Lentejas de Tierra de Campos, el delicioso pan de los pobres

“Mas si trepáis a un cerro y veis el campo
desde los picos donde habita el águila,
son tornasoles de carmín y acero,
llanos plomizos, lomas plateadas,
circuidos por montes de violeta,
con las cumbres de nieve sonrosado”

Así describió Antonio Machado los campos de Castilla y de una forma similar los presentó el director técnico de la Indicación Geográfica Protegida Lentejas de Tierra de Campos., Javier Alonso Ponga, en la presentación online a diversos periodistas y blogueros que tuvo lugar hace unos días: “una amplia llanura donde se unen tierra y cielo”. Previamente los organizadores habían tenido a bien enviar a los participantes un delantal y cuatro saquitos de 400 gramos para en estos tiempos de aislamiento virtual, pudiéramos experimentar con este producto tan arraigado a la identidad de Castilla.

El cultivo de la lenteja de Tierra de Campos se adscribe, como explicó Javier Alonso principio de su intervención, a varias provincias castellanoleonesas: León, Palencia, Zamora y Valladolid. El término Indicación Geográfica Protegida describe el lugar de cultivo para garantizar al consumidor su total trazabilidad en su contraetiqueta.

Una de las claves de las señas de identidad de la lenteja de Tierra de Campos lo dan las características del suelo en el que son cultivadas. Suelo al que devuelven agradecidas lo que reciben, ya que sus raíces son capaces de fijar nitrógeno y por ello no es necesario abonar con nitratos y su cultivo hace necesario un bajo uso de fitosanitarios, por lo que son un cultivo amigable con el medio ambiente. De hecho, se lleva alternando su cultivo con el de cereal por estas mismas razones desde tiempos inmemoriales, como recoge el catedrático de la Escuela Superior de Ingenieros Agrónomos de Córdoba, José Ignacio Cubero en un artículo publicado por la revista Arbor y que fue citado en esta presentación.

Pero las ventajas que ofrecen los cultivos de leguminosas como la lenteja de Tierra de Campos no son solo medioambientales. También son económicas y sociales. Por un lado se convierten en un alimento rico en nutrientes y asequible, algo fundamental para un planeta ya superpoblado y por otro contribuyen a fijar población en la España rural.

Aunque en nuestro país su consumo ha descendido en las últimas décadas, empujadas por la cultura de la comida procesada, nuestro país sigue siendo uno de los que más legumbres consumen. De hecho, importamos el 70% de las legumbres comercializadas de países como EEUU y Turquía. Según el director técnico de la IGP “otro motivo es que no resultan tan rentables para los agricultores como otros cultivos”. El hecho de que los consumidores superian valorar su calidad y su aportación al medio ambiente, contribuiría a aumentar su cultivo en España. De hecho solo se envasan como IGP alrededor de 800 has anuales, 1,5 millones de kilos, cuando su cosecha media ronda los 6,5 millones, dependiendo de las características climatológicas del año en cuestión.

“Tenemos otro problema, y es que en ocasiones el comercio minorista aplica un sobreprecio importante a los productos con etiqueta de IGP o Denominación de origen”, explica Juan Alonso Ponga.

Las propiedades nutricionales de las lentejas y el resto de legumbres son de sobra conocidas, como se encargó de repasar Alma Palau, dietista otra de las participantes en la presentación, y que las pueden hacer muy indicadas para protegerse frente al virus Covid 19, especialmente por sus propiedades antiinflamatorias que también fortalecen el sistema inmunitario. También son indicadas para dietas de adelgazamiento al tener una alta proporción de proteínas y un bajo nivel de grasas, siempre que las acompañemos de los aderezos adecuados, claro.

De hecho los cereales son su pareja de baile ideal, ya que suponen la combinación de nutrientes perfecta ya desde los inicios de la historia, como comenta José Ignacio Cubero, que las define como el “pan del pobre”. Los cereales compensan el déficit en aminoácidos azufrados y a su vez las legumbres añaden la lisina de la que carecen los cereales. Es decir, que los garbanzos con patata y las lentejas con arroz que ya cocinaban nuestras abuelas tienen toda su razón de ser.

Hora de experimentar

Y  ahora llega el momento más interactivo, y es el de experimentar con esos saquitos de lentejas que tan generosamente nos envió la IGP Lenteja Tierra de Campos a los participantes de la presentación. Juan Alberto Ponga nos pedía probarlas tal cual, sin aderezos, para poder saborear la diferencia con las lentejas importadas citadas anteriormente. Pero yo quería hacer al mismo tiempo algo más original, así que busqué y adapté una receta que me permitía hacer ambas cosas y además aprovechar un filete de salmón que me había sobrado de la barbacoa del domingo. En realidad, la combinación de legumbres con marisco y pescado es mi favorita porque la encuentro sutil, sana y al mismo tiempo sofisticada.

