Catavino keeps you current not only with the remarkable wine developments in Spain and Portugal, two of the most dynamic wine producers on the planet, but you'll learn about food trends, new dishes and restaurants and the ancient and modern cultures on the Iberian Peninsula. And you may not notice it, but Catavino also happens to be one of smoothest designed websites you'll have the pleasure of visiting.
Doug Frost MS/MW http://dougfrost.com

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Shopping In Spain: Five Gourmet Spanish Products for Travel

Whenever I fly back home, I send an email to friends and family asking if there is anything in particular they would like from Spain. 95% of the time, the answer is “Jamon!” Of course, what they probably don’t realize (or they do, but just don’t care) that you aren’t allowed to bring back meat or fruit to the US; not unless you want them thrown away right in front of your eyes! The second most requested is wine, but frankly, I am not thrilled at the thought of the bottle breaking in my suitcase, since I’ve seen how the baggage handlers “gently” toss your suitcase onto the plane. Not to say that it can’t be done, as many have […]

Cecina de Leon: Mouthwatering Cured- Smoked Beef from Spain

When my husband’s family goes to Italy for Christmas, Jamon is never missing. Served reverently on a large platter, after having been cooled and aired out, it is passed and eaten immediately. Hence, in the spirit of fantastic flavor, we brought Cecina from Leon – a sublime experience. I was accustomed to ordering it in restaurants, which is typically good, but nothing to rave about; but this Cecina was something different. With a beautiful dark cherry hue, a tender mouth feel, sweet and slightly smoky, it was beyond memorable. Why was this so good?  Let’s cut back to a month earlier…… One of our wedding presents was a weekend in a Parador. These reconverted castles, monasteries or important buildings are […]

Christmas in Spain: How the Natives Dive into the Holiday Season

Christmas in Spain begins the weekend of December 8th on the day of the “Inmaculada” Saint. As Christmas is predominantly a religious holiday in Spain, despite the recent adoption of more western traditions, the days building up to the birth of Jesus and the gift of the Magi are still a time for veneration. If you’re ever in Madrid for this season, and you want to celebrate as the locals do, this guide will help you truly feel, eat and celebrate like a Madrileño! On December 8th, Spaniards from the surrounding pueblos make a pilgrimage to the city center to revel in a time honored tradition, which hardly changes from year to year. The first stop is Puerta del Sol, […]

Truffle Hunting in Spain and Italy: Savoring cultural differences in gastronomy

Have you ever been truffle hunting? Chances are, you haven’t, since the hunt for the truffle is as secretive and elusive as the quest for the Holy Grail.  Professional truffle hunters go to extreme lengths to keep their preferred areas secret, and in recent years, have even been known to poison competitors’ dogs.  Truffles are nature’s most prized fungus. Why? Well, apart from it being a culinary delicacy, the fact that cultivation is extremely difficult, locating it is also hard work. All truffles grow underground, there are no leaves or shoots to give you a clue where you can find it, and some can even be buried up to one meter deep! If you think about it, it’s incredible to […]

Cutting to the Bone: The cultural nuances of butchering meat

It’s 7:30 am, the mist is rolling off the breathtaking Umbrian countryside, and the sun is breaking through the leaves. I sip on my cappuccino and stare at the enormous carcass of a 400lb pig and wonder, how are we going to butcher this enormous beast? We’re staying at a beautiful country inn, just 5km from the border with Umbria, and our mission is to help Giugliano, our charismatic host, in the Spezzatura di Maiale, or as we call it, Butchering the Pig. Our group consists of 15 adults and 8 kids, none of us with butchering experience, but we all love food and everything that goes with it. So, here we all are, bright and early, now coming to […]

The Best Tapas and Wine Bars in Madrid

If you’re eager to taste a wide variety of tapas in Madrid, the one main issue you will have is choosing where to go. Navigating the labyrinthine streets with bars that are absolutely packed with people on both sides of the streets, makes you pause in hesitation wondering which one is best? Well, here is a list of my personal favorites. Some have your traditional fare, while others are more dedicated to certain specialties, such as anchovies or croquetas. Either way, you can’t go wrong, and with tapas, the rule is to have one tapa here, and then mosey on to the next. MADRID CITY CENTER La Anchoíta – Jesús, 4 (Metro: Anton Martin) If you love anchovies, this is the […]

Part 1: Barcelona versus Madrid – An age old gastonomic rivalry

Editor’s Note: Today we would like to introduce Carla Bigio, a passionate chef based in Madrid. But her story is not so simple, originally from Madrid, from an Italian/Colombian mother and a Egyptian/Syrian father, she bounced around the world from the Bahamas to Switzerland before finding herself in the center of Spain whipping up dishes that lights her international soul on fire. Having spent a significant time in Barcelona and Madrid, we asked her feedback on what makes each city the gastronomic giant of Spain. Read Part 2 here. Barcelona-  One woman’s search for traditional food in the birthplace of Molecular Gastronomy From a tourist’s perspective, Spain is Spain, right?  Nothing could be farther than the truth. Barcelona, and Catalonia […]