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Tag Archives: Madrid

DO Montsant Cuisine and Food Culture – Where to Go and What to Eat

When you ask people what Montsant has to offer beyond wine, you tend to get a very standard group of answers that only vary in the order they are received: almonds, olives, olive oil and hazelnuts. The logic being that the land is so harsh and rugged, with only a few lizards spotting the landscape, nothing other than a few durable and resilient trees can successfully survive in this climate. That said, amazing olive oils, flavorful nuts and diverse and interesting wines blend together in a perfect harmony of flavors within the DO of Montsant. Falset, the capital of the region of Montsant, is only 20 miles from the main seaside city of Tarragona, and therefore, benefits from a culture […]

El Cucuraucho del Mar – Seafood Restaurant Review in Madrid

Normally when walking down the street in Spain, if I see a restaurant with a giant crayfish sculpture outside its  doors, I laugh and keep walking. This type of attraction is generally an indication that the food inside is less than stellar and is trying to make up for its own inadequacy in some way. El Cucuraucho del Mar, however, is a far cry from inadequate in any way. If anything, it’s a “not to miss” destination for any seafood lover. A good friend suggested we dine at this “great Galician restaurant” last week, a place I was completely unfamiliar with prior to this point. And let’s be clear, this is not a man to doubt, as he has already […]

Planning Your Ultimate Roadtrip in Spain: Where Automatic Cars are the Exception, and Not the Rule

When it comes to driving, I was a late bloomer.  Even though I grew up in a suburban town (with little to no transportation options) I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 20.  The only reason I got it then was that I was about to leave Canada to see Europe and I thought it might be a useful thing to have.  As it turned out, I didn’t drive again until I was back in Toronto a few years later.  My trip across Europe had turned into nearly three years in Madrid and I just never had any call to use that license. I’m still not a fan of having a car in the city – especially as […]

Top 10 Tips for Traveling Spain – Don’t Forget the TP!!

If you’ve ever traveled around Spain for any length of time, you’ve most likely found yourself without toilet paper at key moments. That’s right, the Spanish do not believe in restocking toilet paper. I have no idea if they go out TP-ing historic statues at night, or if they’re stockpiling for the next uprising, but whatever the reason, don’t expect to find it in bars, petrol stations, nightclubs, restaurants, etc. This is just one of many truths I’ve learned to accept in my time here. And allow me to be clear, many of these rules do NOT apply to Portugal – a country that I consider “well stocked”. BATHROOM PROTOCOL Beyond the need to carry some tissue with you at […]

Catavino is off to London – Enjoy These Wine Links While We’re Gone!

As we’ve mentioned before, we’re headed to London to do what can only be called a “social media junket”. 5 days of meeting new people, drinking new wines, and visiting a city that I’m ashamed to say, I know so little about. Our line up so far goes a bit like this: Tuesday we head to the Amplified event where we hope to burst some Wine bubbles. Our main goal is to meet people who find themselves trapped in their own little bubbles of influence, and discover ways to interact and exchange ideas. Our talk will be mainly about how to get wine into others social networks, or how to make our networks more inviting to those who are not […]

El Almuerzo: The Spanish Version of Paddington Bear’s Elevenses

When I was a child, I was enthralled with the persona of Paddington Bear.  My sister had the books on tape (remember cassettes?) and I would borrow them over and over, keeping them on as quietly as I could long past my bedtime to hear about the adventures of this little Peruvian bear. Looking back now, I can see why he was so appealing to me: he was free. I mean, that bear did just about whatever he wanted – he didn’t go to school, for example, which to my young self was a shining beacon of liberty that kept my eyes alight in the dark. Why bring this up?  Well, it’s just that life in Spain keeps bringing Paddington […]

Part 2: The Best Wine and Tapas Bars in Madrid

Editor’s Note: Although you might imagine that two food lovers would have very similar jaunts where they savor mouthwatering bite-sized tapas, but with over 20,000 bars in Madrid, variety is easy to encounter. Adrienne Smith, author of A Gastronomican in Madrid,  is a self proclaimed: “former restaurant owner, sommelier, dubber, translator, writer, convincing at accents, prolific exaggerator, despicable speller, and former appallingly poor English teacher”, and joins us today to give us her take on fantastic spots to frequent in Madrid. (All locations are listed on the Catavino Map of Spain) As far as must-have tapa places are concerned in Madrid, the best I can do would be to give you a list of some of my favorites in terms […]

Part 1: The Best Wine and Tapas Bars in Madrid

Editor’s Note: As many of you know, through Valentine’s Day, we are hosting a contest for a free print of the Douro by submitting a question into our new Q&A section on Catavino. If the question can be answered, we’ll do our level-headed best to find it. For more information, check out this post. Here is one recent question proposed to Catavino: “what are the ‘must-visit’ tapas bars in Madrid? I’m planning a weekend jaunt and want to visit places I missed last time. And what about decent wine bars (and I’m not talking sherry here guys)?” And although we’re passionate foodies, and have lived in Madrid in our recent past, we felt it would be more appropriate to ask […]

Spanish Festival of Carnival in Galicia: Complete With Biting Ants, Torched Hay, Men in Lingerie and Ample Amounts of Cow Bell

When we invited you to participate in our Q&A competition, we had no idea of the number of challenging, thought-provoking and all around bizarre questions that would be filling our inbox. Rather than a simple question regarding the adequate age of utilizing an oak barrel for sherry, we instead, were asked about odd festivals we have never heard of in our 4 years of residence in Spain. Question: What is the origin of the ant throwing festival in Galicia? One must immediately ask themselves why anyone would want to throw biting ants at one’s friends and family? Not to say that pent up aggression might be relieved by chucking a handful of muddy dirt at some jerk of a neighbor […]

Vinarium: A Novelty of a Wine Shop Utilizing Social Media in Madrid

On Saturday, after a long, and rather arduous day of perusing FITUR, a gigantic tourism fair in Madrid, we decided to give Luis Alonso-Lasheras a last minute call to see if he was available to provide us a personal tour of is his wine shop, Vinarium. And despite the pressing needs of his very young children to have their Dad honor a very needed playground date, Luis was sweet enough to magically fit an hour into his busy schedule (Thanks Luis!!) Vinarium is a wine shop I have dreamed of having in my future home. And although I may not don the pipe and smoking jacket dictated by the store’s floor to ceiling mahogany wood construction, I could absolutely envision […]