Y es que otra de las grandes ventajas de las legumbres es su versatilidad. Son un maravilloso y barato lienzo en blanco con el que experimentar, así que os paso una receta de lentejas con salmón, berenjenas y un toque hindú que encontré en el blog Tu restaurante en casa, y readapté simplificándola, porque la vida real es ajetreada y no tengo por costumbre dedicar más de media hora a la preparación de las cenas entre semana. Allá va, y espero que la disfrutéis.

Lentejas con salmón y berenjenas

400 gr de lentejas pardinas

250 gr de salmón fresco

5 dientes de ajo

1 cebolla

1 zanahoria

1 tomate seco

½ berenjena

Laurel, pimentón

Garam masala

1 l de Caldo de verduras (mi preferido es el de Ferrer)

Lavamos las lentejas de Tierra de Campos, las ponemos en una cazuela y la cubrimos con unos cuatro dedos de agua. Añadimos el

tomate seco, la ñora, los ajos pelados, el laurel, sal, y aceite. Ponemos a cocer alrededor de media hora hasta que las lentejas ya estén blandas a nuestro gusto.

Lo bueno de esta receta es que me permitió hacer un alto a mitad de camino antes de añadirle más acompañantes para efectivamente comprobar que la lenteja de Tierra de Campos es fina y sabrosa al mismo tiempo.

Aquí es donde me aparto de la receta para ahorrarme pasos intermedios y en paralelo me hago un sofrito clásico para acompañar al plato: 10 minutos pochando la cebolla, la zanahoria y la berenjena a fuego lento. Después añadí las verduras y el salmón cortado en dado y el Garam Masala, una combinación de especias india muy aromática que te ahorra recurrir a 5 o 6 botes diferentes, a las lentejas. También le da un color amarillento anaranjado al guiso muy atractivo. Tras unos 3 o 4 minutos rectificamos el punto de sal y ¡listas!

Al emplatar la receta original aconsejaba añadir cebollino y aceite de oliva virgen extra. Yo preferí ahorrarme el aceite para no anular el aromático efecto del Garam Masala y creo que al final acerté.

Los otros hermanos Roca

Elena F. Guiral 

Vistos así juntos, a pesar de sus diferencias de físico, los hermanos Jiménez Barbero  me recuerdan a los hermanos Roca, por su capacidad de innovar y sobre todo por la pasión que transmiten y cómo se han repartido los papeles en su empresa con total precisión. Hace unos días tuve la oportunidad de conocer de primera mano el trabajo de este equipo en una visita organizada a las instalaciones de La Finca, organizada en colaboración con APIA (Asociación de Periodistas de Información Ambiental) en Colmenar de Arroyo para celebrar su vigésimo aniversario en la que pude participar.

Estos tres hermanos que heredaron el negocio ganadero de la familia Jiménez Barbero, le dieron una vuelta de tuerca a la simple producción ganadera para ofrecer un producto de impecable factura y producción, lo que permite que terneras sacrificadas con un año tengan una calidad extraordinaria, algo que permite que sus precios sean muy competitivos.

En la finca de Colmenar de Arroyo, inaugurada en 2013, se ubica su principal núcleo ganadero, los últimos seis meses de vida de las vacas, así como sus instalaciones de producción, I+D y envasado. Los primeros seis meses de vida las vacas los pasan en fincas de Portugal, donde tienen alquiladas 10.000 hectáreas y en otra finca en Calzada de Oropesa (Toledo). En Portugal están las vacas autóctonas nodrizas y los toros limosino y charolés. En Calzada de Oropesa se crían vacas nacionales retinta y avileña.

Los últimos seis meses los pasan estabuladas en esta finca de Colmenar de Arroyo porque “es más eficiente y más saludable para el animal, ya que se le tiene más protegido y cuidado”, nos explica David, que es el encargado de la parte ganadera de la finca. “Por eso hemos querido enseñaros precisamente esta parte, que es la menos idílica, y la más real para que se pueda comprobar cómo hacemos las cosas”. En ocasiones realizan algo intermedio si las crías nacieron con poco peso. Se les tiene 4 o 5 meses en ganadería extensiva sin la madre para después unificar los lotes por calidad y tamaño.

