Great and credible information with a fresh approach about Portuguese and Spanish wine and food. Not to mention, fantastic info about new trends as well as age-old traditions from the vibrant Iberian peninsula.
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Tag Archives: Gastronomy

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 […]

Friday Feature Photo: Catxoflino – Catalan Cuisine

Photographer: Ryan Opaz Capture Date: September 28, 2013 Location: Costa Brava, Spain About: Catxoflino is your quintessential Catalan surf and turf using anything and everything on hand. Like jazz, it’s the result of pure improve and intuition. Some of the most popular are: calçots (similar to a spring onion) with pork feet and asparagus crayfish, mussels, clams, ribs, beans and meatballs crayfish, mussels, meatballs, sausage and potato goat, lobster, sausage, ribs and aioli And the King of Catxoflinos: cod, pigeon, squid, sausage, potato, egg and wine Great video by Fabian Laine on Catxoflino. Desktop Wallpaper: To download this image, simply right-click on the image and select “save link as” or “save target as”, then select the preferred location on your computer to […]

Friday Feature Photo: Strawberry Tree of Malaga, Spain

Photographer: Svein Erik Larsen Capture Date: December 2011 Location: Zagaleta, Benahavis, Malaga About: The Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree) is ubiquitous in Spain and functions as a bee plant for honey production, and dessert for birds who feast upon its fleshy red fruit. The strawberries are also used to make jellies, jams, cold beverages and liqueurs (such as the Portuguese medronho, a type of strong brandy). Although the photo was taken in Malaga, it’s commonly seen in every corner of Madrid as it’s featured on its coat of arms. Purchase: Please contact us directly if you’re keen to purchase any of Catavino Friday Photo images. Note that the images are not to be reposted on any web site or blog without the express permission of the photographer.

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 […]

Top 10 Things to do in Jerez – Other than Enjoy Sherry!

The history of Sherry is rich. For starters it is one of the oldest wines in the world, introduced to Britain when notorious pirate Drake, plundered Cadiz and filled his decks with over 2000 barrels as a gift for his adored Queen Elizabeth 1st. But prior to all that, the Moors tended the chalky vineyards around their occupied city of Sherish and made their wine of present day Jerez. For centuries, Britain was the main market for Sherry, sending their sons to oversee production- hence the many Anglicized names involved in the industry. A sometimes forgotten fact is that Sherry can only be called Sherry if it is produced within the DO of Jerez- likewise, Champagne can only be Champagne […]

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 […]

Chestnut Season in Portugal

The sound of chestnuts (castanhas) crashing down through branches is one that I always associate with autumn in Minho. Throughout the baking summer, we watched the thick green prickly clusters growing on large majestic trees scattered about the surrounding hill slopes wondering if they would ever ripen. By the middle of October, the clusters turned brown, some splitting open and ejecting their chestnuts, while others fell whole creating a spiny carpet on the ground below. A change in the weather in late October found us bent double against the wind and rain, baskets in hand as we set about gathering chestnuts. Rubbing the soles of our boots over the surface of the shell to split them open we reveled at […]