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Lenn Thompson

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The Bimbo Grape of Valencia – Utiel-Requena’s Bobal

The Bimbo grape? As often happens, it was a fellow guiri who recently introduced me to a new discovery from Spain.  Our German friend brought over a bottle of local wine to our Valencian apartment for dinner.  My Canadian ears heard her German pronunciation of Bobal as boba, which left me wondering… Although there doesn’t seem to be an exact translation for ‘bimbo’ in Spanish, I’ve always thought that boba is pretty close.  So when Anne-Marie happily told us that she had brought a bottle ‘classic bimbo’, I really didn’t know what to expect.  A meager wine in a great bottle maybe?  It just didn’t make sense. Of course I felt like a bobales (nitwit) when I saw the label […]

Valencia’s Paella: May Just be the Most Spanish Dish in Existence

I cringe when I hear people pronounce the word paella with an ‘l’ sound, like this, and not with the ‘y’ sound that it carries in Spanish, like this. But it’s just not always appropriate to jump in with pedantic corrections, especially when the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary offers both as valid alternatives and does nothing to help my case. Then again, trying to be a purist when it comes to paella is close to impossible. Here in my new home town of Valencia, you can’t get away with the first pronunciation (at least not around me), but you won’t find much consensus about paella in general. Too many experts and too many ‘authentic’ recipes make for some interesting debate and […]

New Catavino Correspondant, Ivan Larcome: An Expat’s Exploration of Spain

Editor’s Note: Today, we are very proud to announce a new addition to the Catavino team, Ivan Larcome. A writer by trade, and a Spanish culture enthusiast by passion, I trust he will be bringing you plenty of insightful and witty writing from his current home Valencia, Spain. Welcome Ivan!! My feet first touched Spanish soil in February of 1997.  All that I knew about the country, I had learned in London where I was riding out the winter before strapping on my state-of-the-art, back-breaking backpack and roaming the roads of Europe. I had left Toronto a few months before, and even though I expected to find some connection with the city of my birth (and home for my first […]