My big beautiful Sunny was born 22 years ago today.
He was born into my hands and died in my arms 16 years later.
I still miss him, his blue eyes and white toes…
I first met Ana & Teresa of @FlavoursofSpain a year ago when they were doing food & wine research near Sevilla. They really only had a few hours here before catching their plane home to the UK, but that was time enough to meet up for a nice lunch at La Azotea.
This week they are back – on holiday this time – to celebrate Teresa’s sister’s 30th birthday and I was delighted to be invited along to be a part of the festivities. We did an impromptu two-stop tapeo, going first to La Pepona and then finishing the evening at Eslava. As you can see, we ate very well (and this wasn’t even all of it!) including finishing off with Eslava’s amazing MANCHEGO ICECREAM. Wow. But Sixto had a special treat up his sleeve, and came out a bit later with a lovely creamy cake and candle.
As you can see, a wonderful time was had by all, and I hope I’ve convinced the girls that they need to come down to Sevilla more often.
Well, or thereabouts. You may recall that since Luna is a rescue cat I had to choose a day in June to be her birthday and, since both my birthday and Morcilla/Azar’s is on the 7th of the month, this is it. AKA Luna the Loon (or Loonie Tunes), you wouldn’t know at first glance how totally bonkers she is at times. In fact, most of the time she is quite demure and unassuming. Until she goes bonkers. Which I have to admit is quite fun. Weird to think that if I hadn’t gone out for a walk on that September morning I wouldn’t have seen that poster and my pretty blue-eyed Luna wouldn’t be a part of the family. I think we both did very well with that little twist of fate.
Happy Birthday Luna!
Yeah, yeah … I know my birthday was over a month ago. But the thing is, when I had my birthday feast at Vineria San Telmo with Ang & Ryan @JetsLikeTaxis, Eduardo @differentspain and Peter @SevilleConcierge, my friend Pilar couldn’t make it due to health reasons. But now she is feeling better and so we arranged to meet up today and CELEBRATE MY BIRTHDAY again. :)
I’ve known Pili for years and she has been with me through thick and thin – in fact she once gave me a month back when I was too sick on chemo to work. Just because she could. Amazing, right? But Pilar also lives in Los Bermejales… way the fuck far away from the centre of Sevilla, where I live. So it’s always – let’s face it – a pain in the butt to have to go all the way out there. Also, Los Bermejales is not pretty. There’s almost no reason to ever go there except to visit Pilar. Well, almost. There are actually a few very good tapas bars out there. And today we hit up three of them! That hadn’t been the plan, but as we were at our second stop (which was actually kinda mediocre) a tweet from The KilomEATers came through saying we HAD to go to La Doma. And so we did. What a fabulous place. It specialises in MEAT but as Pilar can’t handle meat and cheese these days we opted for some very meaty grilled setas, which were stunning (Sled, you would have loved them). I haven’t put all our tapas in the photo collage, but you can see some of what we enjoyed (the anchovies were sublime). And you can also see my birthday present from Pili… a 30-year-old VORS cream sherry from Gonzalez Byass. OMG.
All in all, quite a fabulous Tuesday. Gonna lie down now…
photos by Sledpress
They say it’s better to give than to receive, and all I can say about that is that I had so much fun putting this together, frustrating glitches notwithstanding, especially as several people ended up ensuring a very happy ending. Some background…
Ever since my Sherry Epiphany on the first World Sherry Day I’ve become intent (obsessed?) about sharing the sherry love in the way I discovered that day was really the best way to learn about sherry… poco á poco, with friends and with a few tapas. And I know that my friend Kate (sledpress) has been intrigued by my now popular Introduction to Sherry tours and also by my many tweets and blog posts about sherry events I end up at and the bodegas that I visit. So when I realised it was going to be Kate’s big 6-Oh birthday in November I decided to send her a selection of my favourites, one bottle for each decade, to begin her sherry education. Which turned out to be a lot more complicated than I thought it would be.
I contacted some of my favourite bodegas, finally settling on the one (which shall remain nameless) that promised me the full range I wanted with no problem of the delivery being made in time for the big day. Well, the big day came and went. I had been constantly checking up on this and each time was told that the order was being processed and there was nothing to worry about. Until the umpteenth email informed me that the order hadn’t actually been placed in the States and instead I would have to send the six bottles from Spain with a shipping cost of 120 euros. WTF? Meanwhile, I had been back in touch with other bodegas and two of them came through big time, giving me the names of their distributors near Kate. BUT, then it turned out that neither had the full range I wanted to send, and one was actually a wholesaler so it didn’t seem like this was going to work out after all as I obviously wasn’t going to buy a case of each sherry. And then a wonderful thing happened. The wholesaler and retail outlet got together and, with their help, this is what Kate received just two days later…
These two bodegas couldn’t be more different. Lustau is one of the largest wineries in the sherry triangle, comprising several bodegas in Jerez and Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Gutiérrez Colosia is family run – and I mean run by the four family members and a couple of employees – in El Puerto de Santa María (remember the video?). But when I got in touch with the people I know at both bodegas they were quick to respond and help me out, as were their fabulous distributors, Elite Wines and UnwinedVA. Special thanks goes to Vanessa at Unwined who – countless emails later – patiently put all this together is that cute green bottle carrier and got it over to Kate’s in time for the weekend. Mil gracias a todos! And now it’s time for me to start educating Kate. This is going to be fun! :)
So this is what five years old looks like. My big handsome Loki on his birthday.
Shortly after I took that photo he decided it was time for a snooze, so here’s another photo of Loki being ROUND, just like in last year’s birthday photo! This could become a tradition…
Happy Birthday my large & lovable galoot!
My pretty Luna is three years old! I had to choose a day in June for her and, since both my birthday and Morcilla/Azar’s is on the 7th of the month, this is it. Looking for a photo of her today I realised that the prettiest of my cats actually gets less “air time” than her housemates. I think because she is less of a show-off, more self-contained. But she is also totally bonkers. Her nickname at casa az is Luna the Loon. This pic doesn’t show her amazing blue eyes, but you can see them on her birthday pics from last year. I chose this photo because it shows her looking all serene like Grace Kelly.
Happy Birthday Luna!