Las naves donde los animales pasan sus últimos seis meses de vida son lo más cercano a un hotel para vacas, donde la paja sigue oliendo a paja. Se diseñaron para evitar las temperaturas extremas del clima de Madrid, ya que el estrés también influye en la calidad de la carne. Por ello hay paneles sándwich en el techo y también aperturas para ventilación. Se les añade paja nueva cada día y una vez a la semana se renueva por completo. Y cada vez que un grupo sale las instalaciones vuelven a pintarse. Y de hecho hay un 20% o 30% menos de animales en cada habitáculo de los que establece la normativa.

Además de tener unas instalaciones inmaculadas también los aspectos sanitarios son tomados muy en serio en La Finca. Hay un laboratorio de microbiología y se toman todas las medidas biosanitarias necesarias para evitar la contaminación cruzada. “También nos hemos acogido al Plan Nacional de reducción de Antibióticos de forma voluntaria”, comenta David. “Las vacunas funcionan muy bien en el destete y en el campo, y con las medidas de higiene que hemos comentado antes se puede reducir el uso de antibióticos de forma drástica”.

La dieta es otro de los pilares que diferencia a esta empresa de otras explotaciones ganaderas. “Hace ya muchos años fuimos pioneros en la dieta controlada, que es más saludable para los animales y para el medio ambiente. Un animal necesita 7 kilos de alimento al día, si se le deja comer a demanda comería unos 10”, añade.

El proceso de alimentación de las vacas se diseña al milímetro en una nave destinada a tal efecto que combina cereales de calidad con forraje y ácidos grasos ricos en oleicos. Después un carro mezclador pone en cada lote justo la cantidad y los nutrientes que necesita cada animal. “En este sistema de alimentación de mezclar forrajes con cereales fuimos pioneros hace 15 años, porque lo habitual en España es poner un comedero de concentrado y un comedero de paja y que el animal coma lo que quiera”.

Mezclar es complicado, porque para ello hay que comprender muy bien la alimentación del rumiante, ya que le estás obligando a alimentarse de una forma nueva para él, y además si te pasas con el porcentaje de fibra puedes crearles problemas digestivos. Pero para dejarles a las vacas algo de margen de libertad y también evitar que se estresen si se les acaba el alimento demasiado pronto se les deja un 15% de forraje para su autorregulación. Lo que sería el vaso de leche con galletas de antes de dormir en versión vacuna.

El sacrificio de las vacas es el único paso que se externaliza aquí en La Finca como explica David Jiménez Barbero: “Decidimos saltar este paso porque no aporta ningún valor añadido y además no era sostenible ni por volumen de trabajo, ni por calidad ni por sostenibilidad y evita estrés añadido en el animal”. David ya intuye la pregunta que viene después, hecha por un compañero: “¿No da mucha pena sacrificar una vaca después de haberla criado durante todo este tiempo? Sí, pero es nuestro trabajo. Y lo cierto es que yo más que pena siento satisfacción por haberle dado a cada animal una vida digna y de calidad y también respetarla al máximo reduciendo al mínimo el desperdicio”.

Porque el aprovechamiento de la carne era otro de los retos a los que se enfrentaban estos tres emprendedores sobre todo al apostar por un estilo de producción que supone un coste del 50% añadido. Y también algo fundamental desde el punto de vista de sostenibilidad.

Esto nos lo explica Álvaro, otro de los hermanos, que supervisa el proceso de comercialización, mientras nos da la mejor muestra de sus productos en el almuerzo posterior a la visita. De ahí que apostaran por innovaciones creativas que eran poco comunes en España, como el pastrami, el carpaccio o el steak tartar, que no solo son de gran calidad y precio asequible al proceder de ternera joven, sino que están comercializados con un packaging atrevido e innovador.

Las historias de dedicación y trabajo bien hecho suelen tener finales felices, y en el caso de los hermanos Jiménez Barbero los finales felices les han venido, como suele suceder, en forma de premios y reconocimientos. Por un lado al conseguir el certificado de “Bienestar animal” de Aenor y por otro el premio al mejor producto de Madrid 2019 de la Academia Madrileña de Gastronomía.

Si después de leer este artículo alguien se decide a probar sus productos podrá encontrarlos en varios corners de El Corte Inglés, en Cárnico, su establecimiento en la calle Eloy Gonzalo de Madrid y en las tiendas Jiménez Barbero de Guadarrama y El Escorial. Buen provecho.

Foto cortesía de APIA

Teruel: The High Desert Magic of Spain

Elena F. Guiral 

Teruel has a millenary agri-food culture developed in an arid, cold and hard land with the particular characteristics of the High Desert: heights estimated between 2,000 and 4,000 ft (600 and 1,300 meters) with short and very hot summers and summers cold and sunny but with presence of snowfall. This climate gives its cuisine a very particular personality reflecting those its inhabitants and their extraordinary ability to adapt to the territory.

