Spain Gourmetour

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Not so long ago fine Spanish saffron was an endangered species, its very existence threatened by a cheap, inferior product from Iran. A decade after the birth of the PDO Azafrån de la Mancha, things are finally looking up. But there is still work to do, says Paul Richardson, before Spanish saffron wins back its true value—not just in the marketplace, but in the kitchens of the world.



María José San Román



We know their names and some of their creations, we can often put a face to the name, but we don’t know what goes on behind the scenes, how their creative processes work, what their everyday lives are like, and how they relate to their restaurants, to the physical space where their creations are first presented in public. This new section, called Close-up, aims to find out more about the people in the top ranks of today’s culinary scene. This closer look comes together with recipes devised by them in the product articles that appear in each issue. In some cases the chefs are experts on the subject and, in others, we ask them to work with products unknown to them, to experiment and reveal here the result of their explorations. María José San Román, chef at Monastrell, is the first to be featured in this section, from which we hope readers will gain some insight into her cuisine. Her renowned expertise is in the use of saffron, so the saffron recipes given have been, are, or will be on her restaurant’s menu. But dried figs were new to her, at least in a professional capacity, so the recipes given here are the result of her research and her creativity combined.



Almudena Muyo/©ICEX


Tomás Zarza and Toya Legido/©ICEX


Jenny McDonald/©ICEX

and verve




Switzerland, London, Australia, Jordan, Lebanon, the United States, and Italy are just some of the countries marking the life of María José San Román, all of them related in one way or another to cuisine. And her stay in Switzerland, at the early age of 15, was no exception. “Above all, my mother wanted us to learn foreign languages,” says San Román. With a grant to study at the exclusive Miramonte school in Montreux, she spent her time “either in class or in the kitchen.” It was her job to help prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner, and she admits that she used to find it embarrassing to talk about these early days. “But now I don’t have to prove anything to anyone, and I feel proud of my beginnings and especially of my mother and her clear-sightedness. I spent most of my time preparing vegetables, but I learned about different foods and a way of cooking that was a world apart from how things were done back home in Spain.” These quiet confidences came as we relaxed before lunch, after spending a busy, sunny fall morning together. But the morning had started out with a rush of energy when she welcomed me to the outdoor terraza of her newlyrelocated Monastrell Restaurant, now on the ground floor of the Amérigo Hotel, in Alicante’s city center (on the east coast of Spain). She was keen for us to get down to business and to tell me all about her latest experience, and recent rediscovery: extra virgin olive oil.


Extra virgin olive oil “The Interprofessional Association for Spanish Olive Oil (a non-profit organization bringing together all those involved in the olive oil sector—growers, millers, distributors—and aiming to strengthen the position of Spanish olive oil in the world market)

selected me to represent Spain at the 4th edition of the Beyond Extra Virgin International Conference, held in the Italian city of Verona (and organized in late September 2010 by the association of Italian producers of TRE-E highquality olive oil, with the collaboration of the Culinary Institute of America, among others). They gave me access, over two months, to the leading experts and to over 40 varieties of Spanish virgin olive oil. During this total immersion, I confirmed that an Arbequina varietal oil from Córdoba is completely different to an Arbequina from Lérida. Depending on where the oil comes from, I found it could enhance or even spoil a dish. So I spent two months having fun with olive oil.” What she calls having fun ended up as a practical presentation at the conference. “People get tired of seeing techniques. They prefer to see the product itself.” Unlike the other speakers, she presented several dishes blended with Spanish monovarietal olive oils. “I produced an ajoblanco (cold soup made from almonds and olive oil and dressed with a splash of sherry vinegar) using Hojiblanca oil from Córdoba, in which everything blended, achieving perfect balance, in contrast with an Hojiblanca from Almería; a coca (a flat bread base topped with savory or sweet ingredients) using a Manzanilla oil from Cáceres; and salmon with mango dressed with Cornicabra oil from Toledo, in which the mango


phased out the bitterness of the oil and enhanced the other flavors.” Her presentation was warmly received and she received, as I confirmed later, congratulations from the organizers. There was plenty to talk about, but our conversation was constantly interrupted by phone calls, by a multitude of practicalities to be sorted out, even by a journalist calling her in her capacity as President of Alicante’s Provincial Association of Hospitality Entrepreneurs. And meanwhile she kept her eye on her laptop not only to show me some stunning photos of her dishes, but also to answer the odd urgent e-mail. This huge energy,

stemming from her enthusiasm for what she does, is the perfect definition of San Román. Without this vitality and perseverance, she probably would never have become such an important name on the Spanish gastronomic scene, especially considering she is a self-taught cook driven, above all, by her determination to never stop learning.

Hobby turned career Although she had spent much of her life in the kitchen, it was only when her children grew up that she started to take things more seriously. Her husband, a hotel and

catering entrepreneur, encouraged her. “I used to make fresh pasta, I loved baking, and I always had guests for lunch or dinner. I was so keen that my husband gave me the Salvat Encyclopedia of Cooking so I could learn about basic recipes from different parts of the world. Back then, there was not much available in Spain by way of culinary publications, and that book was partly to blame for my dedication to cooking.” Something of a bookworm, San José tells me she has studied every page of the encyclopedia’s ten tomes. “I discovered I had a passion for cooking. Everyone eventually finds out what they love best, and I found cooking.”


trees and mostly-dried figs are hand picked off the ground on a daily basis. To this end, the ground under the trees is leveled at the beginning of the season to remove rocks and other objects. While conventional factories use chemical fumigation and disinfectant techniques, organic figs are prepared through natural washing and blanching processes and then placed in a deep-freeze chamber at 32ºC (-25.6ºF) for at least 72 hours. In other respects, however, the process of making dried figs in Extremadura is similar everywhere. Thanks to the hot, dry climate, the first step of the drying process occurs on the trees where figs are naturally dried for up to a month after fully ripening. After losing about 80% of their water content they fall to the ground, where they are collected and brought to the factories. These whole, dried Calabacita figs are initially hard, with a wrinkled skin and pale golden color. In the factory, they are sorted and treated for insects and then boiled and finally dried with fans before being cold-stored with their humidity closely monitored. While it seems rather counterintuitive to make dried figs by drying, rehydrating, and then drying them again, the process not only cleans and disinfects the figs, but also serves to soften and restore their juicy and yielding interiors. The finished figs have a maximum humidity level of 24%, as anything higher could cause fermentation. According to Juan Jesús, who owns one of Almoharín’s largest fig plantations and buys most of the organic figs produced in

Extremadura, producing organic dried figs is much more expensive due to the varying requirements of different countries and the physical manpower needed to prepare the product. However, it is an effort that is paying off. In just five years Ecoficus has an annual production of around 80,000 kg (88 tons), of which 93% are exported to countries like France, Holland, Norway, Germany and the United States. Juan Jesús believes that this success is due to the fact that consumers like to know “the history of where their food comes from”, and that it is important to respect traditions while also creating attractive new products. Despite the fact that figs are Almoharín’s most traditional industry, Juan Jesús feels that they are still not consumed in this area on a regular basis. “Here, figs are traditionally eaten on the 1st of November for All Saint’s Day and at Christmas. In November, children go around with linen bags called talegas asking for treats. They are given dried figs and nuts and then gather in the countryside to make bodas or matrimonios (marriages) by stuffing the nuts into the figs.” Although they are popular local treats, these nut-stuffed figs are not regularly commercialized in this area like they are farther north in Losar de la Vera. Juan Jesús believes that this is due to both the larger cost and effort involved in their preparation, and the lack of a commercial tradition with this product. So, while focused on expanding the export market, Spanish fig growers in this area also hope to increase the year-round



Photos, recipes

Toya Legido/©ICEX

The wines have been selected by Carlos Domingo Lozano Álvarez, sommelier at Monastrell restaurant.


María José San Román*

TIGERNUT HORCHATA ICE CREAM with flour-free dried fig sponge cake

(Helado de horchata de chufas con bizcocho, sin harina, de higos secos) How can an Alicante-bred woman like me, who loves horchata (beverage made with tigernuts, water and sugar) and tigernuts themselves, leave tigernuts out of her recipes? The truth is, I have eaten tigernuts since I was small, and they form part of my very Mediterranean culinary background. That is why I have prepared an ice cream based on horchata, to be accompanied by an impressive fig sponge cake, made entirely without wheat flour. There is hardly any added sugar, which makes it a dessert that is easy to eat and highly digestible, not to mention healthy. It is made from dry produce that can always be kept close to hand.

4 dried figs; fresh tigernuts.

Decorate with fresh tigernuts and dried fig fragments.

For the fig sponge cake: 200 g / 7 oz dry

Preparation time

Cuello de Dama figs, previously soaked in

30 minutes


water for 12 hours; 200 g / 7 oz ground Marcona almonds; 6 eggs; 6 g / 1/6 oz baking powder; 75 g / 3 oz sugar. For the horchata ice cream: 1,000 ml / 4 1/4 cup fresh horchata; 100 g / 3 1/2 oz ProSorbet.

Fig sponge cake Mix all the ingredients and cook in a 20 x 25 cm / 7.8 x 9.8 in tray at 170ºC / 338ºF for 15 minutes.

Horchata ice cream Mix the ingredients and freeze in a Pacojet container.

Recommended wine Casta Diva Reserva Real, from the Gutiérrez de la Vega winery, is a golden-colored, 100% Moscatel wine that has a powerful aroma of crystallized fruit, herbs and withered flowers with honeyed notes. In the mouth it is tasty, sweet, fresh and has good acidity, making it the perfect counterpart to this horchata ice cream with dried fig sponge cake.

Presentation *For a more in-depth look at the chef, see Close-up

Serve two slices of dried fig sponge cake with one spoonful of tigernut horchata ice cream per person.




with dried figs and Iberico ham (Sopa fría de almendras con higos secos y jamón ibérico)

The traditional elements involved in this dish and the exceedingly high quality of each of them make it a sure hit at the table. One of its key ingredients is extra virgin olive oil. I use a magnificent monovarietal Hojiblanca olive oil from Priego de Córdoba to make this Andalusian culinary classic: a cold almond soup. I add ham stock, which makes the soup considerably lighter, and dried figs, which provide a sweet note that contrasts to the delicious flavor of Iberico ham. A really simple, nutritious and healthy dish.

For the Iberico ham consommé: 1 leg bone of Iberico acorn-fed ham; 5 liters / 21 cups water; 3 beaten egg whites; 200 g / 7 oz vegetables (celery, onion, carrot, green onion and parsley); 100 ml / 1/2 cup liquid saffron; 1 gelatine leaf.

Soak the figs in water for 12 hours.

Cold almond soup Place all the ingredients in a Thermomix and blend until you reach a fine consistency. Pass through a cloth sieve and allow to cool.

Iberico ham consommé SERVES 4 50 g / 2 oz Iberico acorn-fed ham cut in very fine slices; 50 g / 2 oz Pezón Largo dried figs. For the cold almond soup: 460 g / 1 lb peeled Marcona almonds; 380 ml / 1.6 cups extra virgin olive oil Hojiblanca from Priego de Córdoba; 1,000 ml / 4 1/4 cup water; 1 clove of garlic; 100 ml / 1/2 cup sherry vinegar; salt.


Bake the bone in the oven for 20 minutes at 150ºC / 302ºF. Remove the fatty parts and place the bone in 5 liters / 21 cups cold water. Allow to cook for 2 hours. Once cooked, allow to cool and remove the fat. Take the cold stock, clarify it, then mix with the 3 beaten egg whites and brunoise-cut vegetables. Slowly bring to a boil and sieve through a cloth. Once sieved, add 25 ml / 2 tbsp liquid saffron per 1 liter / 4 1/4 cup of stock.

Heat 200 ml / 3/4 cups of stock and add 1 gelatine leaf, previously soaked in cold water.

Presentation Cut the figs in slices, four per serving, discarding the stalks, and place them on the plate. Cover with the cold Iberico ham consommé. Place 4 slices of Iberico ham per plate on top of the Iberico ham gelée and, at the table, cover with the very cold almond soup.

Preparation time 40 minutes, assuming the Iberico ham consommé was prepared in advance.

Recommended wine We accompany this dish with a 100% Palomino white wine, Oloroso Seco (DO Jerez-XérèsSherry), from Bodegas El Maestro Sierra. This wine is deeply golden in color with an amber meniscus, intense aromas of spices and toasted almonds, and a balanced and flavorful palate, perfectly complementing this dish.

Cathy Boirac

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Had Wordsworth been alive today, not only would his heart have danced with the

D.L.: M.45.307-1990

daffodils, but he might have dreamed of eating them too! Yes, flowers are in fashion

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again. The Romans seem to have appreciated them, as have chefs in the Middle

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East since ancient times. Now see what state-of-the-art Spanish cooking is doing


with them.

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Murcia is well worth visiting, not least for its highly individual wines. They get

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Information and Subscription: Spain Gourmetour is a publication of the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX) of the State Secretary for Tourism and Commerce to promote Spain’s food and wines, as well as cuisine and culture. The magazine is issued three times a year in English, French, German and Spanish and is only and exclusively distributed, free of charge, to trade professionals, specialized journalists, chefs, cooking schools and other food and wine professionals. For more information, please contact the Economic and Commercial Offices at the Embassies of Spain (see list on page 126). The opinions expressed by the authors of the articles are not necessarily shared by the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX), which cannot be held responsible for any omissions or error in the text.

Tradition and renovation are two words that sum up the approach of a man whose name commands respect throughout the Spanish wine world and beyond: Mariano García, head of Vega Sicilia for so many years. We trace his career and those of his

their character from Monastrell grapes, a variety that has acclimatized perfectly to the region’s challenging climate, whose temperatures veer from 45°C (113°F) in summer to -10°C (14°F) in winter. We complete our panoramic survey of Spanish cheeses–so many, so varied, so littleknown–with a feature on our soft varieties. Many tourists construct their image of Spain on the basis of a visit to Toledo or Santiago de Compostela. They don’t know what they’re missing! UNESCO has inscribed a total of 40 properties in Spain on the World Heritage List. Thirteen of them are entire towns, some of which are virtually undiscovered: explore them with us. Enjoy the trip! Cathy Boirac Editor-in-chief

Among the culinary trends of the last few years, edible flowers have emerged as a badge of avant-garde cuisine. Spain’s top chefs, gastronomic pacesetters for the start of the new century, use flowers for their color and plasticity, but more importantly for their distinctive flavors and aromas. Their myriad of nuances and textures contribute an extra dimension, turning dishes into edible gardens and landscapes, recreations of nature. In response to increasing demand from the culinary world, some Spanish companies have focused their attention on growing and marketing flowers of all kinds. They use sustainable, organic farming methods and are experimenting with recovering lost plants and flowers (mainly herbs and salad leaves such as purple basil and pimpernel) and adapting species brought in from abroad. All in all, it is a specialized market and, judging by recent performance, an expanding one.

FLOWER power



follow suit. But flowers aren’t a product that go down well in middleof-the-road restaurants–their customers don’t see the point, and flowers are expensive!” For example, 100 g (3 1/2 oz) of mallow are listed at €7 at distributor’s prices, and most



One of the most fascinating aspects of contemporary cuisine is its apparent ability to evolve and reinvent itself at a The delicacy, texture and scent of speed that can leave one reeling. One flowers–nearly always added fresh and at the of the principal attributes of turn-oflast minute–contribute subtle grace notes to dishes. However, flowers canwas alsoits be made the-century gastronomy into various, and sometimes surprising, receptivity to new products and preparations that make them more versatile techniques. There a veritable and their scope muchwas wider. Carlos Cidón, explosion of new culinary proprietor/chef at Vivaldi (Spaintendencies, Gourmetour No. León,and a proponent of putting and69) theinideas approaches of flowers to different uses in cooking, has world-famous trailblazers–like Ferran brought out a fascinating cookbook with Adrià–became all the rage, Flores, and then recipes that illustrate his point. aromas nuevos en tu cocina (Flowers, even familiar. Something similar New Aromas in Your Kitchen) packedin with happened with using isflowers food. interesting suggestions and is accessible to In the 1990s, two French chefs–Michel complete beginners as well as by Bras and Marc Veyrat (both three professionals. Michelin star holders)–started • Crystallized flowers experimenting with using flowers in These are usually made with rose, violet or their cooking, largely as an pansy petals. After washing andexpression drying, they are dipped in egg white and thenof sprinkled of their culinary philosophy with white sugar left to dry.the Perfect for engaging with and nature and decorating. environment. Since that time, flowers •have Flower aromatized sugar gradually caught on in the upper There are two methods for making this: echelons of the restaurant world, either place whole petals in a closed though lower down the scale they are container with sugar and leave it for a day, or still used timidly, a rather token grind the flowers andinsugar together andway. dry in the ovenwe at may 50°Cthink / 122°Fofuntil Though it asthea mixture turns crunchy. Cidón recommends white cutting-edge phenomenon, eating sugar for this recipe and suggests using the flowers actually datesorback many end product in desserts infusions (herbal centuries. The letters of Cicero (Roman teas).

