Tag Archives: ribera del duero

Living the Dream (Spanish wine and cheese edition)

During the past week, I have attended two very important events related to the products of Spain. Sure, it was a whirlwind of shaking hands, networking, learning about wines that have recently been imported to the US, and receiving the 3000+ year history of Spanish cheese production in a 2 hour class.  Despite all of the work, I am happy to report that both events were ridiculously fun.

 

 

On October 6, I attended Great Match, an event that brings Spanish winery representatives, importers, retailers, and consumers together for a day that begins with workshops and ends with tastings.  This event is unique in that it highlights ALL wine-producing regions of Spain, rather than simply continuing to market already-famous varietals and bodegas.

Blanca gave a wonderful explanation of the history of Spanish cheese production, how Sephardic culture influenced Spanish cheese production, and reasons why many Spanish cheeses are not eligible for import to the US.  Spanish cheese must be an interesting and exciting market to enter; in 1998, there were only 11 DOPs (cheese-producing regions protected by the Spanish government) and now there are 26.

 

Naturally, I asked Blanca where one can purchase Spanish cheeses in Chicago.  My next project: to chat with the owners of these stores and maybe even observe purchasing patterns.  I’d love to sell lesser-known cheeses (such as arzua ulloa from Galicia and gamonedo from Asturias) , but Blanca explained that many people here confuse Mexican manchego and Spanish manchego…it looks there’s some teaching to be done as well!

Restaurant Review: Espana (Larchmont)

We’ve grown so accustomed to tapas being an experience where we pay a lot of money for a little bit of food.  Espana turned this concept on its head by serving us portions that were more than two bites at fair prices.


Patatas bravas, croquetas…getting full yet?


Patatas Bravas – I really don’t like patatas bravas, but these were actually okay.  They actually used aioli, although it was light on the garlic.

 

Sardinas – My favorite of the evening.  They were fresh and grilled in just a little bit of olive oil, which was perfect.  The small side of potatoes prepared Galician style, with paprika was the perfect accompaniment.  I was left with a plate of “cartoon cat” looking fish bones 10 minutes later.

 

Croquetas – There must have been a mix-up, because we ordered croquetas de jamon and received croquetas de pollo?  Not sure how I feel about chicken because the taste just blends into the background, rather than standing out like bacalao does.  These were a little bit sweet and the exterior was slightly overcooked.

 

It was also interesting to see angulas on the menu.  If you call ahead of time, they will prepare them for you – but at $200 for 100g, they don’t come cheap!

 

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Churros y chocolate – the Spanish cure for a hangover.

It was time for dessert – what a tough decision.  Jen and I narrowed it down to churros and filloas.  The churros were amazing.  Not greasy in the slightest, the chocolate was thick and bitter, the caramel for dipping was also great.  As for the filloas – these were also incredible.  The crepes were filled with vanilla custard and drizzled with a red wine reduction.

 

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Filloas – preemptively getting ready for Carnival.


The best part of the evening was receiving a gift card from our waiter.  I can guarantee you that we will definitely be back (and maybe I will finally devise a solution to the Tapas Catch 22).