In recent decades, farmers and producers in the province, mostly small farmes, are struggling day by day to preserve this millenary tradition. This is also the best way to fix population in a desertified territory, with 9 inhabitants per square kilometer, and to protect and care for the environment against the threat of climate change.

On the occasion of the XXV Teruel Cured Ham Fair, the Chamber of Commerce of the city organized a conference and a press visit last week to publicize the most representative food products of this area of ​​Spain in which I was fortunate to participate .

Here a review of its star products to interest your palate.

Cured ham

Eclipsed outside Spain by the famous Iberian ham, Teruel ham also has much to offer the most exquisite palates. Teruel ham is produced from the Duroc pig variety, native to the province, at 800 meters of altitude and after a curing and drying process that always exceeds 14 months. All the pieces keep the hoof of the pig, a numbered label and the Mudejar star engraved on fire as a guarantee of quality and distinction.

The first museum in the world of Ham of Teruel, Aire Sano Experience in Puebla de Valverde, has been recently open to inform the general public about the process of making such a special product. It gives you the opportunity to enjoy an interactive experience around this product thanks to the latest technologies, learn to cut ham virtually and finish your tour in the Museum store and restaurant that stands out for its careful preparation of local products such as cured ham, trout, peach and saffron.

Foto Jamon aire sano

Bajo Aragon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Centennial olive groves spread out through the province of Teruel, especially in the area of Bajo Aragón, Bajo Martín and Matarraña regions accustomed to the hard and generous winters in their production of local Empeltre, Arbequina and Royal olive varieties. More than 8,000 families are dedicated to grow it since it is a Denomination of Origin: its production has to meet a series of criteria established by the European Union. In fact, their producers are small and are grouped in cooperatives.

Juan Baseda, its technical director defines this Extra Virgin Olive oil as “soft, sweet, bit bitter and quite fruity, so it fits with everything.” Curiously, although in Aragon its consumption is very common, the denomination of origin finds it difficult to compete with the rest of olive oils in Spain since its price is higher and the consumer is accustomed to a more intense oil such as the picual, apart from the fact that its production is modest, between 5% and 10% throughout Spain. It is currently exported to the US and Asia, and is especially appreciated in Japan for its more subtle organoleptic qualities that harmonize perfectly with the delicacy of japanese cuisine.

Calanda Peaches

Yellow, large, soft and at the same time full of flavor for growing in dry land of hard and cold winters. This is a late summer crop due to the cold climate of the area.

They are really unique because of their large size, never less than 73 millimetres. Each box is composed of 20 pieces. This is achieved with a technique in which 70% of the tree’s production is eliminated when the fruits are the size of a tennis ball. In addition to this, the fruits that remain in the tree are pocketed in bags one by one to protect them from pests and maintain all the aroma and flavor that makes them an extraordinary product. In fact, only 10% to 15% of the production is certified as Calanda peach.

melocoton calanda

Aragon Ternasco

The ternasco of Aragon, a kind of lamb meat, was the first fresh meat recognized with a specific denomination in 1989 in Spain.

Lamb has a vital historical tradition in Aragon, where its consumption doubles that of the rest of Spain, since it is very important to fix the population in the rural environment as well as sustainable since sheperds labor helps fight wildfires.

The ternasco weighs between 8 and 12.5 kilos and has been exclusively fed with cereals and breast milk, so its meat is soft but tasty and also very healthy since it has a high protein content in vitamins of B3, B6 and B12 and is a source of zinc and phosphorus.

You could also say that it is a product that has become fashionable due to its versatility and the modernity of its new cuts and presentations.

ternasco de Aragon

Bajo Aragon wines

The climate and the cold and hard land also characterize the wines of Bajo Aragon area, many of them made from centuries-old vines and are already part of the history and landscape of the area.

This is a small group of only 20 wineries that have decided to bet on quality  to be able to compete with other production areas in Aragon as powerful as Borja, Cariñena, Calatayud and Somontano, recognized throughout the world.

Teruel black truffle

The black truffle is the best kept secret of Teruel, one of the world’s leading producers and is one of the best survival guarantees for the province, being a highly prized crop that grows precisely in the poorest soils in mountainous areas very limited for extensive crops such as cereals.

Truffles arise from the symbiosis with native trees such as holm oak, oak or hazelnut. Until a few decades ago they grew wild underground and were collected thanks to the help of truffle dogs. Nowadays it is possible to grow them in a controlled way.

In Teruel, the black truffle stands out in winter and the summer truffle, less intense in aroma and flavor but also very appreciated in the kitchen and that is increasingly causing more interest since its collection takes place in summer and is a good reason to attract tourism to the area during vacation time.