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trays of flowers, containing about 10 each, cost between €2.50 and €3.50 wholesale. Sabor y Salud grows its products in the warm climate, clean air and sunshine of the area of Malaga (Andalusia, southern Spain) that lies at the foot of




Rosewater is perhaps the best-known of JAVIER ZABALA these, though the petals of any flower can be used. Flower waters are generally used for aromatizing desserts, stews and braises. TRANSLATION TheyHAWYS are easy to make: place two parts PRITCHARD/©ICEX petals to three parts water in a pan and simmer very gently for an hour. Pour the mixture through ast sieve, then add the same philosopher, 1 century BC) inform us quantity of petals again, bring back to a boil, that hefor ateanother meat stews dressed simmer hour, then strainwith again. Flower watermallow becomes more concentrated chard and flowers; in the 1st the longerAD, you Apicius cook it, so you can make it as century (Roman strong as you like.

gastronome and presumed author of

•the Flower oils and cookbook Devinegars re coquinaria) gives a Flower very attractive because recipe oils for are rose wine for which he of their color and aroma, though flowers do not recommends the use of fresh flowers manage to transfer their flavor into them. To with white the make the a flower oil,part mix 1ofl (4 1/4petals cup) of mild removed. were also useddried in oil with 100 Flowers g (3 1/2 oz) of chopped, petals,inleave macerate forto 24enhance hours, then food the to Middle Ages its strain. Flower vinegars acquire not only color visual appeal. It was no accident that from the flowers in question, but the acids in the vinegar introduction the Orient of To the are alsofrom aromatized by them. make a flower addblossom, 10 g (1/3 oz) flowers such vinegar, as orange violet fresh flowers, or 70 g (3 oz)inpetals, and jasmine preserved sugarto 1 l (4 1/4 cup) of vinegar; place in a glass bottle coincided with the famous medieval and leave undisturbed for one month, then crusades. France, theuse. first flower strain it. It isIn then ready for

recipe book was written in the 16th century by Doctor Michel de Flower petals can be used for making Nostredame (betterjams known as For excellent conserves, and jellies. Nostradamus), though more jam, simply macerate 500 ghe(1was lb 2 oz) petals • Jams

concerned with their medicinal attributes than their gastronomic ones. Flowers and aromatic herbs have, of with 300 g (10 1/2 oz) sugar until the course, been used throughout our flowers have given off all their liquid. history theirinmany provenin Place thefor mixture a bain-marie therapeutic properties: they are the oven for an hour and then blend. certainly an essential element of the • Flower breads traditional Asian pharmacopoeia. This concept comes from chef Dahlia, chrysanthemum and lotus Montse Estruch, of El Cingle flowers, used for their medicinal effects restaurant. She starts off with a batch throughout alsowhich feature of white breadhistory, dough into she as seasonings Asian food. mixes flower in petals, vanilla andAsian cuisine orange before andofthen celebrates thebaking, bounty the earth, and makesflower into a sort of flower cake, each is used for the spiritual using violet and rose jam to echo and associations it contributes to the food add flavor. This new approach to on one’s plate. bread is original, unusual and an In the Middle aesthetic treat. East, rose, orange, and lemon flowers were in use centuries ago • Flower butter to aromatize many different dishes and, This idea also from sweets Estruch,redolent particularly, incomes delicious who loves making nasturtium butter, of their scent. On the other side of the for which she uses softened butter. Atlantic, in South America, flowers have Her technique calls for a certain always played an important sleight of hand because petalsrole havein food. In Mexico, fora example, to be spread out on butter basethis which is then rolled and cutand into phenomenon was up observed little rounds for spreading reported with fascinationonbybrown the early or white bread, for example, to be chroniclers of the conquest of the New eaten with sweet-cured ham, or World. Fr. Bernardino de Sahagún (16th sprinkled with sugar. Estruch also century Franciscan makes aromatic herbmonk, butters author using of several works now considered lavender and rosemary flowers. seminal






If a classified collection of dried plants used as material for studying botany is known as a “herbarium”, then there is a good case (with a little linguistic license) for calling an array of the flowers most often used in cooking a “florarium”. First of all, however, there are a few conditions that need to be pointed out. Not all flowers are edible–some of them are poisonous–and flowers bought at a florist’s just won’t do. They need to have been grown organically, free from pesticides and preservatives, and to be as fresh as possible. They must be washed with great care, removing the stamens, pistils and the petals’ white base, which can taste bitter. They keep well (up to a week) in the fridge, stored in a container with a damp cloth to prevent loss of freshness and color. It is, of course, vital to buy or pick them just before use, to guarantee that their scent and flavor are intact. The most popular flowers used in cooking in Spain today are: • Begonia (Begonia semperflorens) A very suitable flower for culinary use in that it contributes beauty, color, acidity and texture. Its pink, red or white flowers are used in savory dishes and desserts. The many varieties of this plant are grown for their distinctive acidic, lemon flavor which makes them combine so well with salads and fish. At Vivaldi, for example, Carlos Cidón’s menu features a salad of peppers with cockscombs, pineapple and begonia



vinaigrette. Meanwhile, Ferran Adrià’s 2008 elBulli menu includes a soup infused with tea, nasturtium flower and leaf, and white begonia. • Borage (Borago officinalis) Borage can be eaten as a vegetable in its own right, but its flowers, with their lilacblue petals, taste very much like cucumber, with hints of bitterness; for this reason they add a fresh zing to salads. They can also be caramelized and used in desserts and as decoration for cakes. At El Café de París, Juan Carlos García serves avocado with prawns and borage flower, while at Mugaritz, Andoni Luis Aduriz offers baked hake loin with borage and salted anchovy jus, and borage stems and flowers. • Zucchini flower (Cucurbita pepo) These large, orange-colored bell-like flowers, both male and female (the difference is that female ones are attached to a mini-zucchini) are smooth-textured and sweet-flavored, and their firm petals make them a prime choice for stuffing or dipping in batter and frying. Their delicate quality is almost certainly what makes them one of the most popular flowers. • Garlic flower (Tulbaghia) Garlic flower is similar in characteristics to cultivated garlic. Its purplish flower has a powerful, fresh flavor that is good in salads and stews or braises. Ideally, it should be used raw. Aduriz does just that in his sautéed baby cuttlefish served in a rich ink sauce with spring onion fragments, garlic flower and chive twirls. • Geranium (Pelargonium spp.) With their eye-catchingly vivid colors and

acidic, fruity taste, geranium flowers make a lovely addition to salads, and pasta and rice dishes. Nowadays, lemon geranium (Pelargonium crispum), with its very lemony taste, seems to be the geranium of choice. Cidón’s fresh pasta with potatoes, pancetta and geraniums is big success at Vivaldi. • Jasmine (Jasminum officinale) Jasmine has a very characteristic scent that makes its white flowers an attractive ingredient in salads, with fruit, and in sauces to accompany fish, as well as a fragrant aromat, especially good in infusions. • Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) This classic spring flower, vividly-colored and with rounded, shield-like leaves, was introduced into Europe from the New World by the Spanish. It has a distinctive peppery piquancy and there is also a hint of watercress in its flavor, though not in its scent. It is excellent in salads, Spanish omelettes, with cheeses and sorbets, and also in herb butter. Cidón serves a salad of salt-cod marinated with nasturtium and onion in sweet and sour salad. • Orchid (Orquidea sp.) Orchids–so stunningly beautiful and delicate–are grown for their culinary properties as well as for their good looks. There are over 25,000 species of orchid all over the world: their petals are fleshy and their essence sweet and aromatic, making them suitable for use mostly in desserts, ice creams and sorbets. They also combine well with fruit and with meat (especially game) dishes. elBulli serves a dish known as Orquídea de la pasión (Passion orchid) in which orchid plays the leading role.



• Pansy (Viola x wittrockiana) Fall to early spring sees the arrival of many varieties of pansy whose color range (purple, white, yellow, two-tone) makes them a very attractive addition to dishes. Sweet-and-sour in flavor and rather oily and silky in texture, they are particularly good in mushroom dishes and are widely used in salads and desserts such as Iker Erauzkin’s creation entitled Acid sensation, featuring passion fruit, red fruits and pansies. • Rose (Rosa spp.) Roses are Middle Eastern in origin, and there are over 100,000 varieties whose range of colors and subtle differences is enormous. The rose is the edible flower par excellence. Its flavor can range from sweet to hot, so it is compatible with a wide range of sweet and savory dishes. It is usually made into jams, jellies, butters, ice creams and crystallized petals. Erauzkin has invented an imaginative dish of rose ravioli served in consommé. • Sichuan button, or Toothache plant (Spilanthes acmella) This plant is commonly known as flor eléctrica (electric flower) in Spanish because of its effect in the mouth, as it sets off a miniexplosion of piquancy/acidity, rather like putting one’s tongue on the two poles of an old-fashioned battery. Originally from the Amazon, this plant’s yellow flowers–hitherto always used as an anesthetic and for treating toothaches–have now been taken up by avant-garde cuisine. Aduriz was the first chef to use it in Spain: he incorporated it into a salad of fruits, shoots and flowers served with a warm Idiazábal cheese consommé. At

elBulli, Adrià has been known to serve an “electric milk” and an equally surprising “electric biscuit”. • Violet (Viola odorata) The perfume and charming appearance of violets have always been celebrated in cosmetics. They taste rather sweet, smooth and delicate; confectioners have been using them for years in the famous form of candied violets, and in irresistible combinations with chocolate. However, they also have a place in savory cooking, contributing subtly to endives, salads and Spanish omelettes and, of course, providing an attractive garnish. Aduriz goes for the salad option with his dish of prawns with leek compote, spring zizas (St. George’s mushrooms), violet oil and petals, and sheeps’ milk aromatized with violet essence.


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Introduction Almudena Muyo/©ICEX Translation Jenny McDonald/©ICEX Photos, recipes Toya Legido/©ICEX Photos, introduction Tomás Zarza/©ICEX

Restaurante El Cingle Plaza Mayor, s/n 08233 Vacarisses (Barcelona) Tel.: (+34) 938 280 233

Restaurante El Cingle


Cuisine based on sensations and essences, cuisine that’s creative. These are some ways to describe the culinary skills of Montse Estruch, a woman with ideas who decided a number of years ago to devote herself to gastronomy. She took over an old, Mediterranean-style construction inland, very close to Montserrat mountain in the province of Barcelona, which belonged to her family. She named it El Cingle, after a nearby peak, and eventually won it a Michelin star. The keys to her career are respect for the traditions she inherited from her mother, the techniques she learned from experts such as Pierre Hermé, Ferran Adrià and Mey Hofman, and special dedication to top-class ingredients. The ultimate expression of her savoir-faire appears in her use of flowers and plant shoots. She now has her own kitchen garden at El Cingle, where she can pick pansies, nasturtiums, calendulas, begonias, rosemary, thyme… Initially, Montse used flowers to add a touch of color to her dishes, but she soon discovered they have surprising textures and flavors, so many of her creations now include edible sprouts, bulbs, petals and roots. The wines were chosen in collaboration with Fernando Riquelme, sommelier at El Cingle.



Stuffed, fried zucchini flowers (Flores de calabacĂ­n rellenas y fritas)

The crisp texture of the fried flowers, especially with this filling, transports our senses directly to the peace and calm of the countryside.

For the filling: 100 g / 3 1/2 oz black and white Vacarisses butifarra sausage; 100 g / 3 1/2 oz sweet Figueras onion; thyme; 15 g / 1 tbsp sugar; 50 ml / 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.

SERVES 4 5 zucchini flowers (male), slightly open with a 3 cm / 1.2 in stem; sunflower oil; salad of seasonal green leaves and flowers.



For the batter: 400 ml / 1 3/4 cup water; 300 g / 10 1/2 oz flour; 6 g / 1/6 oz salt; 40 g / 1 1/2 oz yeast.

Clean the flowers.

Filling Peel and sautĂŠ the black and white butifarra sausage together without adding seasoning. Confit the onion (starting with cold oil) with the sugar and the olive oil. Once any water has evaporated, add the thyme and season with salt. Place the filling in a piping bag and fill the flowers halfway.


To serve

Recommended wine

Mix the water, flour, salt and yeast and mix until smooth, then coat the zucchini flowers and fry in sunflower oil at 170ยบC / 338ยบF. Drain.

Serve hot with the seasonal greens and flowers (violets, nasturtium and begonia, etc.).

Mas de Sant Iscle Picapoll, from bodegas Mas de Sant Iscle (DO Pla de Bages). This wine is made with 100% authoctonous Picapoll grapes and, with its strong floral bouquet, goes perfectly with this dish.

Preparation time 30 minutes

Cooking time 35 minutes





Transparency of tomato, Queso de la Serena, and herbs and flowers on black bread (Transparencia de tomate, Queso de la Serena, Sardines with rosemary hierbas y flores sobre pan negro) in movement with Cebreiro cheese, red berries, figs and touches of green Transparency of tomato To serve (Sardinas al romero en movimiento con queso Cebreiro, frutas rojas, higos y toques verdes) SERVES 4 This dish offers a colorful combination of flavors and colors on a bread base for a summer evening, or perhaps for a candlelit dinner in the right company, made special by the shimmer of gold.

For the transparency of tomato: 6 beefheart tomatoes, weighing approximately 650 g / 1 Here we have simple sardines–but lb 7 oz; 2 sprigs sheets gelatin; 10 ml presented as ifbasil; they3were /moving–dressed 2 tsp sherry vinegar; edible gold powder; internally with a 500 ml / 2 1/6 cupsofextra virginspinach olive oil; salt; delicious filling cheese, and white de sel. fruit. pepper; This isfleur a versatile

dish that can be used as a starter or an entrée, For the Queso de la Serena bars:with 250 g3/ sardines per person, accompanied 9 oz Queso de la Serena; 0.100 g edible with a generous of rustic bread with flowers; 0.050slice g finely chopped chives; 40 gfig / 1 1/2 Totally oz mizuna leaves. and feminine. jam. delicious, For the black4bread: 500 g / 1 lb 2 oz flour; SERVES

30 g / 1 oz sugar; 20 g / 1 oz salt; 20 g / 1 oz Ingredients: sardines; extra virgin olive oil; fresh yeast; 120 ml / 1/2 cup water; 20 g / fleur de sel; salt; rosemary; red Ezpeleta 1 oz squid ink. pepper; white pepper; 200 g / 7 oz small spinach leaves; 4 cherries; 1 Granny Smith apple; 2 figs; 100 g / 3 1/2 oz Cebreiro cheese.

Soak the gelatin sheets in iced water, then strain. Peel the tomatoes, then blend in the Thermomix. Add the basil leaves, extra virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar, season with salt and blend again. Strain. Heat and add the softened Wash the sardines and remove the gelatin. scales. Remove the backbone but not Pour the tomato mixture into a mold the head or tail, leaving the fish whole. 1.5 cm / 3/4 in deep covered with Marinate for 6 hours with the Ezpeleta plastic wrap. Shake gently until pepper, extra virgin olive oil, salt, perfectly smooth. Chill. When set, cut rosemary and freshly ground white into rectangles 10 cm / 4 in long, and pepper. set aside.Chill. Wash the spinach and blanch for 2 Queso la Serena minutes de in boiling saltedbars water. On a sheet plastic wrap, Refresh withofice, drain and form press.bars Cut of 10 cm / 4cubes. in longBlend and 2the cm / thecheese fruit into small 1 in high. Sprinkle with the petals, spinach leaves to a fine purée. Remove chives and mizunaand leaves. Chill. from the blender add the cheese, fruit dice, 40 ml / 3 tbsp of extra virgin Black bread olive oil, and a pinch of salt and of Thoroughly mix the flour, salt and white pepper. Chill. squid ink (just enough to make the Remove black) the sardines the mixture in thefrom breadmaker. Add marinade and drain. Keep themix in. the yeast with the sugar and marinade juices. Gradually add the water until the

Cut a piece of black bread the same size as the tomato transparency and glaze with olive oil. Wrap the tomato transparency around the cheese bar and place on top of the black bread. Sprinkle with a little powdered gold, some extra virgin olive oil and fleur de Preparation time sel. 6 hours

Cooking time Preparation time 5 30minutes minutes

Recommended wine Rosat de Llàgrima Cooking time 2007 (100%

Merlot), by Mas Comtal. 15 minutes for the bread.This wine offers an herbal nose–with touches of Recommended winea sweetness fennel and aniseed–and +7 (DOCa Priorato, made from reminiscent almost of balsamic Cabernet Syrah and strawberrySauvignon, candy. It’s the perfect Garnacha), by Bodegas partner for this dish. Pinord. The complex fruity aromas with notes of jam and minerals and the red berry flavors with just a hint of smokiness make this the perfect partner for this cheese dish.

mixture is smooth. To serve

Sprinkle a flat pan add the Place a spoonful of with fillingflour, in the center dough and stretch into a rectangle of each sardine and gently shape them with circles, your fingers. Leave rise, the into with the headtomeeting covered with a damp cloth prevent tail. Use a spatula to smoothtodown thea dry crust from forming. When risen, sides. Remove any surplus filling and turn the dough onto a slightly deeper, brush the sardines with the marinade floured pan and bake for 15 minutes at oil. Season with fleur de sel and serve 170ºC / 338ºF until completely risen. very cold.


109 101



Herb salad with Queso Tetilla and tomato

nectar, on aromatic earth (Ensalada de hierbas con Queso Tetilla y nectar de tomate, en tierra aromática) I always feel salads look their best served in a glass dish so that we can see all the different components and pick out whichever we like, separately or together. A good option is to use bamboo tongs. In this case, the salad comes with delicious white bread.

SERVES 4 For the herb salad: 200 g / 7 oz tomato nectar (see below); baby mesclun; red endive; basil; quince; violet jam; pumpkin seeds; Aragonese olives; pine nuts; strawberries; cranberries; figs; enokitake; a Jerusalem artichoke; thyme; seasonal flowers (nasturtium, begonia, pansy, lavender and dianthus). For the aromatic earth: 300 g / 10 1/2 oz bread; 100 g / 3 1/2 oz smoked bacon; 5 g / 1 tsp powdered orange peel; 5 g / 1 tsp powdered juniper; 5 g / 1 tsp dried thyme; salt; pepper. Others: 120 g / 4 oz Queso Tetilla; extra virgin olive oil; Modena vinegar. HERB SALAD

To make 200 g / 7 oz of tomato nectar, take 1 kg / 2 1/4 lb of red plum tomatoes, blanch and then peel and seed.



Cook at a low flame with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme until the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and crush, then strain and set aside. Stone the olives and crush in the mortar with a little extra virgin olive oil and thyme. The enokitaki mushrooms should be washed and served raw, and the Jerusalem artichoke should be peeled, boiled and sautéed.

Aromatic earth Break the bread into crumbs by hand, fry and drain off the oil. Push through a sieve. Cut the smoked bacon into julienne strips and fry very slowly on its own until crisp. Drain, and when cold, crush and leave on a paper towel so that any remaining fat is absorbed. To make the powdered orange rind, place the rind in a syrup (from equal amounts of water and sugar), then dry it in the oven for about 6 hours at around 100ºC / 212ºF. Leave to cool, then grind and sieve. Mix all the ingredients for the aromatic earth and place between two paper towels for any fat to be absorbed.

Queso Tetilla Cut the cheese into small cubes to form the basis for the salad.

To serve In a transparent dish, mix the salad ingredients, alternating the colors and sizes. Just before serving, dress with a mixture of olive oil and Modena vinegar.

Preparation time 30 minutes

Cooking time 6 hours

Recommended wine Emendis Trio 2007 (DO Penedès), by Masia Puigmoltó: 55% Chardonnay, 25% Macabeo and 20% Muscat. This wine’s unusual aromatic touch of rosemary and menthol with a slightly sweet, almost caramelized fruitiness coming from the clay soils where the grapes grow brings us in line with this salad, filled with colors and flavors. The wine can be seen as one of the salad ingredients.



Trinxat from La Cerdanya

with Queso de L’ Alt Urgell y La Cerdanya, pork belly confit, boletus and lemon thyme (Trinxat de la Cerdanya con Queso de L’ Alt Urgell y La Cerdanya, pancetta confitada, setas de La Cerdanya y tomillo limonero) Trinxat is a typical dish from the Catalonian district of La Cerdanya (made of cabbage, potatoes, pork belly, garlic, olive oil and salt). The cheese, vegetables, pork and delicious mushrooms found in La Cerdanya give the characteristic aroma of this region, one that is well worth visiting for its idyllic and mysterious landscapes.

SERVES 4 For the trinxat: 2 potatoes; 100 g / 3 1/2 oz winter cabbage; 100 g / 3 1/2 oz Queso de L’Alt Urgell y La Cerdanya; 50 ml / 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil; 1 clove garlic, chopped. For the pork belly confit: 1 piece of pork belly, preferably from the top end; salt; pepper; thyme; sugar; extra virgin olive oil. For the boletus: 100 g / 3 1/2 oz boletus, extra virgin olive oil; salt; white pepper. Others: lemon thyme; extra virgin olive oil; fresh herbs.

Trinxat Boil the potatoes and purée. Blanch

the cabbage. Fry the chopped garlic, add the cabbage mixed into the potato purée and the cheese. Season with salt. Just before serving, fry quickly to brown.

Pork belly confit Marinate the pork for 24 hours. Place in a vacuum pack with the extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and a little sugar and steam for about 3 hours. When cold, cut wafer-thin slices using an electric slicer. Just before serving, sear in a frying pan until crisp and golden.

