All this recent sunshine might have gone to my head, but I am going to be exceptionally bold and announce that the prosecco party has peaked and this summer, we should be sipping on cava instead! I think this Spanish bubbly tastes better than prosecco, is more akin to champagne, but (and here’s the sneaky little bonus) is generally more affordable than both! In Catalonia, the home of cava, it’s absolutely acceptable to pop open a bottle at any time of the day, and for no reason other than the fact you’re thirsty. It’s an ethos I can get on board with, and totally did on a recent trip to Barcelona – there was cava at breakfast, a sneaky glass or two in the afternoon, and a few more with dinner!
But Barcelona is not the only place where you can indulge in this cava-filled lifestyle… we Londoners can now raise a glass of the Spanish bubbly at the new Anna de Codorniu Terrace on the Thames. Doubletree by Hilton London Docklands have given their terrace an Anna-makeover – casual and comfortable seating, light and airy atmosphere, plenty of Anna cava on hand! When we found ourselves there on a beautifully balmy evening, we immediately felt like we were far, far from the hectic pace of the city, even though it was just a short ferry ride from Canary Wharf!
Codorniu is Spain’s oldest family run business, with records of their winemaking activities dating back as far as 1551, I think they know a thing or two about what they’re doing! They created their first cava in 1872 using the Traditional Method, and the business has continued to grow and flourish ever since. The Anna de Codorniu cava was introduced in 1983, the first to incorporate the chardonnay grapes into the mix, and to this day, it is one of Spain’s best selling cavas. Named after the Codorniu heiress, this cava has a unique freshness and aroma which comes from the addition of the chardonnay.
Personally, I was a fan from the first sip – light, sweet, and dangerously refreshing – to the very last one, many hours later! In between all that, I did manage to consume some delectable tapas from the restaurant’s menu… the usual favourites like patatas bravas, chorizo, gambas, are all there but my personal favourite was the fried chicken. So it’s not particularly Spanish, so what? I think any carnivore can get on board with biting into a juicy bit of chook, encased in the crunchiest crust.
To balance out the free-flowing cava, we needed more food… but we had to cook it first. Paella, arguably one of Spain’s most famous dishes, was on the menu that night. I was thrilled at the prospect of eating it, but a little more concerned about getting the pleasure of doing so sometime before midnight as its one of those dishes which takes its own sweet, sweet time. However, I have now discovered that with a little teamwork, and a lot of cava and stirring, you can actually turn one out in less than an hour. It didn’t have the traditional crusty bottom, but the warming flavours of the saffron and paprika, with a touch of Anna herself were divine!
We finished our night quite literally on a high, a sugar high, that is. The chefs had decided to surprise us with the most decadent, tooth-achingly sweet treats – our very own freakshake jugs. Each of the jugs was filled with a Baileys-spiked chocolate milkshake, which we then topped with anything and everything from more chocolate sauce to brownie bites to macarons! It was delicious but I tell you, I was pretty happy to have a glass of Anna on hand… a refreshing swig between spoonfuls was the way to go!
I can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to get a DIY freakshake bar or be able to make your own paella when you visit the Anna de Codorniu Terrace, but I can guarantee you’ll still have a fantastic time there. The atmosphere is so relaxed, the views are pretty spectacular, and of course… the cava is so good, you’ll be imagining yourself to Barcelona in no time!
Which type of bubbles do you prefer – champagne, prosecco, or cava?
Thanks to Cordoniu and Doubletree by Hilton London Docklands for letting us indulge in copious amounts of cava all night long, but as always, all opinions are mine and mine alone!
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