The Truffle Growers Association of Teruel (Atruter) was created in 1996 to advise and help the pioneer producers of this crop, although at present it focuses a good part of its activities on the promotion of this crop still relatively unknown to the gastronomy of Spain. In fact, they have prepared the world’s first tasting tab, which serves to distinguish Teruel Trufer melanosporum black truffle from the Trufer indicum that is imported from China and has a much simpler and less intense aroma and composition but is used sometimes instead of the black truffle because of its lower price.

That is why education and training is such an important task. That is why Sarrión, a town in Teruel known as the world capital of black truffles, organizes each year an Annual Fair and numerous activities to discover one of the wonders of the Spanish High Desert.

perro trufero sarrion

A new healthy venture for The Yummy Bull

Elena Fernandez

After 3 years writing about healthy Mediterranean food, dishes, entrepreneurs, recipes and tips I have finally decided to take the plunge and to push a bit harder in my compromise to advocate for a healthy fun way to eat. So this time the entrepreneur is me!

Since last September I have been working as co-founder of Greenkrate, a startup based in Seattle to launch a school lunch boxes service delivered to your door twice a week.

So, well we are finally on stage! We are now accepting orders to begin  operations in the Eastside area in late January. Our menu focuses on balanced, appealing, easy to manage cold dishes for kids that we will keep them happy, energetic and fueled for their long and demanding school day. Each day’s lunch is pre-packed in separate compostable containers. All you need to do is store them in the fridge, and they’re ready to grab-and-go in the morning.

We know many kids can be picky eaters, so we’ve designed our menu to be approachable too. We have always available substitution meals plus vegetarian versions of each meal and nut free options. And we only work with the best quality, organic, local and seasonal ingredients.

We are a small team of parents that want to make a difference in our kids diets giving you convenience and saving you time and money. Do you want to jump in?

You can find info about how to order your meals here

And you can see a whole week sample menu here.

 

greenkrate-nov-2016-100-3

 

Spanish vines, Washington wines. Spanish engineer, Washingtonian wine maker

Elena Fernandez 

Nothing could make me happier than seeing a wine maker… making wine. Even better if he is a fellow Spaniard compatriot. Javier Alfonso, owner of Pomum Cellars, was dealing with a batch of Tempranillo grapes just when I met him is his cellar at the Warehouse district in Woodinville (WA) last week.

This hub of wineries established in small garages is particular. Situated in the outskirts of the city around 50 little size wineries produce wine in a small scale but with great quality.

Many of the wine makers have second jobs and dedicate the evenings and the weekends to their passion. Javier did the same until 2012, when he decided to abandon his promising career as aeronautical engineer to fully focus on Pomum cellars.

foto-pomum-1

He began to produce wine in 2004 as a weekend hobby in his house garage “We wanted to produce wine for ourselves but our friends loved it and encouraged us to increase our production”. They finally moved to the Warehouse district in 2007 and to their current location in 2010. So, inspiring to know that Pomum occupies today the previous location of Betz wines, one of the most respected brands in Washington.

But Javier brought his love for wine making directly from his roots, a tiny Spanish village that I had the opportunity to visit a long long time ago, Castillejo de Robledo. In that historical gem his family has vineyards that belong to the DO Ribera de Duero, one of the most important wine areas in Spain.

“I soon realized that the continental climate of this region in Spain was really similar to the characteristics of  the Eastern Washington desert. With hot short dry summers and long and cold winters” this area is blessed with the Yakima and Columbia river waters. Javier picks the grapes cultivated exclusively for him for farm contractors in the Yakima valley area. Climate and soil are the key factors in wine making: “soil gives flavor, climate gives viability”

foto-javier-alfonso-2

He wanted to give a chance to our national grape, Tempranillo to grow up here in Washington, and as a pioneer he brought the first vine from Spain in 2005. “It was a long and complicated process managed through a Spanish scientific institution and the UC Davies in California because they had to check, clean and classify the vine to give it the final blessing”. To get an idea about how special Idilico wines are nowadays only around 20 wineries in Washington work with Tempranillo varieties and only 5 with Albariño grapes.

You can find two more Spanish grape varieties, Tinta de Toro and Graciano, in the Idilico wines: “Spanish vines, Washington wines,” as he explains with an open smile. But you only can get them through the wine club or dining in one of the restaurants that carry this wines in their wine menu in the Seattle area.

5282907a-477f-40d1-9b17-95fdf02b720d-large

Celebrating National Grilled Cheese day… with Mahon cheese sandwich and gazpacho

Don´t forget to spread the butter!

Don´t forget to spread the butter before grilling it!