Preparation time 45 minutes

Cooking time 30 minutes / 3 hours to confit the pork

Recommended wine Gaintus, by Heretat Mont-Rubí, made 100% from Sumoll grapes, a native Catalonian variety. This wine gives a touch of style to this simple dish from La Cerdanya.

Boletus Clean the mushrooms with a damp cloth and trim the bases. Lightly sauté in a non-stick pan with extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt and freshly ground white pepper.

To serve Serve the wafer-thin slices of pork alongside the trinxat and top with the boletus mushrooms alternating with the fresh herbs. Add a little extra virgin olive oil and the lemon thyme.



Food, Wine & Travel Magazine

DOCa Priorat. Nature’s Mosaic Rice and Shine

Spanish Breakfast

DO Rueda. Reviving Verdejo

85 May-August 2012. 6 E


Spain is generously endowed with fertile land where fruit and vegetables thrive, an extensive coastline and a good deal of highland terrain, and it is to these attributes that much of the credit must go for the quality of its produce. The evidence is there for the tasting at any time of day, but it seems particularly obvious in the early morning, when one is only just awake and one’s palate still unclouded, and therefore so much more responsive to the finer points than later in the day. Breakfast is, in some regards, the most important meal of all, taking place as it does just after we have emerged from a prolonged period of sleep and need to break our fast, to assuage a hunger and thirst that are both physical and spiritual. Early morning food preparation offers no scope for camouflage: there are no sauces beneath which to conceal things that haven’t turned out quite right, no cream for softening the effect of the frankly boring. Breakfast food is generally exempt from the modern trend for arty presentation, and has so far mostly avoided being reinvented via spherification or other cutting-edge techniques… and that’s surely because, as we’re still half asleep, we need to engage with reality to become well and truly awake. For breakfast, we eat what comes to hand: a cup of coffee or tea


accompanied by something sweet or savory. Yet how many of us could bear to eat the same thing for lunch every day? Not many of us would willingly subject ourselves to an unwaveringly repetitive daily diet. But breakfast (and only breakfast) positively embraces uniformity, providing the exception that proves the rule. We find ourselves having the same things morning after morning: scalding hot coffee and some kind of bun to put an end to long hours of fasting. In present-day Spain, especially in the larger towns and cities, the day starts in a rush: we gulp down a coffee while it’s still too hot and, time permitting, a slice of toast drizzled with olive oil, or some kind of sweet cake, like a little sponge or madeleine. We then bide our time for a while, about as long as it takes to get to work, before coming fully awake and realizing that we are hungry. It’s around 11:00 by the time the second coffee of the day is drunk, this time accompanied by a little savory snack: a chunk of Spanish omelet, a sandwich mixto (grilled ham and cheese sandwich), a few churros (or their fatter relatives, porras) for dunking in the coffee. Having said that, however, there is a definite shift of attitude towards “breakfast cuisine” in the air: the

customary basic snacks are being revamped, seasonal fruits attractively presented, and more and more places are putting on a special brunch menu at weekends, at once an invitation to overeat and an example of the tenets of the Slow Food Movement (Spain Gourmetour No. 82). On days off, one can now devote time to reading the morning papers while tucking into a well-deserved calorie-packed breakfast as a reward for having completed another working week.

What do the Spanish have for breakfast? North or south, east or west, inland or by sea… what the Spanish have for breakfast varies according to the part of the country in which they live. For example, farmers and seafarers lead physically demanding lives and, therefore, need to pack in many more calories at the start of their day than city dwellers do. What they actually have for breakfast will vary depending on place, time of year and occupation. Meanwhile, the current trend of having a breakfast of bread and (extra virgin) olive oil seems to be catching on nationwide. One could easily devise an olive oil route that crisscrosses Spain, tasting as

WAKEY Spain’s day begins when dawn breaks over Mahón, capital of the Balearic Island of Menorca (situated in the Mediterranean, just off the mainland’s east coast), and ends when the sun sets behind Cape Finisterre



WAKEY! in Galicia (northwestern Spain). Its daily trajectory embraces a culinary repertoire whose wealth of flavors, textures and aromas reflects the traditions and culture —ancient and ongoing—of this country of diverse regions.




transformed into a Spanish classic by deft frying. Wherever you are in Spain, you will have the option of starting the day with a large cup of hot chocolate served with half a dozen of these fluted crunchy strips of fried dough. We have master churreros (churro-makers) in Spain, anonymous craftsmen who are out of bed before sunrise preparing the day’s supply of one of the nation’s favorite breakfasts in modest churrerías all over the country, though Madrid and its province lead the field in terms of quantities consumed. Madrid’s appetite for churros is said to date back to the 19th century, a period when the city was a magnet for traveling showmen and market vendors, and it is they who are believed to have introduced this delicious snack, cleverly contrived out of the cheapest ingredients. What was originally invented as an accessible, filling food for the masses somehow became a luxury enjoyed by the aristocracy before again returning to its popular origins. Nowadays, buses converted into mobile churro-andchocolate stalls are a common sight in many Spanish towns and cities (there is one beside Madrid’s Atocha Railway Station, for example) and at fairs and


fiestas all over the country. The sight and smell of freshly-fried churros trigger Proustian responses that are hard to resist. Churros are part of a family known as frutas de sartén (fruits of the frying pan), namely, fritters made using a flour-

based batter and given various different shapes. Another prime example are buñuelos (little ladlefuls of well beaten flour-based dough fried in hot olive oil so that they are crisp on the outside and spongy on the inside); pestiños (flourbased batter containing beaten eggs,


fried in hot oil until crisp and then dipped in honey); rosquillas (dough made with flour, eggs, olive oil and milk and shaped into rings before frying and sprinkling with sugar)… all of these would be considered suitable breakfast fare.

The fashion for brunch Though there are still some cafés in Spain that retain echoes of the atmosphere, charm and social function they enjoyed in their heyday, the

passage of time has wrought irrevocable changes. Today, Spain is open to the cultures of the wider world. Its principal provinces have become destinations for foreign settlers who bring their inbuilt culture with them, with the result that the Spanish larder has been enlarged by new aromas, flavors and textures. Nowadays, in theory, one could start the day with the foreign breakfast of one’s choice without having to move from Madrid. Each of Madrid’s constituent barrios, or neighborhoods, accommodates people from other parts of the world. In Usera, for example, you would have no problem finding breakfast as eaten in south China. Lavapiés is the place to go for the Moroccan and Indian equivalents, Barrio de Salamanca and Chamberí lean more towards the British style, and Las Letras even offers Scandinavian-style breakfast. Madrid’s population represents a rich mix: nowhere else in the whole of Spain can match it for the plurality, variety and fusion exemplified by its breakfasts. Our readiness to welcome other cultures perhaps explains why we were so ready to adopt the fashion for brunch and why it has become the



unchallenged favorite model for weekend breakfast. No one seems to know how the concept of brunch came into being: some believe it to have been a British invention, while others attribute it to New York, more specifically Harlem. Wherever it originated, the fact is that these days you can choose to start your day with brunch almost anywhere in the world. Here in Spain, one of the first places to adopt brunch was Madrid’s Ritz Hotel, whose huge tables were laden with sweet and savory bite-


sized morsels for guests to choose from. The concept spread from hotels to restaurants: one pioneer was the Hispano, which has been providing buffet-style brunch at weekends for many years now. Today, no description of Spain’s breakfast habits would be complete without a mention of brunch. And similarly, no Spanish brunch can be considered complete unless it includes a particular dish— Spain’s version of eggs benedict (huevos benedictine), consisting of a slice of sweet bread topped with smoked pork belly or bacon and poached eggs), and a particular drink—the Bloody Mary. A good Spanish brunch will also feature a table devoted to different types of bread, several types of butter, assorted jams, virgin olive oil, and natural fruit juices. In Spain, Sunday mornings could be said to start in earnest at around 11:30, which is when brunch becomes available. The Hotel Palace and the Intercontinental Hotel, both in Madrid, are excellent Sunday brunch destinations where one can eat and drink at a leisurely pace to the accompaniment of live chamber music and operatic highlights. There are times when the expression “Good morning” takes on a whole new dimension! Author and journalist Sara Cucala is a gastronomic coordinator at TVE, founder of the gastronomic cultural center España A Punto, and author of two books, Desayunar en Madrid. Del churro al brunch (2008. RBA) and Los templos de la tapa (2009. RBA). Visit our website,, for detailed information about Spanish food and wine.



José Luis Ungidos Text Almudena Muyo/©ICEX

Translation Hawys Pritchard/©ICEX Photos


Tomás Zarza/©ICEX and Toya Legido/©ICEX

for the







with fish and shellfish

(Arroz seco de pescado y mariscos)

Two classic dishes from the Valencia region are arròs del senyoret (rice cooked with boned and shelled fish and shellfish) and arroz a banda (rice cooked with a medley of fish). We have taken our inspiration from these two traditional recipes to create a dish with a modern touch, such as squid ink ice cream.

SERVES 10 For the stock: extra virgin olive oil; 2 onions; 4 carrots; 2 leeks; 3 kg / 6 1/2 lb mixed fish; 4 l / 17 cup water. For the sofrito: 1.5 l / 6 1/2 cup olive oil; 3 cloves garlic, grated; 75 g / 3 oz ñora pepper; 50 g / 2 oz red pimentón (a type of Spanish paprika); 10 saffron threads; 350 g / 12 oz grated tomato. For the squid and cuttlefish ink ice cream: 1 onion; 1 green pepper; 1 clove garlic; 300 g / 10 1/2 oz squid and cuttlefish trimmings; squid and cuttlefish ink to taste (the ice cream should be totally black); 1.5 l / 6 1/2 cup red wine; 1.5 l / 6 1/2 cup cuttlefish and squid stock. For the rice: 250 g / 9 oz extra virgin olive oil; 250 g / 9 oz fresh cuttlefish, diced; 250 g / 9 oz fresh squid tentacles, diced; 150 g / 5 1/2 oz shrimp tails, peeled; 150 g / 5 1/2 oz Mediterranean mussels, shelled; 900 g / 2 lb Bomba rice, from PDO Arroz del Delta del Ebro. Others: 250 g / 9 oz fresh squid rolled up to be cut into thin strips like tagliarini; 10 red shrimp; rock salt.


Stock Sauté the vegetables until golden. Add the mixed fish and cover with water. Simmer lightly for about 20 minutes. Strain and set aside.

Sofrito Heat the oil and gently fry the garlic, then add the chopped ñora pepper, pimentón and threads of saffron. Cook for 2 minutes over very gentle heat and add the grated tomato. Cook for 15 minutes over low heat.

To cook the red shrimp, place on the hot grill on a layer of rock salt. (A medium-sized shrimp will take about 4 minutes on each side to cook).

To serve Transfer the rice to a rectangular mold, leaving it loose, without pressing. Top with squid strips and the shrimp and, just before serving, the ink ice cream. Decorate with a little tomato flour.

Preparation time

Cuttlefish and squid ink ice cream

1 hour 15 minutes

Brunoise the onion and green pepper. Gently sauté the onion, pepper and garlic, add the cuttlefish and squid trimmings, deglaze with red wine and reduce to boil off as much alcohol as possible. Add cuttlefish and squid stock to cover. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes, then add the ink, skimming constantly. Salt to taste and transfer to Pacojet containers. When frozen, blend until creamy.

Trio Infernal Nº 0/3 2010 (DOCa Priorat), by Combier Fischer Gerin. This interesting white wine, made from Garnacha Blanca and Macabeo grapes grown on vines over 40 years old, is intensely aromatic. In the mouth, it indicates a perfect combination of ageing—12 months in French oak—with mineral touches from a slatey soil. This warm, Mediterranean wine makes a great partner for this fish dish.

Rice Sauté the fresh cuttlefish and squid tentacles. Add the rice and cook over medium heat. Add the sofrito and the boiling stock (1 part rice to 2 parts stock), stir for the first 5 minutes, then leave to cook for another 15 minutes without stirring. At minute 18 add the shrimp tails and mussels.

Recommended wine

Photos recipes Toya Legido/©ICEX and Tomás Zarza/©ICEX


The wines were chosen by Julio Biosca, maitre d’ and sommelier at Julio Restaurant

Jenny McDonald/©ICEX


José Luis Ungidos*

CEA BREAD TORRIJA and white chocolate with meringue ice cream and cocoa soup

(Torrija de Pan de Cea y chocolate blanco con helado de leche merengada y sopa de cacao) Bread from Cea (Galicia, in northwest Spain) is the rustic bread that many Spanish children remember from their infancy. That includes me. Quite a few kilometers eastwards, in Cantabria, where I grew up, we received bread from Cea, and when any was left over, it was made into torrijas (sweet milksoaked bread fritters), as in many other parts of the country. Considering that the north of Spain in general was a traditional source of dairy products, such fritters were a common occurrence. I have updated this traditional recipe by sweetening the bread with white chocolate and accompanying it with meringueflavored ice cream. The cocoa soup adds a refreshing touch.

For the meringue ice cream:

Meringue ice cream

1 l / 4 1/4 cup milk; 150 g / 5 1/2 oz egg yolks;

Boil the milk with the glucose, cinnamon and lemon rinds and leave to infuse. Mix the sugar with the stabilizer and the egg yolks, then add this mixture to the milk. Heat to 85ºC / 185ºF, then strain and leave to cool. When the milk is almost cold (about 30ºC / 86ºF), mix with the beaten egg whites. Transfer to the ice cream maker.

150 g / 5 1/2 oz egg whites; 150 g / 5 1/2 oz sugar; 50 g / 2 oz glucose; 40 g / 1 1/2 oz stabilizer; 2 lemon rinds; 2 cinnamon sticks; ground cinnamon.


2 1/6 cups mineral water; 8 g / 1/4 oz gelatin

Cut the bread into slices 4 cm / 1 1/2 in thick and remove the crusts. Heat the water together with the chocolate. When it comes to a boil, remove from the heat and add the previously soaked sheets of gelatin. Strain, pour onto the bread and leave to soak. The torrija can be caramelized in two ways: the first is by covering the top with sugar and heating with a blowtorch until it turns golden, and the second is by making a light caramel in a frying pan and dipping the torrija into it. In either case, the caramel should not be dark brown.

sheets; 100 g / 3 1/2 oz sugar to caramelize.

Cocoa soup

For the cocoa soup: 125 g / 4 1/2 oz sugar;

Mix the sugar with the cocoa. Heat the milk and water and when the mixture reaches boiling point, add the sugar and cocoa. Reduce until it starts to become denser, then strain and set aside.

SERVES 10 For the torrija: 1 loaf of Cea bread (0.5 kg / 1 lb 2 oz); 400 g / 14 oz white chocolate; 1/2 l /

75 g / 3 oz cocoa; 3.5 l / 15 cups water; 1.5 l / 6 1/2 cup milk.

*For a more in-depth look at the chef, see Close-up

To serve Serve a little cocoa soup over the bottom of the dish, place the torrija in the center and serve with the meringue ice cream. Sprinkle with a little ground cinnamon.

Preparation time 25 minutes

Recommended wine Casta Diva Reserva Real, by Bodegas Gutiérrez de la Vega. Moscatel de Alejandria is the variety in this sweet but fresh tasting wine. The magnificent intensity of the aromas blend to perfection with this updated torrija.




octopus, baked potato with Pimentón de la Vera oil and crisp and aromatic snacks

(Milhojas de pan de cruz, pulpo, patata asada con aceite de Pimentón de la Vera y snacks crujientes y aromáticos) The Pan de Cruz from the province of Ciudad Real has a compact texture, can be sliced thinly and is excellent toasted. It is ideal for upgrading one of our restaurant’s recipes from 2006, twice-cooked octopus with baked potato and Pimentón de la Vera oil, giving it a new look with different textures, aromas and flavors. Served in mini-portions, it takes on a new life as finger food.

SERVES 10 1 octopus weighing 2.5 kg / 5 lb 10 oz; 1 Pan de Cruz de Ciudad Real weighing 115-135 g /

Place the octopus on a perforated tray and bake in a steam oven at 100ºC / 212ºF for about 80 minutes (the timing will depend on the oven, so test with a needle). Cut off the tips of the tentacles and set aside. Using an electric slicer, cut the Pan de Cruz de Ciudad Real into half-centimeter (0.19 in) slices and toast in the oven at 185ºC / 365ºF. Just before serving, wrap the tentacle tips in kataifi pasta and fry at 185ºC / 365ºF until the pasta is golden brown.

Pimentón de la Vera oil

Vera oil.

Gently fry the garlic in oil ensuring the temperature does not go beyond 150ºC / 302ºF, then lower to 60ºC / 140ºF and add the sweet Pimentón de la Vera. Mix to dilute as much as possible, then leave to stand and decant the oil into a container, leaving behind any undissolved pimentón.

For the crisp snacks:

Baked potato purée

4-4 1/2 oz; 100 g / 3 1/2 oz kataifi pasta. For the Pimentón de la Vera oil: 1.5 l / 6 1/2 cup olive oil; 3 cloves garlic, grated; 75 g / 3 oz sweet Pimentón de la Vera (a type of Spanish paprika). For the baked potato purée: 1.5 kg / 3 lb 5 oz potatoes; Pimentón de la

potato; purple potato; cassava; beetroot; plantain; lotus flower root; olive oil. For the aromatic snacks: beetroot leaf; pansies; common ice plant; calendula petals.

Wrap the potatoes in foil and bake in a dry oven at 185ºC / 365ºF until well-cooked (the timing will depend on size). Peel and mash in a bowl. Add the Pimentón de la Vera oil to color the potato and season with salt.

Crisp and aromatic snacks Use the different vegetables to add contrasting color and texture. For the crisp snacks, slice the vegetables very thin using an electric slicer, then fry in oil at 185ºC / 365ºF.

To serve Start with a slice of toasted Pan de Cruz and cover with a layer of baked potato purée. Add another slice of toast, then a slice of octopus and top with a final slice of toast. Decorate the top with the crisp and aromatic snacks. Place the deep-fried tentacles in kataifi pasta to one side and sprinkle with a little pimentón.

Cooking time 80 minutes

Preparation time 20 minutes

Recommended wine Sanclodio 2010 (DO Ribeiro), by Bodegas Sanclodio. This very pleasant wine, made from Treixadura, Godello and other local grape varieties, is the creation of José Luis Cuerda, a well-known Spanish film director and producer. In combination with this dish, its simple yet varied aromas and flavors afford a complex result.


PASSION and principles

Rodrigo de la Calle Text

Almudena Muyo/©ICEX


Tomás Zarza and Toya Legido/©ICEX


Hawys Pritchard/©ICEX

“Gastrobotanics” is the joint brainchild of restaurateur Rodrigo de la Calle and biologist Santiago Orts. It’s a concept that has turned De la Calle into a champion of undervalued and overlooked vegetable species which, in his hands, become the stuff of haute cuisine. The dishes he creates to showcase the attributes of his raw materials are object lessons in harmony and fine-tuning backed up by considerable technical expertise.


