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Let South America come to you #2 For those with a good taste

When you can not go to South America, why do you not bring South America into your home?

For those with a good taste

From waterfalls to wines

South America is the continent that is home to a vast array of rich cultures, history, traditions, food, and once-in-a-lifetime places to visit.

Angel Falls, Venezuela | © David Kjelkerud / Flickr

When you would love to go exploring South America it would not be bad to prepare yourself and to get already some taste of it before you take the long voyage. A place you have to visit is the waterfall in the Guiana Highlands in Bolívar state, southeastern Venezuela, on the Churún River. Before you would like to fly over Angel Falls, the highest waterfall in the world, coming in at over 3000 feet it would not be bad to feel a bit like an angel tasting all sorts of well-tasting goods from that continent, which will bring you to the seventh heaven.

You also do not have to go straight away, deep in the Amazonian rainforest to find a melting pot of indigenous traditions and a perfect place to see centuries of Peruvian history and culture coming together.

Before you would go to the Belén Market, the largest traditional market in the Peruvian Amazon, and a place where visitors can taste and see the food, textiles, and wares of the region, on the web there is a place where you already can have a peep-show of some handicrafts from the South American continent

Mendoza, Argentina

Wines

As state and local governments order people to stay home to limit the spread of the virus, toilet paper and canned goods are not the only items people are snapping up. Wine sales at wine shops are soaring and large, highly-distributed wine brands are struggling to keep wines on the shelf.

Meanwhile, small wineries that depend on restaurants and on-site sales are trying to figure out how to survive. The question on the mind of everyone in the wine business is what will things look like on the other side when they get the virus under control.

Having poached the Malbec grape from Europe and turned it into a roaring superstar, Argentina is rightly celebrated for its wine producers.

The Mendoza region, in the western central part of the country in the Cuyo region, dominates Argentina’s wine scene. It enjoys prestige for the wine produced on its vineyards. It also can be refreshing to see genuine contenders from elsewhere, such as the Bodegas Callia from the San Juan province.

In the Mendoza region, you may find one of the original Bordeaux grape varieties from the Bordeaux region of France, namely Malbec. Because grown on a higher altitude then in France the wines tend to have a higher level of acid, which makes them ideal to go with the Argentinian meat.

The Cabernet Sauvignon which was introduced in Argentina in the 19th century by the French agricultural engineer Michel Amié Pouget. He further introduced Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Malbec vines to Argentina and founded the first vine nursery and agricultural school in his new country.

Located in the Tulum Valley, Bodegas Callia aims to produce the best Shiraz in Argentina.

Since we cannot go to South America, we will have to bring the heat and sun here. And what better way to do so than with a few good bottles of wine? Certainly when those wines earn it to keep on the palate.

Navarro Correas Cabernet Sauvignon 2016The dry, hot climate of Argentina is really great for growing Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes ripen very easily, so these Cabs are almost always filled with tons of blackberries, cherry, pepper and vanilla with a little bit of mint. If you like rich, full-bodied wines with dark fruit flavours, then you might want to try a Cabernet Sauvignon from Navarro Correas Private Collection which since a few moths you now easily can get over here in Europe by an excellent deliverer.

When you are looking for a nice rich tempting wine with a big, nutty, creamy nose or bitter cherry awash with orange peel and gravely splendour, you might find it at Pequeña SudAmerica.

As the second largest country in South America and the eighth largest in the world by land mass, Argentina could even offer much more in case the country would have been more organised and receiving more support from those in charge.

Beers

Beer Trial PackStylistically Argentina is perhaps the most European of Latin American countries, especially when it comes to cuisine. You can find the traditional wineries (the world’s fifth biggest wine producer) and you also may find the principal beer types which were based on central European styles of lager and wheat beer. It is impossible to taste every beer produced in South America, Pequeña Sudamerica offers a very good selection of 6 or 7 selected beers in a trial pack.

