentine wines bought from the Vines of Mendoza wine tasting room.
Second, as far as I could tell no one placed a peso under their plate (I was incredibly busy consuming my body weight in noqui and might have missed something). So, Idon't think we have really made the case for good luck over the next month. On the other hand, Spring is here and life in the Mendoza wine country is breathtaking. How much more luck do we need?
The amount of noqui, complete with three sauces, was astonishing, enough to feed a small army (or about 15 members of The Vines staff).
Eating all of that noqui didn't keep us from eating desert and dancing until dawn - it did alter our dance steps and leave us in a food coma in the morning. And, that is a story for another blog.