I’m off to Aranjuez (46 km / 28.5 mi south of Madrid), and feeling quite excited at the prospect of eating food cooked by Rodrigo de la Calle (he was named chef of the year for 2011 at Madrid Fusión, the prestigious international gastronomic conference held in the Spanish capital every year). I’m also looking forward to traveling through one of my favorite parts of the country—the fertile fruit and vegetable-growing area beside the Tagus River. Given that it’s winter, it won’t be looking its best, but I always love it anyway. As it turns out, however, the weather prevents my seeing it at all by veiling it in a dense mist that reduces visibility to just a few feet. I muse on the unpredictability of Nature and on the advisability of reveling in its vagaries rather than railing against them. It occurs to me in retrospect that this brush with Nature put me in just the right frame of mind for grasping the essential point of Rodrigo de la Calle’s cuisine, which takes its inspiration from the vegetable kingdom. He is, after all, the inventor (along with biologist Santiago Orts, who runs the Viveros


Huerto de Elche plant nursery) of “gastrobotanics”, a culinary concept that ushers unaccustomed vegetable species into the realm of haute cuisine (some of them rescued from oblivion, others simply unfamiliar, but all of them founts of hitherto untapped gastronomic potential). In the setting of the welcoming restaurant that bears his name, located right in the center of Aranjuez, Rodrigo de la Calle wastes no time in determinedly getting the message across: “The idea is to reinstate vegetable species and varieties that possess notable qualities yet have been disparaged, left unexplored, or simply never been discovered—products that contribute added value to gastronomy. Some may already be close at hand, possibly having been cultivated by our forebears, while others will be discoveries made in the course of our research; Nature still has plenty of secrets to keep the spirit of enquiry occupied.” But there is more to it than that: the ultimate aim is to endow products that he considers to be

of significant gastronomic interest with the sort of status that makes it a financially viable proposition to grow them as a crop. Obvious examples are fresh dates; finger limes (Citrus australasica, little lemon-like fruit with tiny vesicles that look deceptively like Ferran Adrià-type microspheres, that burst in one’s mouth releasing a richly acidic taste); and ice plant (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum) and ice lettuce (early leaves of the ice plant). The latter two are leading representatives of “desert vegetables”, so-called because it rains so rarely in Elche (eastern Spain) where they are grown. Rodrigo’s habit of speaking in the plural is a reminder that gastrobotanics is the product of nine years’ worth of work and research carried out in close collaboration with his alter ego, Santiago Orts. When Orts joins us later, around lunchtime, he launches immediately into an exposition of his theory that… “the reason for Spain’s abundance of vegetable species is that its very specific geographical characteristics


billing to vegetables and consigns animal protein to a supporting role: “Vegetables are the mainstay of the restaurant, and on the gastrobotanical menu, animal protein features as a garnish: meat or fish, it can appear in many guises—little chunks, or even in a broth, but always in a minor role.” His Filamentos de lombarda con caldo de chipirón (Filaments of red cabbage with baby squid broth) is a classic example. The citrus fruits grown by Santiago Orts provide a leitmotiv, seasoning every dish, from oysters with citrus caviar through to the complete range of desserts. Indeed, acidity is a consistently recurring theme in many of his dishes and even some entire menus: he makes imaginative use of the lemons’ tangy scent, but for flavor uses the sweeter limequat (Fortunella X citrus limetta), the perfumed delicacy of sweet citron (C. Medica X Reticulata) or the velvety rich orange-blossom fragrance of kumquat (Fortunella Margarita L). Rice is another thematic axis in Rodrigo de la Calle’s repertoire. Again in his rice dishes there is that stamp of perfection—grains just the right size, cooked for just long enough—and again one’s palate is introduced to completely new experiences: in his risotto liquen (lichen risotto), the symbiotic conjunction of seaweed and mushrooms creates a whole greater than the sum of its parts. Watching things grow in Santiago Orts’ plantations in Elche are Rodrigo de la Calle’s greatest source of inspiration: “When I go there and


accumulated enough experience to be able to cook in my own way. Our menu includes a gastrobotanic option consisting of 5 dishes: Ostra con caviar cítrico (Oyster with citrus caviar), Huevo con trufa y germinados (Egg with truffle and sprouted seeds); two rice dishes featuring different desert vegetables; and a fruit macédoine that celebrates the diversity of citrus fruits now available.” De la Calle is passionate about food. “I cook the way I do because I follow the dictates of my heart and my instinct,” he declared at intervals throughout the day we spent together. Perfectionist and sensitive by nature, he has always known exactly what he wanted to do, remaining unwaveringly true to his conceptual approach to food even when, in the process of balancing the books, he discovered that only 15 customers had actually ordered his gastrobotanic menu in the first two years: “There was never any question of abandoning the concept: if I couldn’t do gastrobotanics in my own restaurant, I’d take it wherever necessary.” Whether Aranjuez is the ideal location for a restaurant of this kind is not up for discussion at


the moment (romantic attachment to a woman was what took him there in the first place, but she is no longer in his life). Critical opinion has been favorable and has helped build up his by now considerable reputation. He was named Madrid Fusión’s Revelation Chef in 2009, Chef of the Year at the same event in 2011, and meanwhile has been nominated for his first Michelin star. The hoo-hah that inevitably accompanies this sort of success is much in evidence during my winter visit. Manuel de la Osa (of 1-Michelin-star Las Rejas restaurant) has popped in just to say hello; Ignacio Medina, one of Spain’s leading restaurant critics (he won the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy’s national prize for food journalism in 2009) is tucking in to specialties of the house at a table adjoining the one I’m sharing with Santiago Orts; meanwhile Rodrigo de la Calle’s mobile never stops ringing with arrangements for interviews and photographic sessions. Rodrigo can’t quite believe what’s going on, and looks rather wideeyed as he does what he has to do. He can’t quite credit the fact that he

is being ranked with chefs that were his role models just a short time ago, and he becomes quite emotional (as he did when talking about his cherished products) as he recalls leaner times in the restaurant’s early days, and how the tapas bar upstairs enabled him to carry on producing auteur cuisine.

Passionate about produce So what, you may be wondering is Rodrigo de la Calle’s cooking actually like? His style of cooking is out-and-out contemporary, at once flavor-packed and subtle. His dishes are cleverly thought out and their cooking is judged to the second so that their juxtapositioning of flavors and textures can be experienced to the full. Ingredients can sometimes be unexpected yet they take their place comfortably among the rest. The influence of Martín Berasategui is discernible here, albeit slightly toned down. “He was the maestro as far as I’m concerned: my approach to food is just like his. We got on very well together, both professionally and personally. In fact, we used to go for a walk in the


see all the produce growing and developing as the months go by, as I pick and taste them I start to see culinary uses for them in my mind’s eye—sometimes even the final dish.” The creative process may well be triggered in his mind by the sight of something growing in the garden, but a lot of experimenting goes on in the kitchen before the dish is declared complete. “When Santiago comes up with a new product for me, I find that its organoleptic properties are useful indicators of its culinary potential, and very often I know intuitively which parts to use: the peel, the pith, the flesh, and so on. I’ve learned to trust my intuition because, on the whole, those first inklings tend to be confirmed when I actually start using the product in the kitchen, and pursuing other possibilities too,” Rodrigo de la Calle explains. It’s a long process that can go on for years: Santiago Orts reinstates a

species of vegetable and once it has been confirmed as edible, he shares it with Rodrigo to find out whether or not it is of gastronomic interest. If so, he plants it and observes it for a year to ascertain when it reaches its peak: “We judge whether it’s better to use it in winter, when it’s more saline, or when it’s in flower, since that’s when its flavor is at its richest, or perhaps to wait for it to bear fruit. When we’ve decided at what stage to use it, it is taken to the restaurant and we then decide on the most appropriate preparation method: straightforward boiling, pressure cooking, frying…We consider liquidizing it, infusing it, grating its rind, using it raw… and then decide whether it is star ingredient material or more of a garnish.” Once all these questions are settled, Rodrigo’s creativity comes into play, and he designs both the content of the dish and the aesthetics of its presentation,

“although the dish isn’t launched in the laboratory, but at the table in the restaurant when the customer tucks into it,” declares Rodrigo with total conviction. We’ve been chatting at the table long after finishing our meal. It’s been quite a day in gastronomic terms. Before I leave, Rodrigo makes a point of declaring that he doesn’t like to be labeled and doesn’t belong to any trend. His guiding principle is gastrobotanics. Pure and simple. Almudena Muyo worked for over 12 years as a journalist specializing in international trade before taking up her current post as editorial coordinator of Spain Gourmetour. Restaurante de la Calle

Antigua carretera de Andalucía, 85 28300 Aranjuez (Madrid) Tel.: 918 910 807 (English, Spanish) (Spanish)


Jenny McDonald/©ICEX

Photos, recipes

Toya Legido/©ICEX

The wines have been chosen by Cristina de la Calle, maître at the Rodrigo de la Calle restaurant.


Rodrigo de la Calle*


False rice pudding with date milk,

MARZIPAN AND CINNAMON (Falso arroz con leche de dátil, mazapán y canela) At Christmas, in true Toledo tradition, my father always brought out a selection of almond sweets, and almonds have always been one of my favorite nuts for desserts. They are the inspiration for this dish, but they also take us to Elche, an important production area for both Marcona almonds and dates. This dessert has been on our menu since 2005.

SERVES 4 For the false rice pudding: 50 g / 2 oz pasta; 250 ml / 1 1/8 cups fresh cream; 250 ml / 1 1/8 cups milk; 300 g / 10 1/2 oz fresh dates from Viveros Huerto de Elche; icing sugar. For the marzipan: 240 g / 8 1/2 oz Marcona almonds; 250 g / 9 oz sugar. For the cinnamon snap: 50 g / 2 oz butter; 50 g / 2 oz flour; 50 g / 2 oz sugar. Others: Dried flower petals.

False rice pudding

To serve

Place the fresh dates in a vacuum pack with the milk and cream and cook in the Roner at 65ºC / 149ºF for 1 hour, then strain, retaining the liquid. Cook the pasta in the resulting cooking liquid over a low heat until al dente.

Plate the false rice pudding. Sprinkle with icing sugar and caramelize. Grate marzipan over the top, covering almost all the surface of the rice. Finish with the cinnamon snap and a few dried flower petals.


Preparation time

Soak the Marcona almonds for 3 hours, then dry and grind. Add the sugar and knead for about 15 minutes until the mixture comes together and does not stick to your hands. Form into a roll about 2 cm / 0.8 in in diameter, place on an oven pan and bake at 280ºC / 536ºF for 10 minutes. Leave to cool.

2 hours

Cinnamon snap

Recommended wine Pedro Ximénez, Vors 30 años (DO Jerez-Xérès-Sherry), by Bodegas Harveys. This golden wine with a greenish sparkle is dry and offers aromas of crystallized fruit and nuts. It brings together the different textures and aromas as if by magic, and ends with a lingering aftertaste.

Soften the butter, then mix with the sugar and flour to form a dough. Roll out until very thin and bake at 190ºC / 374ºF for 4-5 minutes.

*For a more in-depth look at the chef, see Close-up



ADAPTATION OF TARTA DE SANTIAGO with calamondin orange

(Adaptación de la Tarta de Santiago, con calamondín) Cake

To serve

Mix the grated almonds with the icing sugar, inverted sugar and grated calamondin orange rind. Place the egg whites in a separate bowl and mix without beating. Lightly mix in the baking powder and flour then add the sugar and almond mixture and, finally, the hazelnut butter. Bake at 180ºC / 356ºF for 25 minutes.

Break the cake into pieces and serve some on a plate. Pour over some of the syrup used for crystallizing the calamondin oranges and add a little powdered tea. Finish with the sorbet, and top with crystallized oranges and Heartsease flower petals.

baking powder; 100 g / 3 1/2 oz hazelnut

Crystallized calamondin orange

butter; 85 g / 3 oz flour.

9 oz sugar; 1/2 l / 2 1/6 cups water.

Make a syrup with the water and sugar. Bring to a boil and add the oranges. Cover and simmer for three hours.

For the calamondin orange sorbet: 250 g /

Calamondin orange sorbet

9 oz calamondin oranges; 1/4 l / 1 1/8 cups

Grate, then juice, the calamondin oranges. Mix the syrup with the glucose and gelatin, then add the juice and grated rind. Pour into a sorbet maker and freeze.

Enrique Mendoza Moscatel de la Marina, by the Enrique Mendoza (DO Alicante) winery. This wine has a clear, transparent yellow color with greenish tinges. Its honey notes blend well with the calamondin oranges, balancing out any bitterness. It is both light and creamy, helping bring together the acidity and the sweetness present in the dish.

One of the great Spanish desserts is Santiago tart. It is surprising how well the almond flavors blend with calamondin orange, one of the citrus fruits grown by Santiago Orts at Viveros Huerto de Elche. An excellent winter dessert, full of taste and aromas.

SERVES 4 For the cake: 85 g / 3 oz ground almonds; 215 g / 7 1/2 oz icing sugar; 20 g / 1 oz inverted sugar; grated rind of 3 calamondin oranges; 200 g / 7 oz egg white; 3 g / 0.10 oz

For the crystallized calamondin orange: 250 g / 9 oz calamondin oranges; 250 g /

syrup; 1 sheet gelatin; 5 g / 1/6 oz glucose. Others: powdered tea; Heartsease flower petals.

Preparation time 1 1/2 hours

Recommended wine



The wines have been chosen by Cristina de la Calle, maître at the Rodrigo de la Calle restaurant.

Jenny McDonald/©ICEX

Photos, recipes

Toya Legido/©ICEX


Rodrigo de la Calle*

Clams in seaweed steam with


(Almejas al vapor de algas con esencia de pomelo rosado y cardo rizado) Clams are perhaps my favorite mollusk. Their briny flavor is enhanced by the seaweed steam, and the pink grapefruit gives exactly the right touch of sourness to balance the vegetables with the clams.

SERVES 4 450 g / 1 lb large clams; 50 g / 2 oz sea lettuce (Ulva rigida); 50 g / 2 oz gigartina; 20 g / 1 oz sugar kelp (Laminaria saccharina); 4 large pink grapefruits; 1 stick red cardoon; 1 1/2 sheets gelatin; 1/2 green apple; extra virgin olive oil; salt flakes; glucose.

Seaweed Cook the sea lettuce, gigartina and sugar kelp in 1/2 l / 2 1/6 cups of water for 10 minutes, then drain and chill.


To serve

Place the clams in a steamer and cook in the seaweed cooking water. When they have opened, carefully remove the flesh from the shells and set aside. Strain the water used for cooking the seaweed and clams and reduce to 300 ml / 1 1/4 cup. Set using the gelatin.

On a flat plate serve a few drops of the grapefruit essence on one side and, on the other, the clams, seaweed and cardoons. Finish with a few drops of extra virgin olive oil, salt flakes, some sticks of green apple and pieces of grapefruit segment.

Grapefruit essence Set aside one grapefruit for grating and another for removing the segments. Carefully peel the remaining two, removing any pith from the skin, then squeeze and strain the juice. Mix with the glucose and reduce to one quarter. Add the grapefruit skins and grated rind, cover and chill. Strain.

Cardoon *For a more in-depth look at the chef, see Close-up

Wash the cardoon and place in iced water to curl. Cut into small pieces.

Preparation time 40 minutes

Recommended wine Louro do Bolo Godello Lías Finas (2008, DO Valdeorras), by the Rafael Palacios winery. The aniseed and mineral touches alongside the fresh fruitiness of this pale yellow wine make it an ideal partner for the sour grapefruit and the briny flavors of the clams and seaweed.


Manuel de la Osa


Almudena Muyo/©ICEX


Tomás Zarza and Toya Legido/©ICEX


Hawys Pritchard/©ICEX


QUIXOTIC Las Rejas, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Las Pedroñeras (Cuenca, centraleastern Spain), is regarded by many as a pilgrimage destination. The dishes prepared in Manuel de la Osa’s kitchen are tantamount to eloquent odes to this, his native area of Spain. Prime ingredients of top-most quality are treated with the respect they deserve—always recognizable, never disguised or distorted by textures or flavors not intrinsically their own. His talent for rediscovering and renovating the basic principles of La Mancha’s cuisine and giving it universal relevance has earned him his own personal niche in the food firmament.

Manuel de la Osa is one of those eminently approachable people to whom interpersonal relations come naturally. He chats readily and interestedly, and one can easily picture him as the life and soul of those post-prandial conversations which, fuelled by a good dinner, keep us at the table long after the food has been devoured. These are hardly surprising qualities, given his background: he was born into a bar- and restaurant-owning family and brought up in the business, acquiring the skills on which he has built his career. De la Osa’s professional experience goes back a long way, and he has absorbed and experimented with many influences en route. He is currently in the throes of redefining his cuisine. I


get the impression that this course of action is the end result of much introspective analysis on his part. “The more I see of what goes on these days, the more straightforward and simple I want the food I serve at Las Rejas to be. I’m developing a deep interest in my home patch and its products, and in the local traditional approach to food handed down to me by my grandmother, mother and aunts… In the food world as a whole, we’ve reached a stage where everything is very ‘samey’: we sit down to eat and there are no clues as to what part of the country we’re in. Somewhere along the way, truly local cuisine seems to have got lost; no matter where you go in Spain, you’ll end up eating the same

things. And I, for one, am starting to feel saddened and alarmed by this state of affairs.” His way of tackling the sadness and alarm has been to return to the essentials of Manchego cooking—not that he had ever lost sight of them, though “in the past I did stray rather far from my roots, which I now think was a mistake. I have to be more purist than ever in my approach to cooking. Forget the fireworks; I need to get back to a more natural approach. I spent over ten years experimenting with textures, spherifying, aerating and that sort of thing, developing one technique or another… I now know categorically that what I really want to do is to use local La Mancha products to make flavorful dishes that are simple but beautifully executed, with occasional grace notes to contribute complexity.” Manuel de la Osa gives me the impression of knowing exactly where he wants to take his cuisine. Even if he can’t quite come up with a “concept”, his head is teeming with ideas. “I’m embroiled in the details. Many of my dishes need tightening up to capture the flavors that are traditional to the cooking of this region—‘Cervantine cuisine’ (named after Miguel de Cervantes, 17th-century Spanish author of the classic novel Don Quixote)—while still accommodating more recent evolution.” In short, then, his aim is a style of cuisine that is personal, typical of La Mancha, and cosmopolitan all at the same time. Or to put it another way, the sort of food for which he is famous, but with flavor given even greater prominence.

explains, to give me some idea of the scale of the task that he seems to have been engaged in all his life in some form or other, and is now tackling with a new intensity. “Unless we learn about our traditions, and find out how things were done by our forefathers, we’ll never produce contemporary cooking of quality. We need that history, that culture and that tradition as our foundations,” he declares conclusively.

Produce of La Mancha This indefatigable gastronomic explorer is now focusing his attention on producing cuisine that is at once more Manchego than ever (if that were possible), out of the ordinary and global in its appeal. Using local products is a key principle, and La Mancha’s repertoire is, as he points out, virtually inexhaustible: “Few places can count on local supplies of such variety and quality as Castile-La Mancha. “We were talking earlier about saffron, garlic, honey, cheese and wine, which are the most obvious ones, but there are plenty more: game and its derivatives (Spain Gourmetour No. 79), eggplant from Almagro (Spain Gourmetour No. 83), almonds from the Sierra del Segura (Albacete), olive oils, marzipan from Toledo (Spain Gourmetour No. 82), La Mancha melons (Spain Gourmetour No. 61), cured ham, Pan de Cruz bread from Ciudad Real (central-southern Spain) and Manchego lamb and suckling pig.


