How to Bring Spanish Wine and Food into Your Own Kitchen During COVID-19 and Beyond
There is no better way to enjoy self-isolation than for you to do a theme night at home and use your imagination to take you to Europe. With the world feeling smaller than ever, Europe feels like our neighbour, and now is the time to support our neighbourhood. Seeing as how it’s currently impossible to visit and travel abroad, you can now show your support by learning and sharing new details about a country you love, reminiscing about your past travel adventures, hosting virtual tastings with friends and family, and having themed evenings at home, with food and wine.
As an avid wine enthusiast, my wine cellar has been filling up (and also getting emptied, at the same time) over the past few weeks. I started to think about how to creatively support the regions that need it most and also bring friends and family into my own kitchen — without anyone leaving their home base.
I decided to call up Devan Rajkumar, a close friend, world-renowned celebrity chef and avid traveller, to help me put together an “At-Home Spanish Wine and Tapas Menu.” With these easy steps and the following recipes, you can be transported to Spain with an inspired menu and wine tasting.
Both of us have been lucky enough to have visited Spain a couple of times, and we reminisced about what a vast gastronomic region it is, with so much to offer when it comes to food, wine, hospitality, architecture, wild and indigenous grape varieties, warm sunshine, wonderful wines and picturesque scenery. Personally, I find the wines from Spain super-exotic, wonderfully delicious, perfectly on point price-wise, offering a high quality and handcrafted to be paired with fun foods.
“I have been fortunate enough to have travelled to Spain on three different occasions. Spending time in Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga and Ibiza, what have been consistent on all my trips are the beautiful culture and magical food scene. It is Incredible how the food scene changes from region to region, and I truly love the wines as well. I always return refreshed and inspired, and am excited to have put together this delicious and easy recipe.”
Below, chef Devan and I have prepared a perfect itinerary for a Spanish-themed wine- and food-tasting party with ingredients that are simple yet delicious. To begin your party, invite your friends virtually and send them the recipes and wine list to join along for an evening of Spanish fun. And if you’re able to practise your Spanish-speaking skills at the same time, that is a bonus.
5 EASY STEPS TO A SPANISH WINE TASTING PARTY BY ANGELA AIELLO
Step #1 – Cheers with Cava
You can pick up a bottle of Cava (spanish Sparkling wine). There is no better way to bring smiles to faces than hearing a bottle pop. Your choice may be white (blanco) or rosé (rosado). The Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo are the most popular and traditional grape varieties for producing cava.
Step #2 – Entertain with an Exotic White
Whether it’s white Tempranillo, Verdejo, Godello, Malvasia, Verdelho or Albariño, find something super wild and indigenous to Spain by looking for regions like Rueda or Rías Baixas and have a wine adventure with a new grape!
Step #3 – Raise a Glass of Rosado
Rosado (spanish for rosé) is perfect for every season, every day, and so many meals! Spanish pink wine tends to be juicy and delicious and perfectly suited for all types of food pairings. A no-fail wine and food pairing trick is to pair the colour of the wines with the colour of the food!
Step #4 – Time for Tempranillo
The hero red grape of Spain Tempranillo is a full-bodied red wine that can sometimes come pre-aged. It is typical of Spanish red wines to be aged in the bottle or in a cellar for a few years before they come to market. That means sometimes you can be lucky enough to find a 10 year old wine to sip on and learn from. You can also branch out and try some new grapes like Garnacha, Monastrell and Bobal.
Step #5 – Sip on Sherry
Made primarily from the Palomino grape, Sherry is fortified with grape spirit in order to increase their final alcohol content. Sherry ranges drastically in it’s flavour profiles and styles. So, on one end of the spectrum sherry can be dry and nutty in flavour, and on the other end it can be sweet, and/or oxidized. Sherry is a great world to explore! So grab a bottle of each to taste and discover the uniqueness of the “Sherry Triangle”.
AT HOME SPANISH RECIPES BY CHEF DEVAN RAJKUMAR
Chorizo, Manchego, Olive & Grape Tomato Skewers with Olive Oil & Fresh Parsley
70g manchego cheese, sliced into 10 squares
10 olives of your choice, pitted
50g of chorizo cut into 10 slices
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp fresh chopped parsley
10 small skewers
Method: Begin by placing the cheese on the bottom of the skewer, followed by tomato, olive and chorizo. Drizzle with olive oil and fresh parsley and serve!
Watermelon, Peach, Arugula & Serrano Ham Salad w/ Blood Orange Vinaigrette
4 cups of arugula
1 cup peach wedges
60g Serrano ham, thinly slice and torn
½ cup walnuts, toasted & chopped
½ cup blood orange juice
½ tsp blood orange zest
½ tsp Dijon
1 tsp shallot, finely minced
½ tsp garlic, finely minced
¼ cup grapeseed or neutral tasting oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients except oil for vinaigrette into a blender. Begin blending and once combined, slowly drizzle in oil to emulsify. Alternatively this can be done in a mixing bowl with a whisk, follow same process and adjust seasoning as you see fit. In another mixing bowl add all arugula, half the peaches, half the ham and half the walnuts. Add the desired amount of vinaigrette and toss well. Season with salt and pepper. When plating the salad use the remaining ingredients to garnish.
1. Segura Viudas Heredad Reserva Brut Cava Sparkling Dry 750 mL bottle VINTAGES#: 558825 $32.95
2. Gran Feudo Rose 750 mL bottle | LCBO#: 165845 $12.85 Spain
3. Marques De Riscal Rueda DO 750 mL bottle | LCBO#: 36822 $13.05
4. Paco & Lola Albariño Alvarinho 750 mL bottle | VINTAGES#: 350041 $19.95
5. Castano Monastrell Tinto 750 mL bottle | LCBO#: 635771 $9.00 Yecla, Spain
6. Montecillo Rioja Reserva 750 mL bottle | LCBO#: 621003 $17.95 Rioja, Spain
7. Beronia Reserva 750 mL bottle | VINTAGES#: 50203 $21.95 Rioja, Spain
8. Alvear Fino Montilla-Morilles Dry Sherry 750 mL bottle | LCBO#: 112771 $13.95
9. Osborne Santa Maria Cream Sherry 750 mL bottle | LCBO#: 31120 $13.95 Spain
Written by Angela Aiello