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Tag Archives: Travel

The Never Ending Journey: 6 Years of Transformation

Not surprisingly, I’ve delayed writing this post for weeks, dutifully trying to answer the question, “what happened over the past 6 years and how does one summarize such an experience in one article?” Admittedly, it’s absolutely impossible. To write a one off post on how our lives have changed feels as inconsequential as writing a paragraph on the death of reason. Well, then again, if you merged both topics, you just might have something! If someone asked me 7 years ago if I would be prepared to live hand to mouth for half a decade in order to write about Iberian wine, in a country I had never been, speaking a language I had never uttered, to meet people from […]

Casa Rurales: The Best Way to Explore Spain

When traveling to a new country, I would much prefer to stay on the couch of someone I know than in a hotel. For me, hotels are generally sterile, void of warmth and personality, while someone’s home, albeit a touch “personal” at times, at least provides me with a sense of authenticity and cultural relevance. Everything from the photos on the walls to the aroma of native spices lingering in the kitchen makes me feel as if I’m actually experiencing a culture, as opposed to being an outsider feeling as if I’m looking into a fish bowl. Granted, a week in any given location, irregardless as to where I sleep, will not give me a comprehensive look inside someone’s world, […]

A Trip to San Sebastian, Spain: A Crowd Source Project

We’re embarrassed to admit that after 6 years of living in Spain, we have yet to visit one of the most important culinary treasures in the Spanish Crown, San Sebastian. Exalted around the world, and spoken fondly of by every traveler we know, we are proud to say that we will finally be there for a short visit at the end of September. However, we need to know what to do, what to see, where to visit, and what to taste? So we are asking all of you, our loyal readers and fellow “virtual travelers”, to share your suggestions with us. If we have one long day/night, or if we get lucky, 2 days to explore, we’re looking for the […]

Catavino’s Travel Woes: How We Got Screwed by Delta !!UPDATED!!

In the course of our lives, we have all experienced difficulties with air travel. Whether it’s a canceled flight, excessive turbulence, poor airline food or rocket high prices when checking in your luggage, we’ve all been there. What doesn’t happen often is when an airline makes you pay twice for the same ticket. Last July, when arriving to the airport, ridiculously excited to get on our way to the USA to attend the WBC, we made the one fatal error that you pray you never make in your life as a traveler. We misread the ticket and thought the 11:20am flight was actually, 11:20pm. In the hierarchy of stupidity, this rates rather high. Taking a deep breath to gather our […]

Top 5 Wine Tourism Tips Iberia Can Learn from American Wine Producers

Last week, we had spent the better part of a 6 days touring wineries on both the west and east coast of the United States. And during this time, we had a very unique opportunity to see how Americans create and manage wine tourism programs in order to promote not only their own wines, but the wines of the entire region. As many of you know, although we adore the wines of both Spain and Portugal, we feel that effective wine tourism is one of the greatest areas lacking in Iberia. From wineries that won’t pick up the phone or return an emails to small, family run wineries who close their door to visitors, making it close to impossible for […]

Catavino is Back in Spain: The Customs, Culture and Cuisine of India

Sitting at the keyboard with henna painted fingers, my clothing infused with rich cumin, cardamom and ginger aromas, I am at a loss as to how to put into words this experience. Having arrived last Sunday night by plane, we came to Delhi in delirious anticipation for Ryan’s cousin’s wedding. A Minnesota born and bred musician, he had met his Indian bride in an African drumming assemble at Macalester and chose to follow the Bengali marriage traditions by meticulously organizing a five day wedding celebration in New Delhi, India. But no matter how much we had read on the city, and regardless of how many people we chatted with regarding the local customs and rituals, nothing could have prepared us […]

Wine Tourism in Sherry Country and a Lesson from Portugal

Two weeks ago, after a very relaxing holiday in Galicia, we chose to make our way home to Jerez via Portugal, stopping off for two nights in Oporto on the way. I’ve been to where they make Madeira, I live where they make sherry but I had never been to Oporto, so this was an exciting opportunity to visit the place where they make Port. For me, the “traditional” fortified wines are madeira, sherry and port so in a way this completes the circle. What struck me immediately on arriving at Vila Nova de Gaia, where all the port lodges are, was how geared up they are for visitors. This is starkly different to the experiences to be had at […]

Catavino, Supposedly, was Never in Jerez

Hey Everyone! You know how we’ve been chatting about our Sherry experience in Jerez, spending 3 days completely immersed in information about Fino, Manzanilla, Amontillado and Oloroso? Well, guess what? We, evidently, weren’t there! I assume that you’re scratching your head right now saying, “Uh, Gabriella, I’m a little confused. You’re saying that the articles you’ve been writing over the past two weeks have been fabricated? Phony? Fictitious!?” In theory, I am, because according to Wines of Spain, a government funded organization to promote Spanish wine, we never spent any time in Jerez. “Russian, Hungarian and Japanese sommeliers graduate in Jerez“, reads the Wines of Spain headline. According to their article, there were no Americans present at the seminar, nor […]

We’re Sherry Educators

And…..we’re back after 5 days and 4 nights in Jerez de la Frontera, the defacto capital of all things sherry related. As many of you know, we were in Jerez to learn all about Sherry. The D.O. of Jerez for the past 3 years has been working to educate writers, wine educators, wine lovers and sherry nuts about this elusive and mysterious beverage. Sticking to the policy of full disclosure in blogging, the rules to participate were simple. You find a way to get there and they in turn, took care of lodging, food and transportation. Seeing that this was a great way to deepen our understanding about Sherry, while becoming certified as Sherry Wine Educators, we took the opportunity […]

Sherry On YouTube

As your read this, we’re learning the intricacies of Sherry with 24 other students from around the world in Jerez de la Frontera. From how the grapes are grown to the traditional use of the solera system, we’ll have been required by DO to comprehend and memorize each and every nuance! Ooooh, how exciting! So in light of our adventures, we’ve included some interesting documentaries on sherry. Upon our return, we’ll be sure to let you know how accurate they really are. Cheers! Gabriella and Ryan