These products are an inspiration to me and provide the basis of traditional cooking with their flavors of scrubland, smoke and open fire.” And these are precisely the aromas I inhale when the lechón con fritada, manzana, membrillo y jugo (suckling pig with fritada—a Manchego tomato-based dish of fried onions, zuchini and peppers—apple, quince and jus) is brought to the table. The meat is delicious, tender and silky, and the whole dish a beautifully managed exercise in contrasts, with delicate sweetness juxtaposed with richer, more intense sweetness and acidic, salty notes and, most importantly, all orchestrated to harmonize with the main ingredient. Not a false note is struck in the whole ensemble. Manuel tells me that that there have been times when he has been tempted to expunge fish and seafood from his menu, but “I come from a family of great enjoyers, the kind sort of people that always drank good wines and, many years ago, brought in oysters by the basketful. Meals on special

occasions always involved seafood and/or fish—in other words, products that didn’t exist here in Las Pedroñeras.” Nostalgia for those times generates evocative dishes such as Ostra merengada (Oyster meringue) and Rape con tocino ibérico, setas, tripas de bacalao y crema de coliflor

(Monkfish with ibérico pork belly, wild mushrooms, cod tripe and cauliflower cream)—a dish whose powerful flavors are counterbalanced by the touch of sweetness contributed by the smooth cauliflower cream. After cooking with Manchego products for so many years, it occurs to me to wonder whether Manuel has ever been tempted to market products under his own name. He assures me that he has collaborated with everyone who has approached him about that sort of thing: “I’ve developed, or helped with the development of, certain foodstuffs, but I’m not really commercially minded, and anyway I haven’t got the time.” His most direct involvements are in the wine world (he owns a winery that bears


Photos, recipes

Toya Legido/©ICEX and Tomás Zarza/©ICEX

The wines have been selected by Víctor Moreno, the restaurant and wine manager at the Las Rejas restaurant.


Manuel de la Osa*

SMOKED AJOARRIERO with herring roe

(Ajoarriero ahumado con huevas de arenque) Also popularly known as atascaburras, this dish reminds me of the village grocery store where I still buy the cod I use to make it…

SERVES 4 For the ajoarriero: 250 g / 9 oz onions; 200 g / 7 oz leeks; 2 cloves garlic; 6 ratte potatoes; 200 g / 7 oz smoked cod; 100 g / 3 1/2 oz cod skin; 50 g / 2 oz Boletus edulis; 1 bay leaf; 750 ml / 3 1/4 cup cocido (chickpea, vegetable and meat stew) stock; 500 ml / 2 1/6 cups cream; 25 ml / 2 tbsp garlic-infused oil; 25 ml / 2 tbsp Boletus edulis-infused oil; salt. Other ingredients: 10 ml / 2 tsp green oil (parsley with sunflower oil); garlic croutons; finely chopped chives; 50 g / 2 oz herring roe; 10 g / 1/3 oz Boletus edulis; sprouting greens.

Infuse the cocido stock with the cod skin, remove the skin and set the stock aside. Brown the two cloves of garlic, add the onion and leek and fry lightly. Then add the potatoes broken into small chunks, the cod, the cod skin (previously infused in the stock), the bay leaf and the Boletus edulis. Once this mixture has been heated through, add the cocido stock and cook for about 25 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add the cream, remove from the heat and blend. Using a sieve, strain the mixture and emulsify with the garlic- and Boletus edulis-infused oils, then add salt to taste. Chill.

To serve Fill half of a glass bowl with the ajoarriero cream. Drizzle a circle of green oil around the edge of the ajoarriero, and add the chopped chives and herring roe. Finally, add the garlic croutons and the sprouting greens.

Preparation time 40 minutes

Recommended wine Vallegarcía Viognier 2009 (Vino de la Tierra de Castilla), from Bodegas Retuerta del Bullaque. The smoky flavor of the ajoarriero is a perfect match for the toasted notes of this barrel-fermented wine.

*For a more in-depth look at the chef, see Close-up




Garlic is a truly global product, found in kitchens throughout the world. Yet it has a complicated reputation. Said to have appeared in the footprint of Satan after he left the Garden of Eden, it has been used to repel demons, werewolves and vampires. It also has an especially important role in the food cultures of southern Europe and the Mediterranean basin. Spain exports around 45% of its annual 150,000 ton crop, but that still leaves in excess of two kilos (4.4 lb) per person for home consumption.

Stepping back into old Spain To look more closely at Spain’s relationship with garlic, I’ve come to the region of Castile-La Mancha (center of Spain). Dotted with ancient castles and windmills straight out of Don Quixote (novel written by Miguel de Cervantes in the early 17th century), its arid plains immediately evoke the sense of “old Spain”. From the window of my hotel I look up and see Belmonte Castle, the 15th century Gothic-Moorish fortress with massive zigzag walls where Charlton Heston and Sofia Loren got all steamed-up in the movie El Cid (directed by Anthony Mann in 1961); and just down the road are the very windmills thought to be the ones described in Cervantes’ Don Quixote. But I’m not here for the windmills, or to remind myself how great Sofia Loren looked in a red wimple. La Mancha accounts for half of Spain’s


garlic output, followed by Andalusia, Castile-Leon, Valencia and Extremadura. All these regions have pretty good garlic growing climates, but it’s in La Mancha that you’ll find garlic heaven, and it’s here that I’ve journeyed in search of the best stinking rose known to Man. The cultivation of garlic goes hand in hand with the development of human civilization. A precursor of today’s plant is thought to have been cultivated 10,000 years ago by hunter-gatherer nomads in the central Asian mountains, then carried along the trade routes eastward to China and westward to Europe. Its medicinal properties have long been recognized: in ancient Egypt eating garlic was thought to strengthen and invigorate the body, and it was given in large quantities to the slaves who built the pyramids. Roman gladiators also ate it, believing that it had a stimulating effect on their bodies and also worked as an aphrodisiac. As far as cooking goes, the oldest known recipes in the world, the Yale Babylonian Tablets (16001700 BC), are full of references

to garlic, and in ancient Greece the significance of garlic in daily life was such that a section of the market in Athens was simply known as the garlic (ta skoroda). In Spanish cooking too, it has always assumed a prominent role. From the simple fried garlic sauces (ajada) of Galician fish dishes, to traditional garlic soup and ajoblanco (a cold soup made from ground almonds, bread, garlic, water, extra virgin olive oil, salt and vinegar), ali-olis (garlic mayonnaise), pil-pils (olive oil emulsionated in fresh stock), the rich red pepper sauce of the Basque Country (salsa vizcaína), Andalusian gazpacho (cold soup made from tomato, garlic, sweet bell pepper, cucumber and bread), plus stews and casseroles of innumerable kinds from innumerable places... a Spanish kitchen without garlic is simply unimaginable. Yet even in Spain the old ambivalence occasionally surfaces. For example, in Don Quixote the deluded knight errant goes in search of his beloved “lady” Dulcinea, but finally discovers that she is a sturdy peasant girl who “gave me a whiff of raw garlic that made my head reel, and poisoned my very heart.” Cervantes is thought to have chosen the agricultural landscape of La Mancha as the setting for Don Quixote because, despite the castles, it represented a down-to-earth, agricultural backdrop for his spoof of chivalric literature; whenever garlic is mentioned in the book,



with cheese

(Mojete Manchego con queso)

This is a modern, refreshing twist on the classic mojete manchego (a tomato- and red pepper-based dish), which we serve in the summer. I love the touch of flavor added by the cumin, an essential spice in my kitchen.

SERVES 4 For the mojete: 500 g /1 lb 2 oz ripe tomatoes; 1 clove garlic; 1 shallot; 20 g / 1 oz red pepper; 2-3 peppermint leaves; 1 sprig basil; 2 g / 0.07 oz cumin; sugar; salt. For the cheese moshi: 200 g / 7 oz Manchego cream cheese; 20 ml / 1 heaping tbsp milk; sugar; salt; 5 g / 1/6 oz iota carrageenan (gelling agent); 5 g / 1/6 oz alginate; 1 l / 4 1/4 cup mineral water. Other ingredients: extra virgin olive oil; 20 g / 1 oz garlic cheese from Las Pedroñeras (Cuenca); cocoa nibs; savory; thyme; rosemary flowers; garlic croutons.


Mojete Combine all the ingredients in a Thermomix (ripe tomatoes, garlic, shallot, red peppers and cumin) and strain, making what we call “tomato water”. Pass the mixture through a muslin cloth and remove any foam. Add salt and sugar to taste, followed by a sprig of basil and two or three peppermint leaves. Leave to infuse, then strain and set to one side.

Cheese moshi Mix the Manchego cream cheese and milk in a blender, then season with salt and sugar. Add the iota carrageenan and blend until the desired consistency is obtained (the mixture should not be too thick). Place the mixture in a squeeze bottle and create spheres in the alginate bath, then pass them

through a mineral water bath to remove any surplus alginate. To make the alginate bath, add 5 g / 1/6 oz alginate to 1 l / 4 1/4 cup mineral water.

To serve Place the cheese moshi in the middle of the plate, and top with the garlic cheese, cocoa nibs, savory, thyme and rosemary flower. Just before serving add the garlic crouton and pour the well-chilled mojete around the moshi on the plate.

Preparation time 30 minutes

Recommended wine Paso a Paso 2010 (Vino de la Tierra de Castilla), from Bodegas Volver. This is a very refreshing Verdejo, and blends perfectly with the acidic undertones of the tomato.


Photos, recipes

Toya Legido and Tomás Zarza/©ICEX


The wines have been selected by Víctor Moreno, the restaurant and wine manager at the Las Rejas restaurant.


Manuel de la Osa*

with cinnamon and lime

(Helado de turrón con canela y lima)

The tradition of turrón sellers on the street during village festivals is something that always comes to mind when I work with this magnificent product.

Turrón ice cream

To serve

Mix the cream and milk with the turrón and heat until the turrón has melted, then set to one side to cool. Add the procrema and mix well. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Add a little crumbled turrón to a bowl and place a quenelle of ice cream on top. Pour the citrus soup into the bowl. Top the ice cream with the cinnamon air.


Citrus soup

Preparation time 40 minutes

cream stabilizer).

Squeeze the lemons and limes and infuse with the mint in the fridge. Add the alginate and strain.

For the citrus soup: 2 limes; 2 lemons; 15 g /

Cinnamon air

For the turrón ice cream: 600 g / 1 lb 5 oz Jijona turrón; 800 g / 3 1/2 cup cream; 200 g / 3/4 cups milk; 80 g / 3 oz procrema (ice

1/2 oz sugar; 6 mint leaves; alginate. For the cinnamon air: 125 g / 1/2 cup TPT syrup; 100 g / 1/2 cup water; 2 cinnamon sticks; lecithin.

Infuse the liquids with the cinnamon, allow to cool, add the lecithin and emulsify.

Recommended wine Finca Antigua Moscatel, from Bodega Finca Antigua. The creaminess of the ice cream, countered by the acidic touch of the citrus soup, makes this sweet wine the perfect accompaniment for this dish.

*For a more in-depth look at the chef, see Close-up




fennel and seasonal herbs

(Turrón con foie gras, hinojo y hierbas del momento)

The village and the surrounding area are covered in fennel, and its pleasant perfume drifts into the houses where, in this particular recipe, it blends perfectly with the foie gras and the turrón.

Turrón praline


Mix the liquidized fennel and the kappa carrageenan in a saucepan and heat to 70ºC / 158ºF. Remove from the heat and cool to 50ºC / 122ºF. Meanwhile, place the foie gras on a wire rack, season with salt and pepper and coat each piece with a thin layer of the fennel mixture. Set to one side.

4 50 g / 2 oz pieces of micuit duck foie gras; 2 raspberries; balsamic vinegar reduction; salt; pepper; fennel sprouts and flowers. For the turrón praline: 100 g / 3 1/2 oz DO Jijona turrón; 10 g / 2 tsp sunflower oil. For the fennel bath: 150 ml / 2/3 cups of liquidized fennel; 0.8 g / 0.03 g of kappa carrageenan (gelatine).

Crumble 50 g / 2 oz of turrón and, using a spatula, mix thoroughly with the sunflower oil. Set to one side.

Fennel bath

To serve Decorate the plate horizontally with the turrón praline, and place the coated piece of micuit foie gras in


the center of the praline mixture. Cut a few slices of turrón, quarter the raspberries and place on the plate. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar reduction and top with the fennel sprouts and flowers.

Preparation time 30 minutes

Recommended wine Cuvee Cecilia (DO Manchuela), from Bodega Finca Sandoval in the DO Manchuela. This sweet red wine from Víctor de la Serna, prepared using a late harvest of Syrah and Muscatel grapes and aged for five years, has notes of red fruits and walnuts, a perfect match for items such as foie gras and turrón.

New Takes on

Would it be possible to cook differently? Could we prepare the same old ingredients in new, better ways? Could we improve on time-tested recipes?


HNIQUES Text Julia Pérez/©ICEX

Photos Toya Legido/©ICEX

Translation Jenny McDonald/©ICEX

Culinary techniques are little more than a set of actions that we repeat almost mechanically, without stopping to think of new ways to do things, or of changes that might lead to a better result. We rarely bother to question why we cook the way we do. We just follow the set routine, never doubting the know-how that has been passed down from generation to generation, as if it were absolute truth. Until along comes a free spirit, showing curiosity and sparking rebelliousness. Then nonconformism, the driving force behind change, takes over. Such times of breaking with the past, of transgression, have punctuated the history of gastronomy, opening the door to advances in culinary techniques. These revolutions in the kitchen unintentionally raise gastronomy to new heights. Similar processes take place in art or certain scientific disciplines, with every contribution representing a step forward. To understand how cooking develops, we have to travel in time. In the past, new gastronomic models appeared in parallel with sociological changes. Going back a few centuries, some of the names that come to mind



are La Varenne (17th century), Menon (18th century), Carême (19th century) and Escoffier (19th-20th century). Each of them brought a qualitative change, the birth of a new system with new rules and methods. The fall of the aristocracy in France triggered the birth of public eating houses, when the now redundant chefs of the nobility started to cook for the bourgeois, not in their homes, but in restaurants. But the 20th century saw a different type of change, one affecting the role played by chefs as trendsetters. Nouvelle cuisine in France was born out of chefs’ personal enthusiasm and their need to establish a different relationship with their customers.

Thirty decisive years In Spain, the changes began in the Basque Country where, back in 1977, a group of young chefs (Arzak, Subijana, Arguiñano, Irizar, Castillo...) dared to proclaim that salsa verde, the emblematic green sauce of Basque cuisine, should be made only from parsley and garlic, and no longer thickened with flour. And they started to lighten other traditional recipes, under the influence of the modern dietary approach of nouvelle cuisine. It’s true they made some mistakes, offering a surfeit of terrines, puddings and pies, and decorating all their dishes with tomato flowers, herbs and cream, departing from the spirit of Basque cuisine. But, over the years, their wildest initiatives have been forgotten and the essence of what they were doing has remained. Today they are seen as having exerted a great influence. During this initial episode, changes were worked not so much on techniques as on ingredients, cooking

times, serving, etc. Cuisine became lighter and healthier, cooking times were shortened and aesthetics received the importance it deserved. Chapter two of this story takes us to the mid-1990s and features a bright young man from Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona). His natural intuition led him, after a series of successes and failures, to start questioning everything and applying scientific method to the humble art of cooking. Without being chauvinistic, nor revering him as a national hero, there is no doubt that Ferran Adrià marked a turning point, a before and after, in Spanish and global cuisine. His technical contribution to avantgarde cooking is unquestionable, but his intellectual contribution is even greater. He caused a re-think among his colleagues all over the world, encouraging them to show curiosity and to experiment. Jacques Maximin had once told Adrià, “creating is not copying”, and Adrià took this advice seriously, creating a new culinary paradigm: the Adrià revolution.

Cuisine, science and technology Similar challenges were being faced more or less at the same time by scientists such as Hervè This in France, Harold McGee in the United States, and Davide Cassi in Italy. They were all, in their different ways, searching for the answer to the questions being posed by Adrià. What happens inside food when it is cooked? Can certain reactions be avoided to bring out flavor, texture, color, etc.? At the end of the ‘90s, cuisine and science met up and started out on a path that opened up new horizons, with encouragement coming from some quarters and rejection from others.

Following the example of elBulli, many chefs began to search for new methods, new techniques that would allow them to achieve results that previously had been unthinkable. But they had to set out across a desert, with practically no landmarks to follow. The path was plagued by doubts and questions, not to mention lack of understanding, but it gradually cleared as their experiments proved successful. And they did to cuisine what restorers do to cathedrals: they cleaned, polished, and restored it to glory. While using the latest technology, they were careful to acknowledge the cultural weight of the taste memory that existed in each location. All the new techniques developed over these years and the technology that has made them possible have helped expand know-how. We could maybe leave aside the foams–the symbol of so many excesses–but after that whirlwind which looked as if it might put an end to food as we knew it, the fact is that now we know how to fry better, boil better, roast better. And, most importantly, this new expertise is not limited to haute cuisine and restaurants, it has reached all social levels, homes, hospitals, schools, etc. “It’s something of a paradox,” says Adrià, “but after all our innovations, creations and inventions, I think our greatest provocation was in the early 1990s when, at elBulli, we served grilled vegetables and fish. It was food that was not typical of gastronomic restaurants, but rather of beach eateries and bars. We converted them into haute cuisine. What we were trying to do was to create a different language to respond to new concepts; to that end, we devised brand new techniques which led to the modernization of preparations.”

All the elBulli books have been important, but it was El sabor del Mediterráneo (1993) that really planted the seed of the Adrià revolution. “The importance of the sea and its inclusion in haute cuisine was essential,” says its author. “We reduced fish and shellfish cooking techniques to absolute simplicity, an approach that was unheard of in haute cuisine.”

Cooking: from stews to the Roner “One of the first things I changed when I started cooking,” explains Juan Mari Arzak, “was the way we cooked potages. In my mother’s day, everything was cooked together in one large pan–the meat, vegetables, and legumes. But I realized it was better to cook each ingredient separately. That way I could give each product the right consistency, without running the risk of mushy potatoes and tough chorizo (a type of red sausage). At Arzak (three Michelin stars, in San Sebastian), since 1965 everything has been cooked that way–separately. It might seem a minor detail, but in fact it it’s an essential step forward.” Arzak’s initiative created a great following, and many chefs began experimenting in their own way with the process of cooking solids in a liquid. Martín Berasategui (Martín Berasategui, three Michelin stars, in San Sebastian) has adopted a similar process for the popular marmitako (bonito and potato stew). “People used to cook the bonito with the other ingredients, leaving the fish dry and tasteless. But what I do is make a good fumet full of flavor, and then I use it to cook the potatoes and vegetables. When they’re ready, I cut the fish into dice and fry them separately, adding them at the end.