The historical influences in South America which have created a cuisine that offers a variety of delicacies has also brought some very, very tempting sweets around the corner. For diabetics is it not always so easy, because a lot of sweets and drinks are very sweet.
But nimble fingers and kitchen princesses can already prepare a lot for those who want a taste of that delicious South America.

Craftworks

It might not always be easy to bring Argentinian wines over to Europe, but for traditional artisans, it is even more difficult to get their goods over to Europe. Those craftsmen in particular have serious difficulties to virtuously market their products.

Carla Scalia

Carla Scalia

With corona-restrictions the Argentinian Carla Scalia, now living in Belgium, could only go twice to her home country to bring some beautiful handicrafts from her family and friends with her. Therefore those craft works are very limited. And because they are not made in a factory they are all individual pieces of art, which makes them special. This makes that when you might see some sculptures or drawing on the website, next time you come onto the website they already might be gone.

Mate Alados by Noelia Álvarez

All the South American accessories Pequeã SudAmerica is offering are hand made by local artists, and by selecting it properly at the artist’s workshop this is how they ensure to always offer you the best quality. As such they present mate cups of the best quality in an exclusive and unique design, hand painted and varnished for complete protection.

You also shall be able to find a selection of original accessories for your kitchen and table.

From the southern United States to northern South America the Lignum vitae, with its evergreen leaves can be found. As a source of a very hard and heavy wood that is brownish green in colour, the wood being relatively waterproof because of its high fat content, makes it ideal for making kitchen utilities. It is used to make pulleys, shafts, axles, and bowling balls, and Pequeña SudAmerica is offering the tropical wood in magnificent small objects, like food and toothpicks.

Argentinian artist Noelia Álvarez, who has performed incredible exhibitions in San Rafael, Mendoza and Buenos Aires in Argentina and Catalonia, Spain, is not only responsible for a great variety of mate cups with a unique design. Although her work focuses on paintings with incredible designs and details, Noelia has taken her passion to the limit and from painting large murals and paintings in acrylic on canvas, she designed very beautiful and exclusive wooden mate cups.

For sure, the founders of the webshop Pequeã Sudamerica took great risks to start their business to bring Sud American articles to the European continent, whilst there was and still is a Coronacrisis, limiting them going back and forth to Argentina to contact local traders, to support them and offer them a fair price for their goods. At the moment Carla Scalia her parent’s wines are not yet available, but perhaps this would be made possible in the future (when some good shipping arrangements could be organised).

Pequeña Sudamérica, or “Little South America”, has the goal to make South Americans in Europe taste home again, and get Europeans to experience their great specialities.
In addition to the best known mate tea brands, you shall be able to find a wide variety of drinks, delicacies and accessories.

We would say:

Enjoy some chocolate and dulce de leche products at your afternoon tea.

And enjoy South America at your home in our wet regions, so that the sun (at least) may shine in your house.

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Please find the shop:  https://pequena-sudamerica.eu/en/

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Preceding

Let South America come to you #1 Reasons to stay away from South America

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A look at China wanting to be everywhere in the world

The last two decades we could see how china has more become a hyper capitalist state, it putting all interests in becoming the world-leader in all businesses no matter at what costs. Lots of people had to leave their house because they had to make a place for a great dam or for an immense stadium. Lots of people where put in small apartments with no garden because the government ordered them to move, making place for modern developments.

Nobody can ignore the neo-colonial expansion of China’s post-Mao economic model. The People’s Republic has become an economic superpower that has witnessed continued GDP growth while lifting millions out of poverty.

Head shot of Xi Jinping in 2019. He is wearing a black suit jacket, white shirt and a blue necktie.

Xi Jinping, (°1953), Chinese politician and government official who served as vice president of the People’s Republic of China (2008–13), general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP; 2012– ), and president of China (2013– ).

