I really love Catavino – it’s such an informative and innovative source of information on Spanish & Portuguese wines. The food of the region is key, but it’s just as vital to know about the great wines available too. This is the place to find out!
Jose Pizzaro http://www.josepizarro.com

Tag Archives: Catalonia

Malvasia de Sitges: A grape born from mercenaries and knights

Hundreds of years before Catalunya became part of Spain, the land was under the control of the Crown of Aragon; a kingdom that stretched from the Iberian peninsula through southern France, modern-day Italy, and as even as far as Greece. Without a standing army, conquests and vengeance were exacted in the name of The Crown (our whoever had the gold) by troops of ruthless, long-haired, fast-moving Catalan mercenaries called almogavars. In 1303, led by the infamous Roger de Flor—an Italian-born Templar Knight, commander of the feared “Catalan Company”, and namesake of my first (temporary) address here in Barcelona—a troop of almogavar foot soldiers set sail for Constantinople to protect the city from the invading Ottoman Turks. They were under the pay of the Byzantine […]

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 […]

The Calçotada: From Spain to Your Backyard

Fire up the barbecues and grab your friends. No, it is not Memorial Day weekend or a celebration of the first day of spring. Winter marks the time of year when Cataluña celebrates the almighty calçot. It is no secret that Catalans love to party, and the annual calçotada is just one more excuse to gather with friends to eat, drink, and celebrate. Fortunately, this is one unique culinary tradition which can be duplicated here at home. Calçots originate from a variety of scallion from Lleida (Lerida), Spain. Although the origin is disputed, one of the most widely accepted accounts is that they were developed by a peasant farmer from the southern Catalan town of Valls (castells, the human towers, […]

Interview with Catalunya Tour Operator: Nico James

Editor’s Note: Nico James has been a long time friend of Catavino. A daring entrepreneur, with a wicked sense of humor, he’s been our “go to” man whenever we need a fabulous tour of the Penedes. Today, we’ve asked Nico to provide you a little background on what drove him not only to Spain, but to wine.    What is your background and how did you end up in Spain and working in the wine industry? Before I was bitten by the wine bug, I was working in Sales for a multinational company, but ever since I returned to Spain in 1999 food and wine was always top of my agenda. Towards the end of 2004 I was set on working […]

Big Day Out in Barcelona: What to do in a very magical town!

Editor’s Note: Today we feature experienced travel writer, Duncan Rhodes, who is the Editor of Barcelona-life.com who has kindly offered to shared some ideas on how to spend a day (and night) in the company of The Great Enchantress. Chances are, if you’re a regular reader of this blog and you’re on your way to Catalonia, there’s only one thing on your mind. You’re on a pilgrimage to the fertile plains of the Penedès and the Holy Grail looks suspiciously like a large wine glass full to the brim with the seductive effervescence of the region’s famous sparkling wine. But even if you’re a single-minded devotee of Dionysus it’s well worth taking a break from the vineyards and cellars which […]

Rovellones: “Golden Fungus of the Gods”

I often joke that I live in Spain exclusively for its cured Jamon. It is one of the few things that is truly singular to Spain. Granted, you can now buy it in London, and in limited qualities in the USA, among other countries; but in truth, it is only at its best when fresh and served from the rafters of a smokey bar in the side streets of Spain. Jamon Iberico de Bellota is a priceless experience, but there just might be one more Spanish delicacy you can add to the list: Spanish mushrooms! Now, I know that other countries have their unique mushrooms, and if I lived elsewhere, I would most likely argue their greatness as well. Having […]

La Vuelta a España Stages 10-12: Cava, Penedes & Costers del Segre

In our next installment of La Vuelta a España (check out the first and second installments), we’re now coming across one of our favorite regions in Spain, Catalunya. And having spent the last 3 days doing a massive road trip through the designated route of La Vuelta, the cyclists should be in for a thrilling adventure, not to mention a jaw dropping view! So what makes Catalunya the absolute treasure chest it is? Well, first and foremost, one must understand that this is not Spain. For those of you who thought otherwise, realize that the region has fought tooth and nail to retain its unique culture, history and language after decades of oppression under Franco (1936-1975). Catalan, the official language […]

What Wine Pairs with Spain’s Victory in the 2010 World Cup?!

Spain defeated the Netherlands by 1-0 to win its first World Cup title! Andres Iniesta scored the winning goal in extra time. The last victory they celebrated was in 2008 when they won the European Championship, ending a 44 year barren spell. Coming off a Catalan independence protest here in Catalunya yesterday, it’s quite interesting to have our very Catalan neighborhood now running around with Spanish flags and cheers of “Espana” roaring in the background. Hey, at least we’re all getting along For us, it’s Octopus for dinner tomorrow….Congratulations Spain! Let us know what wine you’re toasting Spain’s incredible victory with! Cheers, Gabriella and Ryan

Spanish Bullfighting: The Romance, the Drama and the Traditional Recipes

Recently, the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia (or Catalunya) voted to ban bullfighting; which consequently, provoked me to write an article. Since moving to Spain in 2005, I have attempted to understand the “corrida de toros” – the bullfight. I have tried to learn as much as possible, both the pro and con; and yes, I confess I have attended quite a few corridas. Portugal has its own bullfighting traditions, as does France and Latin America. There is even a type of bullfight on the Zanzibari island of Pemba, off the east coast of Africa – a relic of Portuguese colonialism. However, I’m only familiar with the way it is done in Spain. (Photo by Ferminius) In the part of […]

Restaurant Review: Costa Brava – Heritage And Passion: The Recipe For Success

“I was frying cabrito [baby goat] when I was 13 years old,” Javier tells me when I ask him how he got started in the restaurant business. Javier Gonzalez, the owner of Costa Brava Spanish Restaurant and Tapas Bar in San Diego, is truly a blend of Northern Spain and Southern California. With his thick brown hair pulled back in a pony tail and an extreme passion for his homeland and restaurant, Javier and I set out on a two and a half hour journey that would take us from Santander to San Diego and back again. I was happy to sit back and enjoy the ride – the incredibly enjoyable ride. Santander is the seaside capital of the autonomous […]