Artichoke broth, vegetable micro-wafers, broad beans and peas (Caldo de alcachofa, microláminas de verduras, habitas y guisantes)

That way the fish is still moist and full of flavor. It’s a great dish.” Andoni L. Aduriz (Mugaritz, two Michelin stars, in San Sebastian) made his name for the stocks and broths he uses to accompany his dishes. These are wholesome, translucent liquids without a drop of fat; they draw admiration. “Preparing a stock is simple but time-consuming. You have to cook it first, then remove the fat, then clarify it. To make things easier, all you have to do is ensure that the liquid does not boil vigorously, because this makes it cloudy. The idea is to control the temperature the whole time so that the stock hardly moves and particles do not come off the solid ingredients. I realized this



Something mystic in the air “I was born in Ávila, the old walledin city, and I think that its almost mystic silence and serenity entered my soul at birth”, wrote Miguel Delibes (born 1920), one of Spain’s foremost contemporary authors. Indeed, although it certainly is lively, Ávila has a singular quietude to it. It is not only the city of noblemen, but also the city of Saint Teresa (15151582), one of Spain’s great universal



So what do we do with egg yolks? The question seems fair in an area where sherry was traditionally fined with egg whites. Religious orders were the perfect beneficiaries and it is precisely in the convents of southeastern Spain where the confection of yemas (yolks) allegedly originates and from there spread to other convents throughout the country. There are Yemas de Sevilla, de Ecija and de Cádiz, Yemas de San Pablo, and certainly the most widely-known are Yemas de Santa Teresa from Ávila. However, no nuns are directly involved here. It was Isabelo Sánchez who started making them in 1860, and even though for well over a century it remained a family

mystics. Here she was born, here she wrote her famous works, and here she spent most of her life, especially at the Monasterio de la Encarnación (Monastery of the Incarnation) some 3 km (1.8 mi) from the city and well worth a visit. But let’s walk to the Convento y Museo de Santa Teresa (Saint Teresa Convent and Museum) via Ávila’s central square, known as Mercado Chico because of the traditional farmers’ market still held here every Friday. It is a porticoed square presided over by the municipal government building from



operation, Ávila became inseparably linked to its famous yolks and vice-versa, so much so that in order to safeguard quality, the product had to be patented as imitations showed up everywhere. You will find Yemas de Ávila in the city’s ubiquitous pastry shops; however, only the three gourmet stores called Flor de Castilla sell the original Yemas de Santa Teresa, still 100% handmade today with the best ingredients: egg yolks slowly stirred into sugar syrup, left to solidify just enough to be gently hand rolled into small balls and dusted with powdered sugar. The ethereal texture, beautiful deep yellow color and exceptional taste surely make them bits of heaven.

where small streets, full of little shops, run towards all cardinal points of the wall. At the Baroque Carmelite Convent, popularly called The House of the Saint, you can visit the chapel built where Teresa was born in 1515. It features a statue of the saint as well as a beautifullycarved Christ figure. The adjacent museum holds manuscripts, clothes and other relics. October 15th, the day of her passing, is celebrated with a large procession and a solemn mass, which attracts thousands of devotees to the historic site. Yet popular religious fervor aside, Ávila has also become the seat of the first Centro Internacional de Estudios Místicos (International Centre for Mystical Studies), founded by the municipal government with the support of official and private institutions and UNESCO, which closely collaborates on the frequent events of international scope organized in the city. These include monographic congresses, seminars, musical and other performances and exhibitions like the recent Art and Mysticism, which filled the city center with

talking to García del Moral,” says García, “he told me how he had been served an ‘inflated’ sole at Casa Joaquín (Almería, on Spain’s southern coast) in which the skin formed a natural protection, causing a double cooking process. And I realized that in some bars which are especially popular for their fried tapas, the anchovies are served with a swollen skin. So I started to think seriously about frying which, in avant-garde cooking, is generally ruled out.” But with frying, it is not easy to get the right results and it is not suitable for all types of fish. The most suitable are sole and turbot, but the kitchen team at Calima has also been successful with red mullet, small red bream, gilthead bream, and even with John Dory. It is essential for the skin and scales of the fish to be intact–any cut or damaged fish cannot be cooked this way. The temperature is also important. The fish should be cooked at no more than 1-2ºC (3436ºF) to ensure a marked contrast when it is submerged in oil at 180ºC (356ºF). This will blow up the skin, separating it from the flesh, which cooks in its own juices. The fat does not penetrate, it just makes the skin crisp. “I realized,” explains García, “that in an haute cuisine restaurant we can’t serve the fish whole, and customers usually remove the skin before eating the fish anyway. So I had to re-think the recipe. We ended up serving the flesh on its own, paired with an emblanco (a typical Málaga stock of fish, salt and water) as a sauce and with the skin served separately as a crisp. First we prepare the fillets in the kitchen, then we re-fry the skin. The dish has been tremendously successful but it’s so complicated to serve that we don’t always include it on the menu.” García finds frying fascinating and is

always experimenting. His latest contribution is a new version of the traditional tortilla de camarón, a shrimp crisp from Cádiz. In this case, however, the novelty is not in the technique, but in the ingredients. The flour has been replaced by two transparent starch wafers–discovered by García in Japan–with the shrimp inserted between them in a spiral shape. The result is a crunchy, very delicate filigree, the sublimation of this Cádiz specialty, in which the shrimp are not overwhelmed by either the flour or the oil. Pure poetry. The Riojan chef Francis Paniego (Echaurren, one Michelin star, in Ezcaray in northern Spain) has also made an important contribution to the art of frying. His famous Hake in batter fried at low temperature (45 ºC / 113 ºF) has really made the headlines in Spain, and hundreds of chefs–even people cooking at home–are making it on a daily basis. “The idea came from watching my mother,” says Paniego. “When she cooked for the restaurant, she used to fry the hake portions in hot oil, then leave them for a few minutes in the oil but off the heat. I thought we should be able to achieve the same effect by carefully controlling the temperature, first frying the fish in hot oil for a few seconds to form a crisp outside layer, then submerging it in oil at 45ºC (113ºF). The result is exceptional, as if the fish had been cooked the whole time at a very low temperature, confit-style.” He was right. His hake with rice soup and fried peppers is one of the simplest yet most delicate dishes I have ever tasted. Hidden beneath a golden wrapper is a portion of immaculate, white fish that falls into fresh, juicy flakes full of flavor. A celebration for the taste buds.

Marmitako (Albacore tuna and potato stew)

Emulsions, soups and delicate sauces There is a whole range of preparations that basically consist of an emulsion of a fat or oil with other ingredients. They include the popular alioli (made from extra virgin olive oil and garlic) from Spain’s east coast, Basque pilpil (an emulsion formed from the gelatin in cod skin with olive oil), and the traditional Andalusian cold soups: gazpacho (tomato-based), ajoblanco (with crushed almonds), salmorejo (water, tomato, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper) and porra antequerana (with bread added). All these preparations have changed over the years either because of the arrival of new kitchen devices such as the Thermomix, which makes it possible to form emulsions of a smoothness that was previously unimaginable, because of changes in the actual process as with pilpil, or because of changes in the way the main ingredient is treated, as with the garlic in modern aliolis. And all of them have seen the inclusion of other ingredients.



EMULSIONS Alioli Traditional method: An emulsion of raw garlic and olive oil made by manually crushing the garlic with salt to obtain a creamy paste, then gradually adding oil. Updated method: Use of boiled or roasted garlic to make the flavor milder, and manual or mechanical production of the emulsion. Inclusion of new ingredients. Cold soups Traditional method: The ingredients are crushed and water and olive oil are added to form an emulsion. The texture is thick and may be lumpy. Updated method: It is essential to use a food processor to form the emulsion at high speed, thus achieving a very fine, delicate texture. Pilpil Traditional method: The cod is cooked with the skin on in olive oil and the emulsion is formed with the gelatin from its skin. Updated method: The sauce is prepared separately using cod skins cooked in olive oil to form an emulsion. Then the sauce is poured over pieces of cod which are finished in a cool oven for approximately 12 minutes.

ESCABECHE Traditional method: The foods are cooked at length in an acid medium, usually vinegar, the aim being their longterm preservation. Updated method: Reduction of cooking times and use of quality vinegar so that the food acquires added aromas. The aim is no longer to preserve the food, but to give it a special flavor and texture.

FRYING Confit Traditional method: Portions of battered fish are submerged in oil at 170ºC (338ºF). First a crust forms on the outside, then the oil is removed from the flame and the fish is left in it to continue cooking for a few minutes. Updated method: The temperature and timing are calculated exactly. First the pieces of fish are fried in hot oil and then transferred to oil at 40ºC (104ºF) until cooked. This is similar to making a confit in olive oil. Traditional – 21st century Traditional method: Whole, battered fish is submerged in oil at 170ºC (338ºF). Only small fish can be used (anchovies, whitebait, red mullet, etc.) Updated method: The technique is the same but is used for large fish so that the skin forms a papillote, creating a dual cooking process. First the food cooks on the outside, forming a smooth, crisp exterior layer. It then cooks gently inside, without absorbing any oil.

SOUS-VIDE This new method allows foods to be cooked without losing any flavor or nutritional qualities. It replaces both cooking in liquid and traditional roasting (lamb, suckling pig, fish, etc.).



Cuisiner l’huile d’olive Rien de nouveau sous le soleil. Un proverbe tout à fait juste si l’on pense à l’un des produits les plus anciens : l’huile d’olive vierge extra. Pourtant, grâce aux dernières avancées de la technique et à la créativité d’un groupe de jeunes cuisiniers espagnols, ce jus millénaire est actuellement l’objet d’interprétations surprenantes. De nouvelles recréations de l’huile d’olive entraînent le palais vers des territoires parfois familiers, parfois ignorés, mais toujours sur des chemins inexplorés. Le rôle même de l’huile d’olive connaît de nos jours une métamorphose profonde : si elle était l’invitée d’honneur des salades, des fritures et des ragoûts, elle est devenue la protagoniste de beaucoup de plats. En définitive, en ce début de XXIe siècle, l’huile d’olive a mis ses habits de gala.




TEXTE DAVID CÁNOVAS WILLIAMS TRADUCTION FRANÇOISE CHUFFART PHOTOS TOMÁS ZARZA TOYA LEGIDO/ICEX Tal como nuestros modernos aviones se inspiraron en algo tanmodernes antiguo como Tout comme nos avions se sont inspirés fait aussi ancien el vuelo de losd’un pájaros, cuando a que le vol des lorsqu’à laMartín fin des finales de oiseaux, los años noventa, années 90, Martín Berasategui osa la Berasategui se atrevió a transgredir transgresser de l’huile ortodoxia dell’orthodoxie aceite de oliva, lo hizo d’olive, il le fitenenalgunas s’inspirant de inspirándose costumbres certaines populaires. populares.coutumes El hoy tres estrellas Ce chef, dontadvirtió le restaurant Michelin que enpossède algunastrois étoiles Michelin, s’était aperçu que el partes de la Provenza francesa existía dans certains endroits de Provence il hábito de introducir el aceite de oliva était habituel de mettre l’huile d’olive virgen extra en la nevera para su vierge extra au réfrigérateur posterior aplicación sobre elpour pan a l’étaler ensuite sur du commelos du modo de mantequilla.pain Al advertir beurre. Constatant les changements cambios que se operaban en la textura qui s’opéraient dans la texture de del aceite, decidió aplicarlos a una l’huile, il décida de les appliquer à une nueva receta, que hoy día ya tiene la recette nouvelle, considérée consideración de clásico: el helado de aujourd’hui comme un classique : la aceite de oliva. Aquella primera glace à l’huile d’olive. Cette première ruptura avec con lalatradición aceite de rupture tradition del de l’huile oliva virgen extra no se aplicó d’olive vierge extra ne s’est pasen postres como pudiera parecer a produite en préparant des desserts primera on vista. En lugar de eso, comme pourrait le croire a priori. Berasategui decidióBerasategui destinar sudécida Bien au contraire, hallazgo a preparaciones d’appliquer sa découvertesaladas à des como la vieira marinada con hígado rape préparations salées, comme la de coquille o el bonito marinado, platos que iban Saint-Jacques marinée avec du foie de acompañados una guarnición de baudroie ou lade bonite marinée, plats helado de aceite de d’une oliva. garniture “Para mí, de la qu’il accompagnait cocinaà yl’huile el aceite de oliva virgen glace d’olive. « Pour moi,extra la forman et unl’huile binomio indisoluble: el cuisine d’olive vierge extra aceite deun oliva es equivalente a la : forment binôme indissociable



buena cocina. Lo cierto es que año tras l’huile est synonyme de bonne año vand’olive mejorando las técnicas de cuisine. Et ilasíestcomo certain qu’au fildel des extracción, la calidad ans, lesYtechniques d’extraction ainsi aceite. esto es lo que permite que que la qualité de las l’huile se sont podamos ajustar recetas a través de améliorées. ce qui permet los aromas yC’est sabores quenous podemos d’ajuster les recettes à l’évolution des obtener (acidez, amargor…). Y esto arômes des goûts nous pouvons tambiénetincluye a losque postres”, explica obtenir (acidité, amertume…). Berasategui haciendo balance deC’est la également vrai pour les desserts », dit trayectoria seguida por este ingrediente Berasategui, le bilan mediterráneodressant a lo largo de lasdu dos parcours suivi par cet ingrédient últimas décadas. Pero la méditerranéen transformaciónau encours el usodes deldeux aceite dernières décennies. Mais la de oliva tal como lo conocemos transformation de l’utilisation de hunde sus raíces más atrás en el l’huile d’olive telle que nous la tiempo. Porque si bien Berasategui connaissons trouve son origine plus dio a conocer el helado de aceite de avant dans le temps. En effet, si oliva, fue otro cocinero el que llevó Berasategui fit connaître la glace à a cabo las primeras aproximaciones a l’huile d’olive, ce fut un autre chef qui esta técnica. effectua les premières approches de Cuando le llega el momento a una cette technique. idea, la Historia se encarga Lorsqu’une idée siempre doit arriver à bon de que haya alguien la materialice. port, l’Histoire chargeque toujours Algo así ocurrió en Lúculo, elC’est primer quelqu’un de la matérialiser. un restaurante de cocina peu ce qui s’est passé àcreativa Lúculo,dele Madrid. restaurant A cientos de del premier dekilómetros cuisine créative restaurante Berasategui en el País de Madrid. À cent kilomètres du Vasco, y casi quince años restaurant Berasategui, au antes, Pays basque, unpresque joven, Ange García, estaba le jeune et 15 ans auparavant, experimentando con loslessorbetes Ange García qui testait glaces aux de verduras cuando decidió incorporar légumes décida d’y incorporer de el aceited’olive de oliva virgen extra. l’huile vierge extra. En 1983, ce

En 1983, el inquieto cocinero español, cuisinier très las original, que veníaespagnol de paladear mielesqui del venait dePerpignan connaître con le succès à éxito en su restaurante Perpignan avec son restaurant L'Apero, estaba dispuesto a L’Apéro, s’apprêtait à révolutionner revolucionar la restauraciónlaen la restauration dans“En la capitale capital española. Lúculoespagnole. hacíamos «una Chez Lúculo faisions une cocina muynous creativa y arriesgada; cuisine créative et audacieuse recuerdotrès que Santi Santamaría y ; je me souviens Santi Santamaría et Ferran Adrià que se pasaban por allí para Ferran Adrià passaient de temps en ver lo que estábamos desarrollando”, temps voir ce que nous », se evoca Ange García. En lafaisions actualidad, rappelle Ange García. Après avoir después de haber inaugurado uno de inauguré l’unrestaurantes des premiersderestaurants los primeros tapas de tapas créatifs à Londres (Albero y creativas en Londres (Albero y Grana), Grana) et collaboré à divers projets y de colaborar en diversos proyectos comme conseiller ou cuisinier dans des como asesor o cocinero por restaurants du monde entier, il est restaurantes de todo el mundo, tiene a aujourd’hui responsable de l’espace su cargo el espacio gastronómico de gastronomique de Lavinia, l’un des Lavinia, una de las mayores tiendas plus importants commerces de vins de vinos de España, con establecimientos d’Espagne qui possède des en Madrid, Barcelona, París, Ginebra y établissements à Madrid, Barcelone, Ucrania. Cuando le hablo de aquellos Paris, Genève et en Ukraine. Lorsque primeros frunce el sorbets, ceño il je lui parlesorbetes de ses premiers haciendo fronce les memoria. sourcils et semble faire un “Hoy día hay sorbetes de todo, pero effort de mémoire. a romper «nosotros De nos empezamos jours, il y a des sorbetsmoldes de en Lúculo. El sorbete no se puedequi tous les parfums mais c’est nous hacer con agua porque te queda avons commencé à toutsechambouler comoLúculo. una piedra, hace àfalta chez Le sorbet l’eauuna ne turbina, el aporte de una materia fonctionne pas, il devient trop durgrasa ; il y, luego, los ingredientes den el faut une turbine, l’apportque d’une matière et,de ensuite, sabor. Elgrasse sorbete aceite les de oliva



Le substitut parfait Durant la Ve Rencontre internationale de la cuisine d’huile d’olive vierge extra, qui s’est tenue à la fin du mois de juin dernier à l’école d’hôtellerie de La Laguna, à Jaén, cœur de l’oliveraie andalouse, des écoles d’hôtellerie de toute l’Europe — de l’Italie à la Bulgarie — firent diverses démonstrations des nombreuses facettes de l’huile d’olive vierge extra. Lorsque vint le tour de l’école d’hôtellerie de York (Royaume-Uni), le cuisinier Pietro Salvatore surprit l’assistance avec un plat qui parut un véritable sacrilège gastronomique : un pudding au chocolat préparé à l’huile d’olive au lieu de beurre. Soudain, un dessert anglo-saxon traditionnel revêtait une dimension véritablement

méditerranéenne. Et ce n’est pas un cas isolé. Jordi Butrón et Xano Saguer sont les fondateurs d’Espaisucre, le premier centre du monde qui intègre une école et un restaurant de desserts. Saguer réfléchit aux nouvelles tendances d’utilisation de l’huile d’olive et s’accorde avec Paco Roncero pour dire que la condition fondamentale est l’absence de préjugés. « Nous considérons la pâtisserie d’un œil abstrait. Nous analysons la fonction de chaque ingrédient et nous voyons comment il réagit. Ainsi, nous n’avons pas hésité à introduire l’huile d’olive comme matière grasse là où on utilisait le beurre. » Et ce pour une raison fondamentale : « Les pâtissiers qui étaient de simples interprètes de recettes sont devenus des créateurs. »

À Espaisucre, ils ont réalisé une glace à l’huile d’olive, des bonbons gélifiés ou des biscuits à l’huile d’olive, avec de la crème d’olive de la variété Manzanilla, et ils ont créé de la barbe à papa à l’huile d’olive (une nouvelle version du marshmallow classique), mais Saguer insiste sur le fait que la présence de l’huile d’olive doit répondre aux besoins d’une recette et que la tradition culinaire ne doit pas représenter une restriction. « Le goût est fondamental, et c’est ce qui nous intéresse le plus dans l’huile d’olive. En outre, je pense qu’on néglige souvent la variété, ce qui est très important. Nous utilisons généralement l’huile de la variété Picual qui est très forte et intense. » À Elda (Alicante) la pâtisserie Totel, bastion de Paco Torreblanca — considéré par la critique comme l’un des meilleurs pâtissiers du monde — emploie la même technique mais son objectif est différent. Comme disait le philosophe, « je suis d’accord avec toi mais pour des raisons opposées. » « Depuis près de deux ans, nous remplaçons le beurre, en totalité ou en partie, dans la garniture des chocolats. Pour nous, la texture est fondamentale : l’huile d’olive est une graisse qui a une cristallisation différente ; ce n’est pas comme le beurre qui durcit au froid. Ce produit met beaucoup plus longtemps à s’oxyder et présente une texture beaucoup plus onctueuse et élastique », affirme Torreblanca lors d’une dégustation de chocolats qui eut lieu à Madrid. Et il ajoute : « Evidemment, nous sommes aussi intéressés par certaines nuances de goût. Ainsi, selon l’origine du chocolat, nous utilisons une variété d’huile d’olive vierge extra ou une autre, plus ou moins fruitée. Nous prenons les variétés Arbequina, Picual et Hojiblanca, mais surtout l’Arbequina, pour sa douceur et son fruité.