China wanted to show the world that it is able to restore overland trade routes from China to Central Asia and Europe — the ancient “Silk Road.” In Indonesia, president Xi Jinping of China introduced the concept of a “maritime Silk road,” which is essentially the already well-traveled sea corridor South from China to the Middle East and Europe.  In seven years of implementation, the initiative has become quite controversial, especially in the West.  The controversy is fuelled by a lack of transparency that makes it difficult to get reliable information on the financing involved in the initiative, as well as the specific projects and their terms. There are a growing number of academic efforts, however, to collect and analyse data on ‘The Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI), with a consistent set of findings.

The republic got a lot of African countries in its power by giving them loans and workforce, though many of those Chinese worker were forced to go to work in Africa, often in very bad conditions and months away from their family. At the same time China uses the same colonial tactics of getting as much treasures from those ‘colonies’ as possible, even worse than King Leopold II of Belgium did with the Belgian colonies or other colonial countries did. [Belgium controlled 3 colonies and 3 concessions during its history, the Belgian Congo (modern DRC) from 1908 to 1960, and Ruanda-Urundi (Rwanda and Burundi) from 1922 to 1962. It also had a small concession in China and was a co-administrator of the Tangier International Zone in Morocco. ]

In a smart way the republic of China is gaining more control over several countries widely spread all over the world. By its technological and industrial espionage, it also managed to introduce its ‘own’ technological features in several capitalist countries, having created as such a good stable economic platform or insured economic outlet.

As the owings of developing countries to China have mushroomed debt sustainability is a mounting concern, exacerbated further by the impact of COVID-19 economic shut-downs.  China has given some short-term debt relief but it does not belong to the Paris Club of creditors, and sets its own rules and ethics. By now Beijing has those countries which can’t service their expensive loans in their clamps and power. Question might be if the loans will be converted into strategic extra-territorial acquisitions.

Sri Lanka, as a coveted geopolitical outpost of China, is a case in point. Since the end of the three-decade separatist war there, China’s role in the Indian Ocean has received much attention for its infamous debt-trap led extraterritorial approach. However, within Sri Lanka (and many African countries) the response is mixed – China is both the land grabber, the political influencer, the military supplier and the friendly brother capable of fuelling long-awaited economic growth.

The eyes of China are directed to countries often left aside by Europe and the United States of America, because too poor and of no economical interest because too dangerous or for being highly corrupt and conflict ridden zones. Counties who want some financial help from China may not have alliances with Taiwan or have to stop their relationship with them.

The narrative that China is engaging in problematic debt trap diplomacy has taken off since 2018. Coined the preceding year by an Indian pundit, the term implies that Beijing is purposely striking unsustainable debt-for-infrastructure deals with developing countries along the routes of its ubiquitous Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port, which a Chinese state-owned firm acquired via a ninety-nine-year lease in 2017 after the Sri Lankan government could not service its loans, has been cited repeatedly as evidence that the Chinese government is practicing debt trap diplomacy. Many countries which do not receive enough aid from Europe or the U.S. hope that China will help them. China does not show any interest in the conflicts those countries may have as long as their are enough goods to explore and to transport to China.
Certain countries are starting to see how China wants to integrate in as many countries as it can.

Poorly planned and badly executed energy and infrastructure deals involving China in Latin American countries like Venezuela and Ecuador have increasingly attracted critical headlines. Even in Europe, Beijing’s efforts to finance and build a railway between the capitals of Hungary and Serbia have run into obstacles and sparked backlash.
The colonial expansion of China is something we would have to watch with Argus eyes also investigating how they treat the people who work for their institutions of firms in that country where they so-called offer their help.
The Chinese government and the developing countries it partners with too often have failed to consult sufficiently with the people most directly affected by grandiose infrastructure projects.
The trending Chinese role model is that of an authoritarian goliath that can make its doctors and billionaires disappear while protecting favoured war-crime offenders and military regimes elsewhere, while meanwhile it exploits a lot of people and makes them work as slave labourers while the managers of the company rake in all the big money.

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