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Tag Archives: Wine

Three Dynamic Female Portuguese Winemakers

Portugal might be on its knees economically, but the wine industry is going from strength to strength. Exports are growing quietly (between 5-10% per year over the last decade), and the country is beginning to escape the shackles of being seen only as a value producer. I’m not talking about Port, which has its own long-established market and following, but rather about “still” or non-fortified wines. Portugal was known for knocking out large quantities of “rustic” fare in decades gone by, but this started to change in 1986. Accession to the EU was a watershed which split apart the old cooperatives and saw the emergence of smaller, more quality-lead wineries. Not surprisingly for a country which is relatively new to […]

Eggs: Sweet and Savory Portuguese Recipes

Prior to my migration from America to Portugal in 2011, I had often heard of the love affair that the Portuguese have with their eggs, especially when used in their sugar laden sweets. I didn’t really understand that eggs were also loved as additions to savory dishes until I got here and was pleasantly surprised by both the sweet and savory side of the ovos de Portugal. As savory dishes go, I find the egg to be an afterthought, an addition, not the center of attention that they often are in American cuisine. When it comes to ervilhas com ovos escalfados, or peas with poached eggs, that is definitely not the case. If there were no eggs in this dish, […]

Off the beaten track in Porto – Simplesmente Vinho

What do you call a group of small, artisan wine producers at a tasting? If you’re in France or Italy, the “natural wine” moniker might well rear its head. The suggestion being that these are winemakers who eschew overtly industrial production methods, intervene less and attempt above all else to express their terroir. The less charitable may claim this merely means long beards, stinky wines and radical stances on sulphur. In Portugal things are a little different. Here, no-one seems that interested in defining such a slippery category – least of all the 23,000+ visitors to Porto’s annual Essencia do Vinho tasting. The mix of trade and consumer attendees are packed in tighter than sardines, and beating a path to your favourite producer’s stand can turn into […]

Bobal: The Spanish Grape of Newfound Nobility

In the Spanish autonomous province of Valencia, you can discover a remarkable variety of landscapes far from the long beaches of golden sand found in most conventional tour guides. Dry, desert-like areas, river valleys and fertile foothills give rise to great diversity in the wines made here. The region encompasses three DOs: D.O. Valencia, D.O. Alicante and D.O. Utiel-Requena. Among them, the wines from Utiel-Requena are probably some of the most exciting. The area has developed dramatically in the past few years, planting more vineyard area and opening new wineries. Some of the more diligent producers are paying homage to their roots through wines made from their native grape: Bobal. This variety’s newfound nobility is causing a stir among the […]

Simplesmente Vinho: Celebrating natural wine in Portugal

Last year, Catavino attended the premiere of Simplesmente Vinho and had a fantastic time. We were surprised by the off-the-cuff tasting that resulted in a group of “wine geeks” joining together in a cave, literally, on the Cais de Ribeira for a small producer tasting. Thankfully, it was a huge success and has returned for round two! As for us, we’ve decided to bring in a natural wine aficionado, Simon Woolf of The MorningClaret, Tim Atkin and Decanter, who has passionately taken on the challenge to dive into the lesser known side of Portuguese wines. In preparation, we’ve put together a short interview with cofounder, João Roseira. Enjoy and if you are near Porto please come on down! It promises […]

Friday Featured Photo: Port Ganache and Chocolate

Photographer: Eddie Correia Capture Date: February 14, 2008 Location: Algarve, Portugal About: Dark chocolate and port is pairing of temptation. Each brings a unique profile of rich, sultry notes that pull you under a spell of warm mysterious deliciousness. These are flavours requiring time and patience. Time to warm and melt across the palate. Patience to breathe in and feel their textures and flavors expand and rise into the senses. They provide gateway to precious moments of sensory pleasure. Here the weather is warm, time passes slowly to allow moments and flavours to be enjoyed deeply and passionately, and when in good company, more so. Here enticement is woven into the fabric of our flavours, there is no plan to change, but […]

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 […]

Collaboration in Spain

As the international success stories of newcomers like Australia and Chile and traditional producers like France and Italy have made evident, a country’s image makes a big difference to wine sales. The truth is, few products flaunt their origin so openly in their struggle to differentiate themselves from their competitors. As Spain’s economy deteriorates and domestic consumption decreases, Spanish wine producers are compelled to look to export markets to survive. In spite of its status as the world’s leading country in vineyard area and the third largest producer in volume worldwide, Spain has been unable to take its rightful place of leadership in international markets. Among the reasons for this are the small size of Spanish wineries, a distorted country […]

Hidden Factory: The Clandestine Restaurant Movement in Barcelona

Chef Javier Morón and business partner Sergi Salguero have joined the slowly growing cadre of gourmands and entrepreneurs who bring their passion for food and service directly to the public of Barcelona in the form of underground—“clandestine”— restaurants. “Clandestine restaurants are exciting,” says Javier. “They are ephemeral events; a space, an ambiance, a menu, and a note of theatricality all in one. They are born from the inspiration of the moment, or the actual physical space that the restaurante clandestino inhabits. To me, what we are doing is completely different than cooking in a restaurant. In a restaurant, things are always the same, while at Hidden Factory and other places like us, every day is something magical; something unrepeatable.” Javier […]

#inCostaBrava I saw some marvelous things

A momentous 2013 has almost come to a close, and to be perfectly honest, it’s been a good year. I’ve travelled a considerable amount, moved countries and had a son. 2013 will mark one of the most memorable years of my life. However, it’s around this time that we sit with a list of what our future may hold, and if I may chime in with a suggestion, you should seriously consider visiting “The Costa Brava“. The Costa Brava, translated to “Wild” or “Rough Coast”, is located just along the Mediterranean in northeastern Spain. A stunning landscape extending from Blanes (approximately 60 km northeast of Barcelona) to the French border, it is renowned for its gorgeous scenery, avant guard cuisine, and […]