Actuellement, nous choisissons des Arbequinas andalouses très intéressantes. Parfois, dans des chocolats contenant 80 % de cacao, nous employons aussi de l’huile d’olive Picual. » Comme dans beaucoup d’autres nouvelles applications de l’huile d’olive, au-delà des goûts personnels, il existe de solides arguments techniques pour justifier cette décision. « Le plus important est d’unifier les matières végétales. Avec le beurre, nous avons une graisse d’origine animale, alors que le mélange de graisse de cacao et d’huile d’olive, reste une combinaison de graisses végétales qui donne un résultat plus harmonieux. » Là où Roncero ajoutait du beurre de cacao à l’huile d’olive, Torreblanca ajoute de l’huile d’olive au chocolat. Les chemins se croisent de nouveau. À côté de Paco Torreblanca, il existe d’autres maisons qui ont choisi de remettre en question la présence sempiternelle du beurre dans l’élaboration du chocolat. C’est le cas de l’entreprise catalane Cacao Sampaka qui propose depuis quelques années une gamme de chocolats à l’huile d’olive. De toute façon, le monde de la pâtisserie n’est pas le seul secteur où l’huile d’olive vierge extra gagne du terrain sur les graisses animales. Le gouvernement andalou a créé une zone industrielle de R&D consacrée uniquement à l’huile d’olive. Il s’agit de Geolit - Parque del Aceite y el Olivar (Geolit - Parc de l’huile et de l’oliveraie). Citoliva est l’une des fondations qui y travaille et qui conseille diverses entreprises sur la manière d’introduire l’huile d’olive dans leurs processus de production. Le programme vedette de Citoliva est Olivissimo, un projet qui a développé un brevet mondial pour le remplacement des graisses animales Paco Torreblanca JANVIER-AVRIL 2008 SPAIN GOURMETOUR




impensables jusqu’à présent. La présentation de l’aérosil a eu lieu lors du dernier congrès « Viva las verduras », tenu en Navarre à la fin du mois de mai dernier. García del Moral, Navas et Gutiérrez y révélèrent certaines de ses qualités. Ils démontrèrent qu’il suffit d’introduire des variations dans la quantité et la température pour pouvoir créer aussi bien une mousse stable qu’une purée. En ce qui concerne l’huile d’olive vierge extra, l’aérosil ouvre un éventail surprenant de possibilités. Grâce aux qualités épaississantes de l’aérosil soumis aux élévations de température, Navas a créé une autre version de l’olive essentielle d’elBulli. Tout d’abord, il liquéfie une pâte d’olives noires et l’épaissit en ajoutant de l’aérosil. Une fois la pâte refroidie, il émulsionne l’huile d’olive pour obtenir la consistance et la forme d’une olive. Cependant, l’une des applications les plus intéressantes de l’aérosil est probablement l’aromatisation de l’huile d’olive sans avoir recours ni à des processus de macération ni à des changements de température. « Le résultat final est impressionnant. Il suffit d’introduire dans l’huile d’olive vierge extra des légumes ou des fruits liquéfiés, d’apporter une petite quantité d’aérosil, de passer au mixeur et de laisser reposer 20 minutes. L’eau se sépare de l’huile d’olive mais les particules aromatiques restent unies à l’huile. On obtient ainsi une solution de la même couleur et du même goût que l’huile mais avec les arômes essentiels du produit liquéfié qu’on y a ajouté. » Si l’on chauffe au préalable le produit liquéfié et l’aérosil et si, après l’avoir refroidi, on émulsionne l’huile d’olive vierge extra, on obtiendra l’union parfaite des deux liquides. Ces techniques permettent de préparer des recettes comme le sorbet au citron vert au gin, à l’aneth, à l’ananas, à



l’orange et à l’huile d’olive en émulsion ou le maquereau en escabèche au cava tiède avec émulsion d’ail, de petites tomates, d’olives vertes et de citron vert. À l’Espadaña, on organise des dégustations d’huiles d’olive vierges extra et, une fois déterminées les notes prédominantes (fenouil, tomate, branche d’olive, amande), on mixe un végétal pour renforcer les arômes naturels de l’huile. Pour résumer, l’aérosil permet d’extraire tout l’arôme et la saveur d’un produit et de l’instiller dans l’huile d’olive. L’aromatisation de l’huile

d’olive par macération et infusion était déjà pratiquée dans l’Antiquité mais de nombreuses innovations se sont produites ces dernières années.

Huiles d’olive aromatisées Comment cuisiner avec les arômes de la braise sans braises ? Voilà la question que se posait Francis Paniego, chef cuisinier chez Echaurren, à Ezcaray (La Rioja), et conseiller du restaurant de la Ciudad del Vino de Marqués de Riscal, conçue par Frank Ghery dans La

Francis Paniego

Rioja. « Il y a environ cinq ans, nous avons eu un problème. Nous voulions utiliser le sarment pour aromatiser les viandes, mais nous n’avions pas de grils. Nous avons donc pensé qu’une huile d’olive aromatisée pourrait être une solution, ce qui donna le jour aux huiles aux arômes de bois ». Cette recherche entreprise par Paniego commença par une collaboration avec les Bodegas Roda de La Rioja pour analyser la manière de transmettre au vin les arômes de chêne des barriques. « Aux Bodegas Roda, nous avons réalisé une série empirique que nous avons décidé d’étendre à d’autres bois comme le chêne vert et le hêtre, en plus du chêne rouvre et des sarments. Le processus suivi à Roda a consisté à tenter de transmettre par combustion les arômes de différents bois à l’huile, à l’intérieur d’une cocotte minute (voir recette page 34). Ce système, inventé par Ferran Adrià pour sa fameuse mousse de fumée, a connu quelques

modifications pour s’adapter à nos besoins : Adriá a fumé l’eau dans une cocotte minute et nous, nous avons remplacé l’eau par de l’huile d’olive vierge extra. » Après les expériences à la cocotte minute, nous avons étudié l’aromatisation de l’huile d’olive au micro-onde. « Le système consiste à faire griller les bois au micro-onde, ce qui en fait une matière très parfumée qui tient le rôle de bâtons de cannelle. On les plonge ensuite dans de l’huile d’olive préalablement chauffée ; en réalité on fait une infusion. » Pour Francis, cette méthode est beaucoup plus rapide mais il ne l’utilise qu’avec les variétés d’huile d’olive vierge extra les moins intenses. Et si on lui demande de choisir une variété d’olive ou une autre, Paniego n’hésite pas : « Arbequina, Hojiblanca et Redondal sont quelques-unes de celles que j’utilise. J’aime beaucoup l’huile d’olive produite dans ma région. J’utilise beaucoup l’huile

Dauro, elle est excellente. » Et si l’on parle de l’origine géographique de chacune d’elles, il ajoute : « Chaque région a sa magie, La Rioja est une découverte, la Catalogne et les Baléares ne déçoivent jamais et en Andalousie, Jaén représente l’élégance et la sobriété. » Le Groupe Pons, entreprise catalane fondée en 1945, a suivi un autre chemin. La gamme des huiles Mas Portell utilise un processus de pressage qui extrait les huiles essentielles de la peau des agrumes lors du pressage des olives. Ils possèdent actuellement deux variétés : citron et mandarine ; et dans les prochains mois, ils lanceront une huile d’olive vierge extra aromatisée à l’orange. Les huiles Mas Portell aromatisées aux agrumes broyés peuvent être utilisées dans les salades mais aussi dans les desserts, les chocolats et les glaces.



L’autre fruit du


On la trouve de plus en plus facilement dans les supermarchés. Les surfaces cultivées dans le monde augmentent chaque année de façon surprenante tout comme sa présence sur Google ou dans les pages de la presse écrite. Portée jusqu’aux cimes de la célébrité pour ses propriétés salutaires, la grenade est devenue l’un des nouveaux produits vedette du XXIe siècle. Et

pourtant l’histoire d’amour entre les hommes et

ce fruit est fort ancienne. Certains situent même cette première rencontre dans le Jardin d’Éden où une Ève désobéissante l’arracha de l’arbre interdit. Nous sommes allés visiter la région côtière d’Alicante, qui attire les touristes comme un aimant et est aujourd’hui l’épicentre de la

production européenne de grenades, pour connaître les lettres de noblesse de la variété la plus douce du monde : la grenade Mollar de Elche qui n’est cultivée qu’en Espagne.



la ciudad Elche àa travers través «“Se Onadivina entrevoit la villede d’Elche de las palmeras cubren todoson su les palmiers qui que couvrent toute término.etUno cree, porl’impression un étendue on se a soudain momento, trasladado lasplaines llanuras d’être transporté dans ales dede Siria ooua las orillasdudelDelta. Delta”. Las Syrie au bord » Deux palabras del viajero francés siècles après avoir été écrits,Alexandre ces mots de Laborde sirvenAlexandre de guía incluso du voyageurnos français de dos siglosreflètent despuésencore de serlaescritas, y Laborde réalité et aunquesihoy en día loslesedificios même aujourd’hui constructions salpican irremediablemente émaillent irrémédiablement el le paisaje, paysage, esta ciudad costa mediterránea cette ville dedela lacôte méditerranéenne –pequeño gigante la producción — petit géant de ladeproduction mundial de sigue destilando mondiale degranada– grenade — distille un marcado andalusí. Su Sa toujours son acento fort accent andalou. palmeral, Patrimonio Humanidad palmeraie, patrimoinede delal’Humanité desde ell’an año2000, 2000,évoque nos habla la la depuis pourdenous luchade dell’homme hombrecontre contrales loséléments et lutte elementos, de sutransformer esfuerzo por ses efforts pour un transformar un entorno árido environnement hostile ethostil arideyen une en una tierraLes fértil. Los colonizadores terre fertile. colonisateurs islámicos trajeron a la península musulmans apportèrent à l’Espagne Ibérica sus conocimientos ancestrales leurs connaissances ancestrales de sobre elà oasis, lo système que es lodurable mismo,etun l’oasis, savoiroun sistema sostenible y revolucionario révolutionnaire d’irrigation orienté de regadío orientado aintensive. la horticultura vers l’horticulture Ainsi, intensiva. Y así, gracias al microclima grâce au microclimat doux favorisé par benigno propiciado por il hileras de les rangées de palmiers, fut possible palmeras, árboles de cultiverpudieron des arbrescultivar fruitiers et des frutales inconnues y plantas desconocidas hastale la plantes jusqu’alors dans fecha enchrétien. el mundo cristiano. Entre monde Parmi ceux-ci, la todas ellas, la granada se ganó, desde grenade obtint dès le début les faveurs el principio, el favor del sultán, du sultan ; c’est du moins ce queo al




menos asíIbn lo relata Ibn Said, respetado rapporte Said, chroniqueur cronista de la época: :“Abd al alRahmán I respecté l’époque « Abd plantó semillas extrañas que le habían des semences Rahman Ier planta traído susque embajadores Siria, que étranges lui avaienten rapporté de dieronses curiosos frutos. El Syrie ambassadeurs et monarca qui quedó maravillado ante la hermosura y donnèrent de curieux fruits. Le belleza de la y la par difundió por monarque futgranada émerveillé la beauté todos los confines de la grenade et ende fit al-Andalus”. développer la Este legado encontró en la costa culture sur laárabe totalité du territoire de levantina su»segundo hogar. Aquellos al-Andalus. primeros granados se adaptaron sin Cet héritage arabe trouva sur la côte problemasson al clima cálido del Les levantine deuxième foyer. mediterráneo, al suelo salino y a las premiers grenadiers s’adaptèrent sans escasas precipitaciones de esta parte problèmes au climat chaud de la del globo. Y aunque Méditerranée, au sol con salinelettranscurrir aux de los siglos nadie sabe faibles précipitations de con cettecerteza partie du qué transformaciones genéticas globe. Et bien que personne ne sache propiciaron, cierto es que las dos avec certitudeloquelles transformations variedades actuales campo génétiques elle a pudel subir au filespañol, des la granada valenciana y lalesmollar siècles, il est certain que deux de Elche, solo viven aquí. variétés espagnoles actuelles, la CultivadaValenciana en nuestros días a lo largo y grenade et la grenade ancho del mundo, granada qu’ici. iniciaba Mollar de Elche, nelapoussent su particular historia Asia Cultivée de nos jours en dans le monde occidental varios milenios atrás. Desde entier, la grenade voit son histoire Irán hasta el en norte la India, elil y a commencer Asiedeoccidentale granado fue sembradoDe porl’Iran diversas plusieurs millénaires. au nord civilizaciones, empezando la par de l’Inde, le grenadier a étépor planté egipcia –su fruto aparece representado plusieurs civilisations, à commencer en lalestumba del faraón IV– y par Égyptiens — sonRamsés fruit est seguida porsur la fenicia. représenté la tombeTras du hacerse pharaon fuerte enIVla— península Ibérica bajo Ramsès suivis des Phéniciens.

dominio musulmán, cruzólaelPéninsule charco Après s’être imposée dans hacia América los barcos de los ibérique sous laendomination misioneros españoles que la musulmane, la grenade traversa la mer difundieron junto a sulesfe,bateaux en el estado vers l’Amérique dans des de California. No obstante, missionnaires espagnols quiellaúltimo capítulo de esta está répandirent toutpacífica comme conquista leur foi, dans aún porÉtat escribir. El imperioCependant, de la l’actuel de Californie. granada día sus límites le dernierextiende chapitrecada de cette conquête con diferentes en cada pacifique reste variedades encore à écrire. L’empire continente. Localizamos la más dulce de la grenade sous ses différentes de todass’étend ellas endeeljour Levante español. variétés en jour sur tous les continents. Nous avons trouvé la plus douce d’entre elles dans le Levant espagnol. “Uf, estos árboles llevan aquí desde siempre. Tiras una semilla al suelo y te crece un granado”. Uno solo tiene que vuelta el territorio que «darse Ces una arbres sontpor là depuis toujours. se extiende Elche Albatera, On jette uneentre graine par yterre et il en el sur deunlagrenadier. provincia »deIlAlicante, para pousse suffit de faire certificar esta entre máxima de et la Albatera, sabiduría un petit tour Elche popular Los campos de granados au sud delocal. la province d’Alicante, pour conviven conmaxime otros dede naranjos en un vérifier cette la sagesse horizonte llano que posee, sin populaire. Les champs de grenadiers embargo –emulando la silueta de coexistent avec les champs d’orangers Manhhatan–, skyline de vértigo: el sur un horizonunplat et pourtant de las majestuosas palmeras vertigineux : celui de majestueux centenarias que se intercalan entreentre palmiers centenaires s’intercalant cultivos. Estamos el valle del dans les cultures. Nous en nous trouvons Vinalopó, zona deune vegas y huertas la vallée duuna Vinalopó, région de enmarcada por las del plaines cultivées et tranquilas de vergersaguas encadrés Mediterráneo al este, y por par les eaux tranquilles de lalas

Vergel milenario

Verger millénaire

Méditerranée à l’est et par les montagnes du Système Bétique au nord. C’est de cette région que proviennent la majeure partie des 25 000 tonnes de grenades qui font de l’Espagne le seul producteur européen à grande échelle — dépassé uniquement par l’Iran, l’Inde et le Pakistan. Et comme une bonne partie de la production est destinée au marché international, cette région pèse d’un poids important dans le commerce mondial. Les premiers camions quittèrent la région il y a presque un siècle en direction de Barcelone et de Madrid. Puis vinrent d’autres destinations : Royaume-Uni, France, Pays-Bas, Russie, Malaisie, ce qui porte actuellement la part de l’exportation à 80 % de la production totale. Alors que d’autres fruits résistent difficilement à de si longues traversées, la grenade arrive dans chaque port en parfait état. « C’était l’un des fruits préférés des peuples nomades précisément pour sa surprenante capacité de conservation », dit Andrés Irles, le directeur de la coopérative Cambayas, l’une des plus importantes



de la région. Le secret, fait-il remarquer, c’est de l’arracher de l’arbre au bon moment. « Ni avant, car une fois cueillie la grenade interrompt brusquement son processus de maturation, ni après, car elle court le risque de s’ouvrir. » En termes de calendrier, dans ces latitudes, ce moment précis se situe dans les mois de septembre et d’octobre. De toute façon, il ne s’agit pas d’une récolte unique. Les floraisons successives du grenadier exigent une cueillette échelonnée et donc obligatoirement manuelle et sélective : en l’espace de quatre semaines, on peut passer deux, trois voire quatre fois sur le même arbre pour s’assurer que chaque grenade a atteint son point optimum de maturité. « Mon père a un œil clinique pour décider à quel moment commencer la récolte », dit en souriant Celia Mas pendant que nous nous promenons dans sa petite propriété à l’extérieur d’Elche. Nous avons là un bon exemple du type de culture de la région : une image de ces toutes petites exploitations dépassant rarement une hectare transmises de père en fils au fil des

générations. Après plusieurs décennies passées à vendre sa marchandise aux grandes entreprises de commercialisation locales, Celia a pris la décision de se mettre à son compte et elle vend aujourd’hui directement ses grenades et leur jus — 100 % naturel, souligne-t-elle — par Internet. Son choix de qualité et non pas de quantité a mis le nom de son affaire familiale, Campo de Elche, sur les lèvres de tous les cuisiniers de renom et sur les étagères de certains des marchands de fruits les plus prestigieux de Madrid — Frutas Vázquez, fournisseur de la Maison royale d’Espagne, est l’un d’entre eux. Bien que le grenadier atteigne sa plénitude productive à partir de sa septième année et qu’en théorie son déclin commence à 40 ans, son verger possède des exemplaires centenaires en parfait état de santé, « grâce aux soins que leur dispense mon père », reconnaît fièrement Celia. À plus de 70 ans et retraité, il n’y a pas un seul jour où il ne parcoure la propriété. « Il la connaît comme la paume de sa main. » Le brouhaha provenant d’une exploitation voisine attire notre

attention. Un groupe de journaliers a commencé à cueillir les grenades rouges de la variété Valenciana. Ils m’expliquent que des deux types de grenades cultivées en Espagne, celle-ci est la plus précoce, la première à prendre sa teinte rose et rouge. Le soleil chauffe encore en ce début de septembre mais tous les ouvriers de l’équipe — parents, enfants, cousins et amis — portent des chemises à manches longues. « Qu’il pleuve à verse ou qu’il fasse un soleil d’enfer, cette tenue est indispensable si l’on ne veut pas finir la journée les bras pleins d’éraflures », m’explique l’un d’eux. En fait, le grenadier — pour certains, un petit arbre, pour d’autres un grand arbuste — cache des épines à l’extrémité de ses branches. La grenade partage donc avec le rosier sa nature épineuse et la couleur rouge vif de sa fleur (connue sous le nom de jullanâr, tant de fois célébrée par les poètes arabes et persans). De toute façon, en cette fin de septembre, les fleurs ont fait place aux fruits qui remplissent aujourd’hui les paniers des cueilleurs. Cette première récolte de la grenade Valenciana sert

d’entraînement avant celle plus tardive et aussi plus attendue de la variété Mollar de Elche, souveraine indiscutable de la campagne alicantine.

