You know how it goes… you have that one extra glass of wine at lunch and then on your way home you see something in a shop window that catches your eye. Luckily it wasn’t shoes (that never works out well – tipsy feet are much less fussy than sober ones) but these super cute, and totally unnecessary plates. Actually it’s a fish dinner plate, a fish soup bowl, and two smaller plain blue plates in between. They make me smile. What’s the best/worst thing you’ve ever bought while under the influence?
That’s the three of us – Caroline, Sonja and me – getting nicely squiffy last Sunday afternoon in Sevilla. Where to start with these two? Caroline first got in touch with me mid-September 2011, asking about booking a tapas tour for the end of that month. And since then they just keep coming back! To date they have taken THREE different tapas tours with me. The last couple of visits we just ended up meeting for tapas, and they have always been happy to help me out doing Tapas Research. Which is really what we were doing on Sunday. Honest. So five visits in total. So far.
On this occasion Caroline was here to celebrate a Very Important Birthday and she had invited 15 other friends to join her. I helped her with organizing the group dinners, and then we finally were able to get together, just the three of us. It’s funny how time goes by but then you meet up with people again and it just feels so comfortable. Anyhow, I am now being threatened with a SIXTH VISIT 🙂 in September. Can’t wait. xx
Vermouth (or vermut in Spanish and vermú in Andalú) has become a big deal lately, with vermouth bars popping up around town and now almost every sherry producer coming up with their very own “special recipe” version, blending sherries with botanicals and fragrant plants. Bodegas Lustau was one of the first with their red vermouth (amontillado and PX). So I was happy to be invited to the launch party for Lustau’s new white vermouth (fino and moscatel) for two reasons. First, to try the wine, which is delicious. And second, to finally go inside the
most hideous eyesore tallest tower in Sevilla, where the event was being held. Although we were only about half-way up, on the 21st floor, the views were quite spectacular, but I’m afraid my opinion of the Torre Sevilla hasn’t changed.
Fun event though! As usual I got to see and chat with many of the usual suspects who attend these things, as well as make some new contacts. A nice evening. You can read more about the event (more pics too!) over on the Azahar Sevilla blog.
I kind of hit the ground running after getting back from my London Getaway. I had already planned to get together with Jane & John and Sue & Monty, but before those meet ups took place I had the pleasure of being introduced (via email by Annie Manson) to Fran & Kaz Kuzui. Fran & Kaz were travelling around Andalucía, doing some research on Japanese influence on southern Spanish cuisine, and would also be spending a couple of days in Sevilla, so we arranged to meet the evening after I got home from London. They had also tried to meet up with my friend Tomoko in Jerez, but there had been an email glitch, and so I invited Tomoko to come and stay over so we could all go out together.
It was a fabulous evening. Fran is a native New Yorker who now lives in Tokyo with her husband Kaz. Aside from being film producers and art lovers, they are both also food & wine lovers, and as usual Sevilla worked its magic on them. By the end of the evening we had all become fast friends and F & K were already talking about planning a return visit to Andalucía. Come back soon! xx
Last year I attended the first edition of Vinos de España – Una Pasión that was held in Sevilla and had a lovely time. I mean really, who can resist the prospect of being able to “visit” over 45 bodegas in one day? This time I did my best to branch out and try some new stuff, starting off with white wines (before hitting the reds), and was pleasantly surprised by wines from different regions that I wasn’t familiar with. THEN I bumped into Alex, another sherry educator, and after that we kind of gravitated to the sherry room and got stuck in there. Ah well… it was a wonderful afternoon. And as always great meeting up with sherry friends.
So there I was – as usual – making last minute bodega visit plans via Twitter and WhatsApp the day before my trip… and mostly that worked out, except that two of the bodegas I wanted to visit weren’t available at such short notice. Really, it was probably enough seeing five bodegas in two and a half days, but I am always left wanting more. I think I might plan a longer stay in Jerez soon and make day trips to Sanlúcar and El Puerto while there, and keep it down to one bodega a day. Well, maybe two now and then… 😉
This time the bodegas were all very special in their own way, as bodegas tend to be, but there were also a couple of totally blow-me-away moments. I’ll write about this more over on my BRAND NEW Sherry Educator pages on Sevilla Tapas. But please be patient, because it may take awhile to get them set up properly. You can have a look now, but things are very much still “under construction”.
Meanwhile, a sneak peak of where I visited this time…
It’s going to be a very sherry month while I prepare for the Big Event in London. And what better way to start my extra practice than with my friend Silvia, a sommelier, fellow sherry educator, and daughter of a master sherry blender? What’s going on here is simply helping me focus on what I am able to identify and giving that structure.
Aside from doing something similar to this on a daily basis (either at bars or at home) I will also be going to as many tastings as possible. That includes three sherry tastings (two in Sevilla, one in Jerez) over the weekend being given by different bodegas , and a getaway to Sanlúcar mid-month to visit bodegas there. At the moment it seems a bit daunting, but now with “extra added structure” thanks to Silvia, I can take things step by step.
Love it when stuff like this happens. I went out late morning to run some errands, and a bit of shopping at the market for a dinner party with friends, and then I stopped off at Lama La Uva (my favourite new wine shop) to pick up some wine. There was a woman there talking with shop owner Ana Linares and so I politely waited my turn and perused the shelves… and then I realized this woman had a couple of olive oil bottles out on the counter, as well as the tell-tale dark blue olive tasting glasses… it could only be an OLIVE OIL TASTING.
So of course I butted in and joined the conversation, and I could tell that this other woman was NOT Spanish. And then the penny dropped and I said… YOU’RE ALEXIS!
This mystery olive oil woman, founder of The Olive Oil Workshop, has been on my radar for AGES, and I’d been meaning to get in touch and plan to meet up sometime. But now I’m glad that never happened. Because meeting Alexis exactly how we met was… well, perfect.
What was supposed to be a quick wine purchase segued into an hour long chat including cheese, olive oil and wine… and meeting a new friend. Both Alexis and I are keen to work with the fabulous Ana, and maybe even with each other! The one true thing is… get three dynamic women together over a glass of wine, all talking about possibilities… I reckon only amazing things will come of this. Also, it was fun.
International food truck Le Streeter opened in the Corte Inglés Gourmet Experience back in December but with so much going on the Official Opening Party finally happened tonight. Cuban music, wine and snacks, cocktails and dancing… a fun way to spend a Saturday night, that’s for sure.
So okay, it was almost a month late (through no real fault of either myself or Pilar) but better late than never. Today we finally managed to get together for lunch and celebrate Pilar’s birthday, which has become a bit of a tradition over the years.
This time we went to the always fabulous Vineria San Telmo and, not only was Pilar sung to by the staff when her candle lit birthday, erm, pie arrived, another client came over to us and said it was HIS birthday too, and gave Pilar a kiss. Great food and wine (including sherry), cosy ambiance… a lovely afternoon with a lovely friend.