I have recently mused that in a past life, I was born a Spaniard because whenever I set foot in Spain, I immediately feel at ease. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been a guest, but the country and people have always seemed welcoming and friendly. I think I could quickly acclimatise to a life of late starts and late nights, indulging in all the hearty and flavoursome Spanish cuisine, and sipping on their well-rounded wines with every meal. The more we see and eat of the country, the more we want to stay longer.
We’ll always have our snappy weekend jaunts, but we’re also embracing a slower, more leisurely way of travel. Our last Spanish adventure was a ten day affair through Andalusia; it gave us enough time to see all the sights but also just to sit back, relax and do nothing but just be present in whatever Spanish scene we were in. I loved that trip so much, I’m already eyeing up a slow amble through another part of the country… This time, it’s Catalonia after being inspired by Inntravel’s Homage to Catalonia tour.
Inntravel specialise in the kind of slow travel that I’m liking the sound of more and more, but what really caught my attention with this particular self-guided tour was the focus on wine… oh yes, I find it very hard to resist a glass or two of a Spanish vino. I’m hoping to pencil in the trip through Catalonia from the small town of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, otherwise known as the ‘Capital of Cava’ to the beautiful city of Girona, some day soon, but in the meantime, I can pretend to whisk myself away to this part of the Continent with a bit of food and wine…
With a couple of friends in tow, we decided to embark on our own homage to Catalonia; armed with a few bottles of wine from the region and our own version of tapas to match. We kicked off our Catalonian wine adventure with the Codorniu Cava Cuvée Barcelona Brut, as this is where the bubbly tipple originates from, it would have been rude not to pop one open! To say this drop is versatile would be an understatement; this sweet and fruity cava would work at anytime of the day with virtually anything according to the tasting notes. Having tasted it, we would be inclined to agree!
We followed that up with the very enjoyable Gran Viña Sol Chardonnay. In fact, this was a pleasant surprise for us Sauvignon Blanc-loving, Chardonnay-hating New Zealanders. From our experiences, we were expecting an aggressive, oaky wine but it was so far from it, we all happily accepted a top up! As we’re responsible drinkers, there was definitely food to accompany all this wine. The first round involved a range of Spanish classics such as boquerones and olives, to a more fusion interpretation of the brief such as a moreish chorizo and chickpea bruschetta!
The Jane Ventura Rosat Seleccio rosé garnered a more mixed response; some of us weren’t too keen while others could definitely see themselves downing a bottle in the summer sun. We paired this with a traditional Spanish omelette, and a slightly less traditional but no less tasty gnocchi with pumpkin and feta. And to finish, there was a beautifully seared steak marinaded and served with a piquant and spicy herb sauce, and a big old bowl of patatas bravas which we paired with the bottle of red. The Albet i Noya Curiós Tempranillo was fresh and light as described, but we still couldn’t help but wish it was a bit more full bodied and long lasting on the palate. Despite that minor niggle, it went wonderfully with the steak and we still gobbled it up in a flash!
And just like that, we felt like we had a whistle-stop trip to Catalonia – all it took was a few hours, four bottles of wine, a selection of Spanish and Spanish-inspired dishes, and imaginative company! Of course, if will never replace actually being there, but with the right food and wine, it’s possible to escape to a specific country or region, even if just for an evening! If this has whet your appetite for the wines of Catalonia why not enter my competition below to win a bottle of the Gran Viña Sol Chardonnay 2015 – it’s been approved by us New Zealanders so it must be decent!
This is a collaboration with Inntravel but as always, all opinions are mine and mine alone!