Tasting Washington… and beyond

Elena Fernandez 

And here we are! Facing again a big food and wine event! The difference is that Taste Washington is not big is totally massive! So massive that is the biggest of his kind in the US. 225 wineries, 65 restaurants. 700 wines, 5,000 glasses, 200,000 wine pours. And these are only the estimated facts of the Grand Tasting weekend. Much more happened last week because this event who began humble but steady 19 years ago reinvents itself every year.

2016 edition novelties were 2 fun evening parties: Red & White Party and The New Vintage and 3 lunch excursions really rooted in the sustainable farm to table movement that is shaking the State and pretty much the way we are beginning to approach food in the whole country.

Fila ostras

Schedule issues only allowed me to attend Saturday´s Grand Tasting for the first time ever. This means a fresh new approach but some amateur mistakes driven by me and my impossible goal to envision the real size of the event. Because who is able to taste 700 wines without ending emotionally, intellectually and physically intoxicated? It´s simply impossible to do it although a fun winemaker from Walla Walla told me: “Some people try… and fail” giving me a metaphorical wink. “I prefer focusing on trying all the food”.

So you should have checked the impressive list in advance but you didn´t and you don´t have so much time now. And every booth is a magnet calling your attention… And then, between bite and bite You see Pomum Cellars! No problem in admitting that I find pretty awesome the idea of making Washington wines with Spanish varietals. I visited the winery last year and the wines didn’t disappoint me at all so first wine tasting of the day.

Javier Alfonso Pomum CellarsI was lucky enough to meet the owner and winemaker, Javier Alfonso, who came to WA to get his degree in Engineering and never went back. But he hasn´t forgotten his love for Ribera del Duero one of my favorite wine areas in Spain where the climate and terrain is pretty similar to Eastern Washington with cold winters, dry summers and a huge difference in temperature from day to night which gives this bold balance between sugar and acidity to the wine. Really good red wines at this winery particularly the Tempranillo, made with our unofficial official grapes.  And don´t forget Idilico Albariño to pair with oysters and crab.

April Redout from the relatively new Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center in Prosser was so nice to give another clue about some new interesting things happening. She invited me to visit this center in Prosser (bucket list) and pointed me towards Intrinsic Wine Co. a new adventure from Saint Michelle wine group leaded by Juan Muñoz-Oca his head winemaker.

Not easy to talk with this expert, one of the real celebrities of the day but he was so nice to take a few minutes to explain why this wine is so different: “the grapes remain on the skins for 9 months and 10% of the wine is fermented in a concrete tank”.

It´s to interesting and innovative that in a back to the farmland era as previously cited Muñoz-Oca has taken a complete different direction creating an urban modern wine. Even the amazing bottle design “Fun, it looks like a flamenco dancer” I thought, it was created from graffiti art. Another really interesting wine really rich, I usually find Cabernet a bit plain and soft, for my list perfect to impress guests and hosts.

Intrinsic

 

Really fun the marketing campaign of Red Mountain AVA alliance with pins reading “Ask me why Red Mountain is so special” and other pins with the answers scattered through the association wineries. Sometimes you don´t need a lot of budget to make an impact.

DSC_0085Because when you are competing with other 224 wineries you have to use to imagination to stand out. Charles & Charles winery only needed to be the only ones… as far as I know to serve rosé wine. It´s fun this trendy trend of you not being a wine connoisseur because you drink rosé. I love rosé because it reminds me two things: summer and paella. You can find an occasion for every kind of wine. Other interesting classics with no failure rate… Betz Winery, Gorman Winery and again Alexandria Nicole Jet Black Syrah 2014. (link Seattle wine and food experience).
Kalaloch lodgeLet´s talk about food now. Nope I didn´t hit the 65 restaurants either but I tried to be pretty eclectic as I had to give my cork-vote to my favorite one. It looks like I missed the favorite, the Swiftwater Kobe short rib… Maybe because I am more into the seafood/fish world. Anyway I always will have room for torchon and foie, really good. Good to know there is a reliable French style place so close to home in Kirkland Le Grand Bistro AmericainThe nice people from another Capitol Hill classic, Gnocchi Bar, showed me how to cook them to perfection.

And even better to know that there are some guys curing ham Spaniard style in Leavenworth. Yes, they call themselves Cured. Leavenworth is the perfect place for that, cold and drier in winter. I bet they wouldn´t be so successful in the Puget Sound area. Really good products, a touch salty for my palate, but they point an extra good reason to visit the Bavarian village soon.

ostrasOf course I had to follow the legendary line to get some Aqua oysters. Simply amazing. In fact, I was about to give them my vote, nothing is more perfect than oysters with squeezed lemon to me. But I wanted to reward some creativity too so I finally picked Kalaloch lodge´s chef, Ashley Miller, salmon mousse. OK, salmon mousse is not so innovative but the truth is that I love simple beautiful, classic flavors, not 12 ingredients packed in a bite.

