Most of you know how much my life has been enriched by Twitter. It’s not only a helpful social media business tool, but – more importantly – it has connected me with some of the most special people in my life.
A few weeks ago my friend Thane @ThanePrince (yes, I also met her on Twitter) put me in touch with her friend Edward @TimeToCook, saying he was planning a visit to Andalucía and that we should meet. That day finally came this week and the plan was that we would meet up for a drink before they headed off to dinner at Tribeca. As you can see, I ended up being invited to dinner, and what a splendid meal it was. Wonderful food and wine, and even better company.
It was like an evening out with old friends and I was sorry to see it end. But of course Ed and I are now keeping in touch via Twitter and, who knows, I may end up visiting them all in New York some day. Or maybe we’ll meet up in London with Thane. You never know…
A bit of a déjà vu experience, as Peter and I were just in Cádiz a couple of weeks ago during Carnaval Chiquito, but other than a couple of the “must dos” we ended up having quite a different experience. Also it was the first visit for Jane and John, and we were happy to show them around. After a quick trip to the central market, this was the rest of our day…
cold beer o’clock at La Sorpresa
snacks and sherry at Casa Manteca
tapas at Antonio Del Palillo and El Faro followed by a walk to La Caleta Beach
picatostes at Café Royalty
I had been wanting to visit Bodegas Luís Pérez for a while, and finally got my chance on this trip to Jerez with friends Peter @SVQConcierge and John and Jane Bachner King. Although firmly inside the Marco de Jerez, it’s not, in fact, a sherry bodega, but rather produces red wines, once just as important as the white Palomino Fino sherry grape, but lost long ago for a variety of reasons, the coup de grace being delivered by the phylloxera virus that devastated European vines at the end of the 19th century.
The bodega was founded in 2002 by Luis Pérez, former enologist at Domecq and professor of chemistry at Cádiz university, when he bought the Hacienda Vista Hermosa, a farmhouse on the hill at the top of the Pago de Corchuela outside of Jerez, and began the work of planting the new vineyards with red grapes. These days the bodega is mostly run by the Pérez children, Willy and Fátima. Willy’s new project is producing vintage unfortified sherries, as they used to be made before the trade and shipping demands of the last few centuries that led to the development of the present day solera and criadera ageing system. I tasted some of these sherries at the Cuatro Gatos Wine Fest a couple of weeks ago and they are very special indeed.
Back in November 2015 I had the pleasure of finally meeting Ana & Simon (aka Mr & Mrs O), and we have stayed in touch since then via Instagram & Twitter, where we first met. So I was really excited to find out they were coming back to Sevilla for a quick weekend getaway, and yesterday I was once again there to meet them when they arrived at their hotel.
The weather was not in our favour, but luckily the RAIN let up for the entire evening. We began our tapeo with starter tapas at the fabulous Becerrita, near the hotel, before making our way to La Sal in barrio Santa Cruz for Almadraba red tuna. Then somehow it was suddenly a good idea to have more jamón for “dessert” at Las Teresas along with crisp, dry manzanilla sherry, and we finished with a sweet sherry nightcap at Vineria San Telmo.
Aside from the great food and wine we shared, we also shared plenty of stories and laughed a lot… the time just flew by. Can’t wait to do it all again. xx
tapas at Becerrita
almadraba tuna at La Sal
To be honest, you couldn’t pay me to go to Cádiz during Carnaval, so when Peter and I made a last minute decision to ditch El Puerto for a Sunday afternoon in Cádiz I was relieved that the celebrations had finished the previous weekend. Or so I thought! When we got to Hostel Casa Caracol to drop off the suitcase (a great service, and just a short walk from the train station) the guy at reception informed us that we had arrived just in time for Carnaval Chiquito, a kind of “last hurrah” until next year. Oh boy…
Our plan had been to do a three-stop tapeo at some of our favourite bars, as well as take a walk along the beach, and then stop in at the splendid Cafe Royalty before catching the train home. And well, we did manage all that, but both the streets and the bars were absolutely heaving (though to be honest, the bars are probably that busy on a Sunday anyhow). We totally lucked out with the weather, with the predicted rain holding off until after we got home, and warm enough to walk around in shirtsleeves. So it turned out to be a great afternoon and made me realize that I really have to visit Cádiz more often.
one perfect lacy tortillita de camarones at El Faro
fabulous picatostes at Café Royalty
La Caleta beach and the Cádiz Balneario
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A rather unusual event this week, being a combined cata by Bodegas Izadi, and a photography class given by Vicugofoto, which took place at the Restaurante Maria Trifulca, at the Triana end of the Isabella II bridge.
The building is an obvious landmark, with a history interesting enough to be worth a short digression. It was originally built in the early 1920s as the offices and boarding point for the steam river boats to Sanlúcar de Barrameda at the mouth of the river, but after some 50 years of operation it could no longer compete with cars, buses and trains. In the 80s it was converted into use as a restaurant (El Faro), and a few years ago passed into new hands as the Maria Trifulca. The name comes from the river beach near Heliopolis which was hugely popular during the 20s and 30s, until an explosion in the nearby gunpowder factory resulted in a great tragedy and the beach was closed down.
The photo class was quite basic, more a demonstration of various tools for lighting and other technical aids than about technique and framing. There were ten of us participating and we each took turns trying to get the “money shot” of the various dishes that were brought to us.
This was followed by the wine tasting organized by Bodegas Izadi, a relatively small Rioja winery founded in 1987, with food pairings prepared by the restaurant.
We started with Larrosa, a very nice fresh rosada which was probably my favourite, paired with two types of nigiri. Next up was Blanco FB, a fruity white that nicely paired with salmon tartare. Then onto the Reds. A 2015 Criaza with char-grilled octopus (probably the best food of the evening), followed by Selección with the main course of grilled presa Ibérica, and finally El Regalo, another red, with the cheesecake dessert.
Thanks to everyone who helped organize the event, and the staff at Maria Trifulca.
José, Delia, Cinta & Ana
About a year or so ago I started also offering my Market & Tapas Tour on We Love Tapas. Since then Cinta, and now José, have joined the WLT team and so yesterday we did a “walk through” training session so that they could also start doing this tour. There have been a couple of changes since I first started doing these, including a lovely collaboration with Ana, the owner of Lama La Uva, one of the most unique wine shops in Sevilla. Delia has been doing the market tours for awhile now, but it was great that she could stop by the shop for a glass of sherry with us. It’s a total pleasure – and honour – working with these guys.
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Last night I was invited to a wine tasting and tapas pairing at newly opened Hedonia Tapas & Brasas. The tasting was led by my friend, wine expert, journalist and author Javier Compás. It was a real treat to watch Javier in action, and as the wines were all new to me, I also learned a lot from his casual and informative presentation. The food pairings were all very good, and it was a nice introduction to a new tapas bar. Great to see some of the local foodie gang too. Thanks for a lovely evening Hedonia and Javier!
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Last night’s fabulous Valentine’s Day dinner at La Cochera del Abuelo. Many thanks to our hosts Cinta Romero and Estela Coll, and to chef Francisco Jiménez. It was a magical and delicious evening.
- Foe micuit with lacquered mango and beef reduction
- Presa Ibérica carpaccio with rocket in black garlic vinaigrette
- Cream of roasted pumpkin, apple tatín, crispy onion
- Hake in prawn batter with rum and raisin alioli
- Aged beef tenderloin, mushroom mille-feuille, potato purée
- Chocolate coulant with passionfruit