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: Iberian Peninsula

Shopping In Portugal: Five Gourmet Portuguese Products for Travel

Portugal is brimming with history, tradition and an abundance of natural resources, mainly of the edible variety! I’ve lost count of the number of nut, cork and olive trees; the vast amount of grapevines and vegetable gardens capable of growing in every nook and cranny; clear rivers and streams teeming with life and herds of goats and sheep, cattle and Iberian black pigs that graze along expansive sunny green pastures. It’s a life that makes you green with envy yourself. Take a walk through the countryside in the springtime and flowers are so lush and wild that they’re bursting through drainpipes and sprouting on rooftops. It’s these images that come to mind when I go shopping for Portuguese products. It’s […]

Iberian Wine Harvest 2011 – A random assortment of challenges

This year, we’ve heard a wide range of harvest stories from across the peninsula: earlier than normal harvests, some later than normal, while others are reporting red grapes being picked before the white grapes – a highly unusual event. Consequently, we’re absolutely clueless as to how the 2011 vintage will end up. Not that we are very worried. We’re firm believers that vintage generally doesn’t matter, and we’re not alone on this. Granted, there are a handful of wine geeks out there that will contest this belief; but winemaking nowadays can take any grape and turn it into a decent wine. Now, while it may not be the same wine as last year, it’s still good, drinkable wine. That said, […]

Fabulous Holiday Discounts on Spanish and Portuguese Wines!!

We “love” the holidays; the time of the year when your television turns into an avalanche of deals on everything from the “all so necessary” life-sized stuffed Santa to the “must have” 8,000 inch LED-LCD HDTV that will literally suck you into itself. Or what about the 300+ strings of lights you’ve hung from every immovable object on your house that “magically” insights perpetual seizures from passing cars. And let’s not forget, the family…enough said. We sympathize with you and yours, knowing how desperate the holiday season can become, so we’ve decided to make the pain go away, at least for those of you in the USA and UK by teaming up with “The Spanish Table” in the USA and […]

Gemütlichkeit: The Ideal Descriptor of Austrian Gastronomy

Live in Iberia long enough and you’ll quickly realize that cozy is not part of their lexicon. Neither the Portuguese, nor the Spanish, have adopted a word that fully encompasses a term that is intimately familiar to colder climate regions. Cozy to me connotates a sense of comfort, warmth, ease, relaxation and peace. It might be exemplified by a candlelit restaurant with a roaring fire, dark wood furniture, heartfelt laughter, and of course, a thick lingering aroma of grilled meats and roasting garlic among subtle notes of wine glasses chiming in celebration. In many ways, I equate cozy with a sense of home. Throughout the past 6 years we’ve lived in Iberia, I can’t say that I’ve ever truly felt […]

NYC Restaurants Review: Casa Mono & Socarrat Paella Bar

Whenever I am planning to travel my first order of business is the Google search “Spanish restaurants in (destination city)”. My recent trip to New York City provided an unparalleled opportunity to visit a metropolis with more Spanish restaurants than any other city in the US. Previous trips produced impressive results (check out my NYC Tapas Crawl); this time would prove to one-up any other trip. Casa Mono After a day of wine seminars, tastings, and pouring, I was invited by my friends from Drink Ribera (Helen, Gabriella, April, and Roger) and Señor Eduardo Cano Uribe (Communication and Promotions Director for D.O. Ribera del Duero) to join them for dinner at Casa Mono. Let me first say that I was […]

Sipping History: The Spanish Wine Exclusives Tasting in New York

The East Coast was a little soggy last week as I made my way to Manhattan for a tasting of Spanish wines. It was the sort of rainy, humid, New York City mess of a day that makes one want to stay inside, but I’m glad I overcame my weather-induced sloth. A train and two subway rides later, I managed to arrive early at my destination on the lower east side. My reward was a private audience with Justin Berlin of Spanish Wine Exclusives who gave me a detailed overview of their portfolio of seven limited production wines that are only available in the United States through Tinto Fino, the little Spanish wine shop that Gabriella wrote about last year. […]

Respite During the Storm: Catavino’s 2nd National Geographic Expedition

Some of you might remember last year, when we took part in a portion of a Lindblad Expedition from the north coast of Spain around the coast of Galicia to Porto, and finally disembarking in Lisbon. 5 days and nights filled with food, wine, culture and lazing on a boat ship, with fine seas and sunny skys. Obviously, our experience carved out much of our expectations for this year’s trip, but little did we know that the seas can turn for the worst. This year, fall weather brought with it a considerable amount of rain, which create “swells” – a word that has zero relationship to a happy, “swell” of a time. With Gabriella looking a fine shade of pea […]

Vuelta España Stages 17-18: Castilla y León, The Land of Perpetual Extremes

In our next installment of La Vuelta a España (check out the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4rth and 5th installments), we enter Castilla y León, the largest region in Spain, occupying 18.6% of its land mass, and consisting of 94,222 km2 (36,379.3 sq mi). Nestled against Aragon, the Basque Country and La Rioja to the east; Asturias and Cantabria to the north; Madrid, Castille-La Mancha and Extremadura to the south; and Portugal and Galicia to the west, it’s a massive chunk of land and to summarize its wine and gastronomy in one article is simply impossible, but we can highlight its essence, culture and cuisine. Castilla y León is also known as “Old Castile”; when the two kingdoms of Castilla y […]

Vuelta España Stages 15-16: Sidra, Cabrales and Roast Chicken

In our next installment of La Vuelta a España (check out the first, second, third and fourth installments), we head north to the wine barren land of the Iberian Peninsula. With Spain being slightly smaller in size than Texas, and with a population roughly equivalent to that of the west coast of the United States of America, it’s rather impressive that they have the potential to be the largest wine producing country in the world, yet large tracks of land remain untouched by vines. Both Asturias and Cantabria fall into this category; however, despite their grape-less status, the landscape could easily be the setting for any Fairy Tale with its lush rolling hills, rustic pueblos and phenomenal food. Today’s post […]

Catavino Gets a New Look!

In geologic terms, it wasn’t so long ago that I wore all black, had a tongue piercing and loved Don Johnson – scary, I know. Now maybe those didn’t all happen at the same time, but they did happen and are part of my evolution. We all go through transitions, phases and developments. Sometimes they’re easy, effortless and exciting; and sometimes, it feels like you’ve been run over by a 10 ton bulldozer. (Flickr photo by Jibba Jabba) Catavino has gone through several evolutions in its lifetime. From its writing style to its design, there hasn’t been an adjective, or a widget, left unturned. And to give you a sense of where it all began, let’s glimpse at a small […]