Fun because I had the opportunity to taste his food again 2 days ago during my first epic loop around the Olympic Peninsula. Superb ingredients treated with simplicity and respect, just the way I love it. And with this also epic sunset as background. Lucky me.

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A real NW food and wine experience

Elena Fernandez 

Writing about a massive food event like Seattle Food and Wine Experience is always tricky. It´s like trying to describe a complicated puzzle piece by piece to the eyes that never had the opportunity to taste, smell and see all the bounty and the complexity that the Pacific NW (and our special guest, California) have to offer.

You also know that your body and your mind have to physically endure a lot of food and alcohol offerings and you don´t really want to feel silly sick or terribly bloated after this. The idea is having fun not a post event nightmare. So my strategy is grabbing a first bite, usually It will be close to the entrance, jambalaya in this occasion, and a glass of sparkling water and go for a first quick tour all around the place to see and prioritize your favorite pit stops.

I was particularly interested in the American Lamb Board´s Brews and Ewes Experience but I wanted something lighter at the beginning so I dropped by Chinoise restaurant booth. Unluckily the Bibimbap that gave chef Thoa Nguyen the victory against Bobby Flay in the Food Network show had ran out but the poke salad was really good too… A bit too much spicy for my Occidental taste though.

So I needed a glass of wine to rinse my palate. White if possible. Chateau Saint Michelle Riesling was a really interesting option. Loved again the classic, everyone´s favorite, the dry one but Eroica brand was quite an interesting discovery for me a bit more  fruity but not overpowering.  Both good options not only to enjoy as a drink but to steam clams and mussels, two of my favorite seafood dishes.

Just landed in lamb´s territory I grabbed one of the winning bites of the day, the smoked lamb meatballs from Gavin Stephenson, chef from The Georgian at the Fairmont Olympic hotel. Cute tiny little pots were used to highlight the hearty spirit of the dish and the potatoes were simply awesome. I felt more disappointed with the cold and not so appealing sticky rice cake from Frolik. Lamb plays better with a more traditional simple approach as its flavor is strong enough. So interesting the info displayed by the American Lamb Board about recipes, pairing and cooking techniques that you can find also in their web.

Talking about funky unexpected meats… meats that we love to cook in Spain I was so lucky to bump into Nicky Farms based in Portland. This company, created to support small ranchers in Oregon sell to retailers and restaurants delicacies as quail, goat, rabbit and venison. I had the opportunity to enjoy a really goat mortadella prepared by chef Seth Fenald from Lark and to have a fun experience exchanging with them my tips as a Spanish cook. Talking about more meat I had the opportunity to taste dirty rice with pulled pork for the first time from Davids & co a small American restaurant located in Benarroya Hall and It was pretty nice too.

The truth is that the pattern of not so much fish at all and this will be mainly salmon was played yesterday too. It´s a bit disappointing that a place like Seattle who is at the sea doesn´t take full advantage of this location to enjoy even more the gifts of the sea.

Time for more drinks… chosen carefully and sipped frugally. Fun the honey beverages from Nectar Creek in Corvallis (Oregon), interesting my first Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley Vineyards, although I´m a girl of Grenache and Syrah, really happy with Jet Black Syrah 2014 from Alexandria Nicole Cellars who will be released this summer. Close to zero the Spanish wines representation at the event. Only Bodegas Torres 2014 5G Garnacha paired with Iberico cured ham… A hidden gem that I hope any foodie didn´t miss.

I wouldn´t to finish my SWFE chronicle without featuring the small entrepreneurs and artisans that work so hard to fulfill their dreams and to give us amazing food or condiments. It´s always so fun to talk with them and to learn from their experience and their journey. Sportsmen´s cannery, Rusty´s cheesecake, Forte chocolates, Copperworks Distillery are only a few of them. Special mention for Alaska Pure Sea Salt and Co from Sitka (Alaska) who worked for 5 years to find the perfect flake salt, the salt that I call Maldon. A bunch of dreams, goals and experience under the same roof for a few hours. This is Seattle Wine and Food Experience.

Click on any photo to see the full gallery 

Seattle food landscape will pop this weekend

Elena Fernandez 

As a final kick to Seattle´s so boring gloomy winter before beautiful spring  this weekend arrives Seattle Wine and food experience will be a beatiful oxygen pump to Northwest foodies. More than 200 vendors including chefs, wine experts and cider and brew masters will help locals and visitors to enjoy and appreciate all of these food blessings that are in our backyard.

