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Tradition Meets Modernity: New Ideas for Old Tapas (Part I: Gazpacho)

Ask anyone, “What does Spain mean to you?” And they will quickly respond, “bullfighting, flamenco and tapas”. Spain’s overcoat is woven in tradition, and it is proud of that heritage – as it should be. Since the sunset of the Franco era, Spain has catapulted into the present-day without losing sight of centuries of tradition. Today it is almost impossible to find someone who is unfamiliar with El Bulli or Ferran Adrià, our Master of Gastronomic Modernity. Fortunately, one does not need to create a liquid olive or culinary foam to create a modern spin on the tapas of Spain’s past and present. My humble attempt to do just this caused me to focus on three of my all-time favorite […]

Spanish Food and Wine Pairing Dinner in San Diego

I recently enrolled in an advanced food and wine pairing course at a local university. The one-day course consisted of a full day of pairing food and wines – many of which you would never expect (our first pair was Cava and potato chips – don’t knock it till you try it!). Throughout the day we stressed over our final exam – to create a six-course menu with paired food and wines. We were to present in front of the class and explain our rationale behind our choices. Almost immediately, my mind drifted towards creating an incredible Spanish menu. Six hours later, Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain) was a reality. If faced with the challenge of creating a Spanish […]

Bar Roure – Tapas and Vermouth at Their Best

Finding a tapas bar that you don’t just want to visit occasionally, but rather frequent on a daily basis, is rare. Often places like these are considered a “treat” to experience, a unique location to either impress friends or that prepare a specific dish incredibly well. Bar Roure is both to me. Located in the Gracia neighborhood of Barcelona, Bar Roure sits near a small forgotten park, on a street that claims 2 Korean restaurants(probably the only 2 in BCN), where a small angular street converge together in a random haphazard fashion. Having first visited approximately 4 years ago to meet a potential Catavino contributor, someone who never contributed beyond inspiring this post,  I’ve since returned to this incredible treasure […]

Iberian Spotlight: Seville Orange Marmalade

Editor’s note: Everyday, we come across fantastic articles on an Iberian food, wine or cultural experience by a blogger. Some are based here in Spain and Portugal, while others are chiming in halfway around the globe with a new Portuguese recipe or Spanish wine. So in the spirit of sharing quality content, we’re featuring a section called, “Iberian Spotlight”, which highlights articles we feel are too great to pass by. Many of these bloggers aren’t getting the recognition they deserve, and by spotlighting them, we’re hoping to show added appreciation for their effort! Today’s featured blogger is Nani Steele of the blog, My Nepenthe Book who wrote a fabulous post on Seville Marmalade to compliment our post on Spanish Oranges! […]

Traditional Catalan Dish: Spanish Sausage, Spinach and Garbanzo Beans

Spain is synonymous with cured Jamon Iberico, olives and sharp Manchego cheese; but let’s not forget that it’s also the birthplace of a wide variety of sausages. Since the dawn of time, Spaniards have mastered the art of using, salt, spices and fresh air to preserve and cure their meats; and as centuries passed, their creativity blossomed, instigating an array of chorizos, salchichones, morcillas, butifarras, etc. to be eaten alone or with a traditional regional dish. Last night, with my husband (and chef) in London, I needed to don my (erm..his) apron and fashion a few tapas dishes for an impromptu dinner. And although I’m not a die-hard carnivore, I altered my fleshy green side to incorporate some rich Spanish […]

Top 10 Tips for Dining Out in Portugal

Dining out is by far one of my favorite things to do in my free time, as you can eat and drink quite well in Portugal at a very reasonable price! There are multitudes of local restaurants to choose from, even in the tiniest villages; and it doesn’t even matter which one you pick, as they all virtually meet the same expectations in quality, price, service and selection. This makes it challenging to have a less than stellar dining experience, which is probably why the Portuguese, and I, eat out so often. However, there are certain cultural tendencies in the local restaurant scene that remain unknown to the average tourist; and a simple miscommunication in one of these mores could […]

A Portuguese Thanksgiving Complete with Port Cranberry Sauce

For the past two years, I haven’t been able to return home for Thanksgiving. It was difficult enough that I couldn’t share the experience with my family, but adding to my despair, Thanksgiving doesn’t exist in Portugal. Well, that is until now. I decided with gusto last year, that I was going to have Thanksgiving one way or the other, even if I had to cook the whole meal myself. So I started telling some friends about the holiday, and it’s amazing food culture, suggesting that they might be interested in sharing in this holiday with me. Many Portuguese have hardly ever heard about Thanksgiving, but from the delicious displays they’ve gawked at in movies, they gladly accepted the invitation […]

Traditional Portuguese Bread: Investigating the Various Styles and Prepartions of Pão

One of the most inviting smells in the world is that of warm, fresh-baked bread! On many an evening, sitting on my balcony, I am greeted to this mouth-watering aroma drifting on a warm current over the neighborhood from the local bakeries preparing the next morning’s supply. Bread baking in Portugal is just as an important part of the culture as is wine, cheese and pastries. And even though most Portuguese consume all of these on a daily basis, bread is the only one that plays an integral part to every meal, consisting of the entire meal in some regions! It’s also safe to say that encountering stale, unappetizing bread is a rarity when dining at a restaurant or cafe, […]

Cozinha Portuguesa Vegetariana: Eating Vegetarian in Portugal

Regardless of where you are in the world, someone wants to know,  “Are there vegetarian options available?.” When I first think about Portuguese cuisine, vegetarian or vegetables are definitely not what come to mind, while fish, meat and rice are more common.  But as a foreigner, I am no expert. So I decided to take a poll of every Portuguese mama and grandmama I could get my hands on, as well as their twenty to thirty-something year old sons still living at home and enjoying their cooking.  To no surprise, much of the answers were the same, “Cozinha vegetariana?  Uhhh…… I don’t think we have that”, with a peculiar expression that inferred, “why would anyone want to just eat vegetables??” […]

Bacalhau: The Staple of Portuguese Cuisine

Bacalhau is Portuguese for dry, salted cod, and referred to as Bacalao in Spain or Bacala in Italy. Today we take a look at it from a Portuguese perspective. Historically, Bacalhau was the staple for these three predominately Catholic countries during Lent, when meat was considered a forbidden food. And although the recipes have diversified and evolved, it can still be found on the dinner table of Portuguese, Spanish and Italian families in all its glorious forms today. Although the fiercely independent Basques, from the northern region of Spain called Pais Vasco, lay claim to first curing cod, the Vikings had traveled to the Newfoundland in the 12th century and were said to have hung it in the brutal winter […]