This is an indispensable tool for those who want to follow, in English, what really goes on in the world of Spanish and Portuguese wines – lively, informative and, most important, first-hand, on-the-scene knowledge!
Victor de la Serna http://elmundovino.elmundo.es

Archive | Gastronomy

RSS feed for this section

Delicious and mouthwatering foods from across Iberia covering restaurant reviews, recipes, food and wine pairing, and the history of Spanish and Portuguese gastronomy.

Catalan Recipe: Bacalao with Samfaina

It isn’t hard to see the cultural connections between Catalonia and France, regardless of the obvious geographic proximity. Recipes, Roman ruins, and modern wine-making techniques have all trickled over the border. Even the Catalan language stems in part from the medieval langue d’oc, echoes of which are still heard today in modern Provençal.  Samfaina is a dish that truly embodies the simplicity of mediterranean cooking; a preparation remarkably similar to the famous, humble ratatouille of Provence. However, Samfaina foregoes the powerful herbs of its neighbor to the north, instead relying more on the subtle qualities of local produce, delicate olive oil, and the pan fond of the sautéed salt cod in the case of this classic recipe, Bacallà amb Samfaina. Bacalao, in […]

Portugal: A vegetarian’s oasis!

Walk into any mercado in Portugal and there will be stalls stuffed with large heads of cabbage, bunches of turnip tops, spinach and the young leaves of rapini. Go out to the Portuguese country-side and you’ll see patches of tall couve portuguesa hovering in the middle of gardens and a strip or two of grelos nearby. This often makes one question, what do the Portuguese do with all these vibrant leafy greens? The use of cabbage and greens are the epitome of peasant food. They became a Portuguese staple because in this climate they grow like, well, weeds! If there isn’t a small plot of land for such things, they are still inexpensive to grab from the local store. These […]

Vejer de la Frontera – The Dining Mecca of Costa de la Luz, Spain

One of the most unexpected thrills of Vejer de la Frontera for a first time visitor is the huge number of eateries hidden away in the beautiful Pueblo Blanco. A further surprise is the impossibility of eating badly in this gastronomic paradise. Vejer doesn’t rely just on summer tourists – there are the regular visitors as well; hence, if the food isn’t good, the restaurant will close. One would be forgiven for comparing Vejer in Cádiz, Spain to Ludlow in Shropshire, UK. Both are out of the way places, off the gourmet map. But interestingly, both have a plethora of spectacularly good eating places which makes Vejer a fab weekend getaway for the food minded. What’s made Vejer an enchanting foodie […]

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 […]

Eggs: Sweet and Savory Portuguese Recipes

Prior to my migration from America to Portugal in 2011, I had often heard of the love affair that the Portuguese have with their eggs, especially when used in their sugar laden sweets. I didn’t really understand that eggs were also loved as additions to savory dishes until I got here and was pleasantly surprised by both the sweet and savory side of the ovos de Portugal. As savory dishes go, I find the egg to be an afterthought, an addition, not the center of attention that they often are in American cuisine. When it comes to ervilhas com ovos escalfados, or peas with poached eggs, that is definitely not the case. If there were no eggs in this dish, […]

The History of the Egg In Portugal: Why Portugese Cuisine Can’t Live Without It

If you ask the Portuguese, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” I would place my bet on the egg. Ovos are found throughout Portuguese cuisine. They’re poached in soups and açordas; fried on top of steaks, alheiras and francesinhas; boiled with fish and mixed into many of their beloved bacalhau dishes; and beaten with sugar and cinnamon in numerous desserts and sweets. Even the Portuguese chicken soup- canja, traditionally includes the boiled yolks of the un-laid eggs still left inside the chicken after its killed! So why does the egg seem to symbolize as much “à portuguesa” as their national anthem in their culture? Where did this love for eggs originate?    This was the question I set out […]

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 […]

Restaurant Cañete: Fun Fine Dining in Barcelona

To find Bar Cañete, head down a bleak street branching off the Ramblas of Barcelona into the heart of the lower Raval. Among Russian import markets, used cell phone stores and corner groceries, Bar Cañete and Cañete Mantel (the fine dining side of the same kitchen) stand strong as bright spots for people in search of excellent, honest food and a convivial atmosphere in these less-than-vibrant economic times. On a personal note, it was the ‘historic’ location of my first fine dining experience upon moving to Barcelona, and since then, it has only continued to impress. A meal at Cañete is lively, entertaining, and—most importantly—satisfying in the way dinner at the countryside farmhouse of a retired three-star chef would be […]

A Luxurious Day of Food, Wine and Romance in Barcelona

Barcelona is an international, cosmopolitan city that blurs the lines between quaint Mediterranean port and modern, bustling metropolis. The life style of a vacation by the sea in Barcelona is sublime, with the important things coming first—food, fun, and relaxation. Find pleasure and balance between the constant stimuli of the urban landscape and the delight of discovering ancient secrets around every cobble-stoned corner. The heart of the city is small and best seen on foot, and as you walk hand in hand along avenues that have seen over two millennia of romance—among flower stalls and medieval archways—you too will surely carve your own, lasting moment into the history of Barcelona. Fore this is a city that vibrates with countless love […]

Taberna do Largo: A Personal Tribute to Courageous Women

Taberna do Largo is an unassuming little wine bar nestled in the historic district of Porto; which approximately a year ago, I ducked in when taking refuge from the freezing rain. Music gently played over the speakers, the candles flickered on the tables in the back and a sweet young woman with a soft Portuguese accent whispered across the bar, “If you need help choosing something to drink or eat, just ask.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had just met Teresa, one of the three lovely muses that owned Taberna do Largo. Blowing a thick lock of hair out of her face, she smiled and pointed to a table in the back. “Feel free to sit […]