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Welsh Tea In Patagonia


wales tea patagonia

They say that the inhabitants of Argentina's “Little Wales Beyond Wales” are more Welsh than the Welsh. The quaint streets of the town of Gaiman, lined with 19th century Welsh cottages, bear names like E. Morgan, Lewis Jones and E. M. Thomas. Sitting at the southern tip of a country known for its succulent steak and swaggering gauchos, Welsh Patagonia is somewhat of a cultural aberration, but certainly one worth experiencing.

The first Welsh settlers landed at Puerto Madryn in July 1865. A visit to one of the local history museums provides a fascinating glimpse into the difficult lives the first Welsh settlers experienced upon arriving in Indian-inhabited and arid Patagonia. Complementing these astounding stories are displays filled with lace costumes, domestic paraphernalia and fading photographs. These colonial leftovers provide poignant insight into the Argentine identity carved out of this solitary spot in the Southern Hemisphere.

Perhaps the best way to experience the Welsh Patagonia culture is to spend an afternoon at one of the cozy local tea houses. Most houses open after three, and one of the best in town is Casa de Té. As you pass through the front door you’ll be greeted by all the trappings of traditional Welsh domesticity: dressers appointed with traditional ceramic ornaments, walls decorated with framed prints and paintings of the old country. Your tea arrives accompanied by a myriad of plates piled high with fresh scones, piping hot apple pie, custard tart, and a seemingly infinite array of the most scrumptious traditional Welsh cakes, from black cake with sultanas to an iced chocolate sandwich sponge.

To work off your meal, wander through the rose-filled gardens located behind the house. Brightly-colored wooden carts lie scattered across the lawn, and in the background broad snow-capped mountains sweep into expansive sun-stroked valleys. The intoxicating scenery is the perfect complement to such a culinary spread, and whether taken as a night-cap or aperitif it is sure to please.

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21 Sep 2010

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