Lamb will be highlighted this year, something that makes this Spanish girl really happy as It´s the star protein in my homeland region, Aragon. So eager to taste our local chefs creations. Lamb is a powerful tricky meat.  Properly cooked makes a sublime experience, poorly cooked or seasoned can taste too strong or earthy in your palate.

Other more unusual types of meat will be played too by chef Jonathan Sundstrom from Lark, recently nominated as Outstanding restaurant semifinalist in the James Beard Awards and Seth Fenald from Novelty Hill/Januik wineries.

pop seafoodCulinary pilmigrage will be showcased here thanks to the Northwest Travel Experience too and wine, more wine, tastings courtesy of Yakima Valley Tourism. Like the cherry on top back by popular demand: Chateau Saint Michelle Riesling Challenge.

But other cocktails will be present too thanks to the magic of Dustin Haarstad, founder of Blind Tiger cocktails and mixologist at Cannon Whiskey & Bitters Emporium. Guest will have the opportunity to enjoy them in the Celebrity Cruises Modern Luxury Lounge.

Last but not least a new chefs competition kicks off, Pop! Bubbles and Seafood where local chefs and sommeliers like Thierry Rautureau from Loulay and Lindsay-Thorsen from RN47 will showcase their culinary artistry. Oysters lovers will have the opportunity to chat with local expert Cynthia Nims too. Cynthia just published her new book Oysters, recipes than bring home a taste from the sea. 

Unfortunately for my kid who loves food and wants to be a chef this is a 21-year over event so come prepared with your ID and maybe in a taxi or Uber ride just in case you want to party 100%.

 

Seattle Wine and Food Experience at Seattle Center Exhibition Hall on February 26, 2012.

 

Get more info here

Madrid Fusion, the highest world cuisine in Madrid

Alicia Díaz

The best world chefs have gathered these days in Madrid at the International Gastronomy Summit Madrid Fusion. The Yummy Bull did not want to miss this opportunity to see firsthand what is “being cooked” in the kitchen of the best international chefs. A unique and essential experience.

Under the slogan The Language of Post Vanguardia the attendants enjoyed the knowledge of chefs as relevant Grant Achatz, Joan Roca, Jose Andres, Sergi Arola, Elena Arzak, Oriol Balaguer, Martin Berasategui, Dani Garcia, Chele González, Sacha Hormaechea, Daniel Humm, Tatsuo Nishizawa, Paco Roncero, Pepe Solla, Dabiz Muñoz and some others.

This post-avant-garde moment, as defined by José Carlos Capel, president of Madrid Fusion, relocates his eye on tradition, on the product and even in culinary techniques inherited from our ancestors. Chefs like Paco Morales have chosen Andalusian cuisine to adapt it to contemporary cuisine. Other Ibero-American chefs have done the same with ancient techniques of pre-Hispanic indigenous tribes. “That which is called vanguard and tradition,” said Joan Roca (El Celler de Can Roca, Best restaurant in the world), is that “we have moved to committed to a healthy, sustainable and humane cuisine “.

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The sea, resource

In this commitment to the product, our seas have much to say as by proved Angel Leon (Aponiente, Two Stars Michelin). His cuisine brings together the plankton, outbreaks of vegetables grown in salt water, the first vegetable oil obtained from the sea, the sugars obtained from freeze-dried algae and, of course, all kinds of fish, with a firm commitment to the so-called fish discard. “We live in an untenable situation in which fish 90,000 tonnes of fish, 40,000 are discarded. We have to change the mentality of those who just want to eat normal commercial species. The sea has much more to offer, “he said. Its Aponiente has moved to a lumber mill where they have a surface of 2,700f2 exclusively to clean fish. 42 people work in the kitchen with these fish discards to create amazing dishes like sea sausages.

Taste of Spain

One of the highlights in this edition of Madrid Fusion has been Taste Spain, starring a space of eleven domestic destinations: Ruta de la Tapa, a tour of the Spanish cuisine in “small bites” as Segovia lamb stew, stuffed shrimp and sea urchin Cambrils red shrimp, lentils DOP Lanzarote, Canarian black pig cooked and boiled shrimp in sea water or oysters from la Rapita, all accompanied by the best national wines, as Malaparte, Segovia cellar of the same name.

Enofusión made a come back to have their role in the great event of gastronomy

In Enofusión space where we could attend a wide variety of prestigious tastings, technical conferences and tasting spaces, besides knowing all the news of the great wineries and brands from Spain. This year, for the first time we could find speedtasting, an original way to taste the wines based on the speed dating system, where the winemakers showcase in a few minutes wines to journalists and bloggers.

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