Friday, April 20, 2007

Did you say Tarta or Torta???

As I mentioned in my last post, I am a huge fan of tarts and pastries. A few months after living here in Montevideo, I was enlightened on the difference between a torta and a tarta. I still consistently confuse the two, but on a good day I can remember that a torta is sweet and a tarta is savory. (Unless you are talking about a torta frita, which is neither savory or sweet)

I have to say that tartas have been one of my favourite food finds. There is something very satisfying a homemade tarta and a side salad for lunch. Like anything else, the quality, portion size, and ratio of pastry to filling will vary from location. But basically, it is a thin crust on top and bottom filled with either veggies, cheeses, meats or a selection thereof. I have the convenience and pleasure of a small cafetería within in the Pilates studio where I have been training. In the tiny kitchenette, the chef makes a half a dozen varieties from scratch (starting with her own pastry dough) every week. My favourite tarta is the zuchinni and mushroom. The crust is a mix of white and wheat flour and the filling holding the cooked veggies together is a light creamy sauce. Pictured above are two different varieties. On the left is caprese - mozzarella, tomato and basil. On the right another favorite - a layer of squash, a soft white cheese, and corn. She also makes primavera - tomato, hard boiled egg, jam, and cheese, pasquilini- spinach, egg, and red bell pepper, and the classic - jam and cheese. My time is limited here, so I intend to continue to enjoy my favourite lunch find. I've put in my request for a lesson in the making of a tarta before I leave!

Where to find them:
Most confiterías or panaderías, and the deli section of the grocery store
Quality and variety will vary at each location.
Portions tend to be big, ask for a media porción if you want a light lunch or if you want to try a couple varieties.
(Warning: sometimes the combinations get very creative. I would shy away from jam and cheese with frosting on top or tuna with pineapple!!)
Price $20-35 pesos/porción