Les apparences sont trompeuses Habitué au goût de la variété Mollar de Elche, Domingo Arce, le directeur de la coopérative Albafruits, la plus importante de la localité d’Albatera, ne peut réprimer un éclat de rire en évoquant le jour où il goûta pour la première fois une grenade étrangère. « J’ai cru qu’il s’agissait d’un autre fruit, elle était acide comme un citron ! » Certes, les comparaisons sont odieuses, mais on ne peut nier qu’en termes de douceur, la grenade locale évince les autres variétés. Son goût de miel est la marque de la production espagnole, son meilleur atout sur un marché de plus en plus compétitif. À son extraordinaire concentration en sucre, la grenade Mollar de Elche joint une autre qualité gustative : son minuscule pépin tendre et flexible, presque imperceptible au palais, en fait

une variété particulièrement savoureuse. Mais comme pour le raisin, la variété de la grenade n’est que l’un des facteurs qui déterminent la personnalité finale du fruit. Selon la terminologie du vin, cette région alicantine fonctionnerait comme un terroir qui imprime son empreinte unique sur la grenade Mollar de Elche. Comme la vigne, le grenadier survit dans des conditions que peu de plantes supporteraient. Il tolère bien la sècheresse et adore les sols pauvres qui obligent ses racines à s’enfoncer à la recherche de nutriments. C’est pour cette raison qu’il semble avoir trouvé ici son habitat idéal : un terrain complètement plat, au niveau de la mer, voire au-dessous, d’une salinité parfaite. La Méditerranée, à quelques kilomètres des exploitations, sert de tamis et adoucit les températures en empêchant les gelées indésirables qui





Avant la bataille, les soldats babyloniens mastiquaient des grains de grenade convaincus que la force de ce fruit les rendrait invincibles. Hippocrate, qui pratiqua en Grèce le fameux principe selon lequel les aliments sont nos meilleurs médicaments, recommandait déjà à ses patients le jus de grenade pour faire baisser la fièvre ; et pour Dioscoride, célèbre chirurgien de l’armée romaine, il n’y avait pas de meilleur remède contre les flatulences. Au cours des siècles, les guérisseurs de différentes cultures ont prescrit la grenade pour soigner de la conjonctivite aux hémorroïdes, en passant par la pharyngite ou la laryngite. Et ce que l’expérience démontrait dans le passé est aujourd’hui confirmé par l’analyse scientifique. La médecine a prouvé que loin d’être un boniment, les propriétés salutaires de ce fruit sont telles qu’elle est considérée comme un “superaliment” (terme popularisé en 2004 par le nutritionniste canadien Steven Pratt qui nomme ainsi les aliments capables de lutter contre les conséquences des maladies communes). La grenade est ainsi entrée avec les baies ou le thé vert dans l’Olympe des aliments porteurs d’un pouvoir nutritif et antioxydant extraordinaire. Et c’est un scientifique comme Michael Aviram, le médecin connu pour avoir conféré aux tanins du vin leur place actuelle, qui élève la grenade à ce haut rang. Ses recherches à l’Université de Haifa en Israël ont démontré récemment que les polyphénols de la grenade réduisent le taux de cholestérol dans le sang, protégeant les parois artérielles et diminuant ainsi le risque d’infarctus. Ces mêmes polyphénols semblent avoir en outre des propriétés neuroprotectrices, selon les travaux du docteur David Holtzman, chef du service de neurologie de l’école de médecine de l’Université de Washington. Toujours aux États-Unis, l’Université de Madison a publié en 2005 les résultats de plusieurs travaux dans lesquels il était affirmé que l’ingestion régulière de jus de grenade inhibe la croissance et le développement du cancer de la prostate, affirmation confirmée par le docteur Allan Pantuck, urologue du Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center de l’Université de Californie. La liste des effets bénéfiques de la grenade continuerait par ses propriétés œstrogéniques, anti-inflammatoires, antiseptiques et digestives, et tout indique que cette liste est encore incomplète.

pourraient détruire toute une récolte. « La grenade a besoin de l’air humide de la mer, il lui est absolument indispensable », dit-on ici et, à en juger par la taille et le poids des exemplaires que nous contemplons, cette affirmation semble tout à fait justifiée. Et pourtant, nous devons nous méfier des apparences et ne pas prendre la couleur rouge extérieure comme un indicateur de qualité. Aussi étrange que cela puisse paraître, même les grenades les plus mûres de la famille Mollar de Elche ne peuvent se vanter du rouge intense de leur peau. Leur tonalité naturelle oscille plutôt entre les orangés et les rose profonds. Comment savoir alors à quel moment le fruit est à son point optimal ? Pepe Botella, le directeur de la coopérative Copelche de la région d’Elche, nous dévoile les deux indices fondamentaux qui nous permettront de ne pas commettre d’erreur dans notre choix : un contour parfaitement arrondi et un bon rapport taille-poids (preuve irréfutable que la grenade en question est pleine de jus). « Le consommateur d’aujourd’hui commence à apprendre à choisir dans les supermarchés » , dit-il. « Après des années passées à acheter des tomates aussi irréprochables qu’insipides, nous savons que lorsqu’il s’agit de fruits, les apparences sont souvent trompeuses. » Ainsi et bien que la grenade Mollar de Elche n’ait pas précisément obtenu le premier prix de beauté — la coloration de sa peau est plus pâle que celle des autres variétés —, elle offre un spectacle de grains rouges et doux à l’intérieur. C’est son secret le mieux gardé.

Sphérifications naturelles Par les temps qui courent, parler de fruits de saison est pratiquement un mirage. La multiplication de tant de cultures sur les deux hémisphères






M Û R E ,

Il existe des produits qui marquent de leur empreinte l’équipe de rédaction de cette revue. Et la grenade en est un qui évoque pour notre camarade Carlos Tejero des souvenirs d’une grande intensité. Un vécu si émouvant qu’il souhaite aujourd’hui le partager avec vous. Mon grand-père avait une profonde connaissance des proverbes et était aussi un herboriste passionné. Il disait que la racine du grenadier facilitait l’expulsion du ténia, un parasite dont, heureusement, personne n’avait jamais souffert dans ma famille. Mais c’était une personne craintive et il décida de planter un grenadier dans son jardin, convaincu de l’utilité de ce vermifuge Avec le temps, la plante grandit et je n’ai jamais vu que l’on en ait extrait les racines pour quoi que ce soit. C’est un bon signe. Ce dont je me souviens, par contre, c’est que la floraison de cet arbre commençait en mai ou juin. Timidement, certes, en plusieurs semaines, pas comme l’amandier dont les pousses éclatent presque du jour au lendemain. Peu à peu, sortaient de grandes fleurs évasées, d’une couleur intense orangée rouge. Ensuite, dans le calice, apparaissait le fruit, une baie verte qui les semaines suivantes, grandissait en forme de globe. En octobre, le fruit avait atteint sa




maturité et sa peau avait une belle couleur rouge jaune qui dépendait du degré d’ensoleillement (contrairement à ce que l’on pourrait croire, dans la grenade, les grains les plus colorés et donc les plus doux sont ceux qui se trouvent dans la partie du fruit la moins exposée au soleil). Or, par hasard, le grenadier avait été planté entre un néflier et un saule pleureur, des arbres plus hauts et plus feuillus, ainsi les rayons du soleil ne l’importunaient pas. Mon grand-père ne s’occupait pas beaucoup de l’arbre, ce qui — comme je l’ai appris par la suite — provoqua un déséquilibre hydrique au cours de sa croissance qui faisait que les fruits se fendaient à leur maturité, laissant entrevoir leur trésor. C’est à ce momentlà que je les arrachais et les mangeais. J’ai ainsi toujours associé le goût du sucré à une grenade ouverte spontanément. Ce qui ne correspond pas à l’aspect des grenades que l’on trouve de nos jours sur les marchés. Pour des motifs commerciaux bien compréhensibles, les fruits que nous y trouvons sont entiers, avec une peau satinée et lisse. Personne n’achèterait de grenades éclatées. Le verger où se trouvait le grenadier n’existe plus et si je veux acheter des grenades, je dois aller chez un marchand de fruits et légumes. Et là commence la


liturgie car manger une grenade est pour moi un rite qui commence avec le choix. Si je sais que je peux faire confiance au vendeur, je m’en remets à son bon jugement. Si ce n’est pas le cas et que je dois passer par le supermarché, je suis le critère suivant : je n’achète qu’une seule grenade que je consomme le jour même ; un fruit qui doit être grand, avoir une forme parfaite et peser de 200 à 300 g ; la couleur, entre jaune et rouge ; la peau, pas excessivement lisse ; le toucher doit être ferme sans être dur et, comme le melon, la grenade doit présenter un bon rapport volume poids. Avec ces qualités, il est probable qu’en l’ouvrant, nous nous trouvions devant le spectacle d’un fruit sans pareil. Mes émotions culinaires sont limitées et certainement trop élémentaires. Je continue à ressentir du plaisir mais la grande émotion est rarement au rendezvous. L’une des rares occasions, c’est lorsque je me trouve devant une grosse grenade ronde bien mûre. Je m’isole, je me concentre et dans un recueillement quasiment extatique, je me livre à ce culte : Je pose la grenade sur une assiette. Avec un couteau bien effilé, je coupe la partie de la couronne et son opposé en disques de 6 cm de diamètre. Je fais ensuite quatre fentes dans le sens des

Recettes Kiko Moya Introduction Almudena Muyo Traduction Photos de l’introduction Tomás Zarza/ICEX Photos des recettes Toya Legido/ICEX

Restaurant L’Escaleta Si le travail est révélateur de la personnalité, alors celle de Kiko Moya est, comme sa cuisine, précise, cultivée et savoureuse. En appliquant ces principes simples, il a, en coopération avec son cousin Alberto Redrado Calavia, repris les rênes du restaurant de famille L’Escaleta et, dans le respect des règles instaurées par ses

5RECETTES parents, obtenu qu’y brille une étoile Michelin. Cuisinier et sommelier sont d’ardents défenseurs de la cohérence en cuisine : tout ce qui est servi doit avoir un sens. Leurs plats s’appuient donc sur des ingrédients de la plus grande qualité, impeccablement préparés et décorés avec grâce et élégance, et sur la préservation et le renouvellement de goûts légendaires, enracinés dans nos traditions. Un travail méticuleux qui prend la forme de mets d’une originalité réfléchie, équilibrée et souvent surprenante.



Salade de graines de grenade et œufs

de truite, crème glacée au gingembre (Ensalada de semillas de granada y huevas con crema helada de jengibre)

Nombreuses sont les références faites à la grenade et à ses graines ou œufs du Paradis. Nous nous sommes inspirés de cette idée pour imaginer un apéritif froid en utilisant le fruit à son état naturel, simplement accompagné d’huile d’olive vierge extra et d’une glace au gingembre.

POUR 4 PERSONNES 1 grenade ; 1 tomate ; 1 fruit de la passion ; 5 g de graines de basilic déshydratées ; 15 g d’œufs de truite ; huile d’olive vierge extra ; pousses de basilic frais ; cerfeuil ; sel Maldon. Pour la glace au gingembre : 1 l de lait entier ; 250 g de sucre ; 90 g de lait écrémé en poudre ; 60 g de glucose atomisé ; 40 g de sucre inverti ; 10 g de stabilisant neutre ; 200 g de gingembre frais ; 340 g de crème fraîche à 35 % de MG ; 120 g de jaunes d’œuf.

Ouvrir la grenade et en ôter les graines. Procéder de même pour la tomate et le fruit de la passion (2 par personne). Réserver. Faire tremper les graines de basilic en les recouvrant tout simplement d’eau.



Glace au gingembre

Vin recommandé

Mélanger d’un côté les ingrédients solides (sucre, lait en poudre, glucose et stabilisant neutre) et de l’autre les ingrédients liquides (lait entier, sucre inverti, crème et jaunes d’œuf). Mélanger les deux préparations et porter à une température de 85 ºC. Retirer alors du feu et y incorporer le gingembre haché. Laisser macérer pendant au moins 8 heures avec le gingembre, puis introduire la préparation dans la sorbetière.

Un Pedrouzos 2005 magnum (DO Valdeorras) des Bodegas Valdesil. Pedrouzos est le plus ancien vignoble planté de godello de Galice et c’est sur ces terres très ardoiseuses que ce cépage exhibe son caractère le plus jovial. Les notes de fleurs blanches (anis), de fruits à noyaux et de minéraux (surtout de silex) sont en parfaite harmonie avec le caractère balsamique et salé de la préparation (auquel contribuent le basilic et les œufs), l’acidité du gingembre et la douceur de la grenade et de la tomate. Associées à un passage en bouche notable et à une densité plus qu’appréciable, nuancée par de légères notes végétales et une amertume toute passagère qui ne fait que prolonger la sensation en bouche, ces saveurs nous rappellent les salades élaborées à partir des premiers fruits et pousses de printemps.

Presentation Placer les graines au fond d’une assiette, accompagnées des œufs de truite, des pousses de basilic et du cerfeuil. Assaisonner d’huile d’olive vierge extra et, en dernier lieu, placer la glace au gingembre sur le côté de l’assiette.

Temps de préparation 20 minutes

Temps de cuisson 8 heures de repos pour la glace au gingembre

Ventrèche de thon rouge, betterave et grenades (Ventresca de atún rojo de remolacha y granadas)


Nombreuses sont, parmi nos recettes traditionnelles, les salades qui font appel à la grenade comme ingrédient. Outre son indiscutable valeur esthétique et sa texture inégalable, croquante et douce à la fois, ce fruit sert de contrepoids au caractère salé et minéral du plat.

Ventrèche en salaison



250 g de ventrèche de thon rouge ; gros sel ; gingembre frais ; 4 olives Marcidas ; pousses de salade (roquette, betterave et pissenlit) ; 1 grenade ; câpres. Pour la vinaigrette de betterave : 400 g de betterave (200 ml de jus de betterave) ; 40 ml de sauce de soja ; 2 g de xanthène ; 50 ml d’huile d’olive vierge extra.

Sans nettoyer le carré de thon, le recouvrir de gros sel. Le temps de salaison dépend de la grosseur de la pièce. Ainsi, une pièce de 6 cm de



pissenlit) ainsi que les graines de grenade. Assaisonner à l’aide de la vinaigrette de betterave et parsemer d’olives hachées.

Temps de préparation 25 minutes

Temps de cuisson 24 heures pour la salaison de la ventrèche

Vin recommandé

large, 6 cm d’épaisseur et 20 cm de long devra rester recouverte environ 24 heures. Quoi qu’il en soit, je recommande de vérifier la salaison de la pièce jusqu’à ce qu’elle atteigne le degré désiré. Le morceau doit toujours être conservé au froid. Une fois le point de salaison atteint, nettoyer la pièce en enlevant la peau et la chair qui a été en contact direct avec le sel. Envelopper de papier film et conserver dans la chambre froide.

Vinaigrette de betterave Nettoyer la betterave et la passer au mixeur. Ajouter au jus obtenu (200 ml)

la sauce de soja et le xanthène, en évitant les grumeaux. Enfin, ajouter l’huile sans mélanger. Découper la ventrèche en tranches d’environ 3 ou 4 mm et les disposer sur une plaque. Recouvrir de vinaigrette de betterave et saupoudrer d’un peu de gingembre râpé. Oter les graines de la grenade et hacher les olives. Réserver.

Présentation Placer en premier lieu sur l’assiette les tranches de ventrèche (3 ou 4 par personne). Ajouter par-dessus les pousses de salade (roquette, betterave et

Un Manzanilla Pasada Pastrana (DO Xérès, Manzanilla – Sanlúcar de Barrameda) des Bodegas Hidalgo – La Gitana. Après une étape de vieillissement contrôlée, ce manzanilla passe encore par une autre phase de quelques années, que l’on pourrait appeler de semi-oxydation. Le processus total de vieillissement peut s’étaler sur 12 ans. C’est cette durée qui lui donne son caractère pointu et complexe et développe ses arômes prononcés de fruits secs, sans pour autant lui faire perdre la fraîcheur et la salinité typiques de ces vins. La finesse, la salinité, la puissance, mais aussi la douceur d’un manzanilla se marient parfaitement à cette salade où dominent le caractère salé de la ventrèche et terreux de la betterave, sans oublier, bien entendu, la douceur de la grenade et l’acidité amère de la vinaigrette et des pousses de salade, qui viennent équilibrer la palette des saveurs.





Lait d’amandes,

coton de roses et grenades (Leche de almendras, algodón de rosas y granadas)

La texture et le goût de la grenade jouent un rôle essentiel dans ce dessert. Ici, l’association florale composée par le miel, les amandes et la rose est magnifiée par les petites explosions en bouche des graines de grenade, à la fois acides et sucrées.

POUR 4 PERSONNES 1 grenade Pour le lait d’amandes : 500 ml d’eau ; 600 g d’amandes Marcona ; 100 g de miel ; 25 g de sucre.

Gel de roses

Vin recommandé

Mélanger les deux liquides et le xanthène avec le sucre. Pour éviter la formation de grumeaux, utiliser le Thurmix. Il est important d’ôter tout l’air du gel produit. Pour ce faire, introduire la préparation dans un emballeur sous vide. Réaliser une brunoise à l’aide des pétales de rose et l’incorporer au liquide entièrement gélifié.

Ce dessert est dominé par des touches florales avec de légères nuances de fruits rouges. Son élément principal est un lait d’amandes, ce qui nous a fait choisir un Nadal 1510 vendanges tardives (2000) (DO Penedès) des Bodegas Nadal Cava. Ce vin blanc doux, élaboré à partir du cépage macabeo et vendangé après l’apparition de la pourriture noble (Botrytis cinerea), est affiné de façon équilibrée dans des fûts en chêne. Sa faible acidité, son côté sucré légèrement plus prononcé que celui du dessert, son caractère nettement floral, ses douces touches de miel et de litchi et ses petites touches balsamiques dues au botrytis font de ce vin un accompagnement idéal du lait d’amandes. Associé à la grenade, ses notes finales de fleurs d’oranger et d’agrumes nous rappellent le touron d’Alicante.

Coton de roses

2 g de xanthène.

Dans une machine à barbe à papa, introduire le sucre. Une fois le coton formé, ajouter la poussière déshydratée des pétales de rose.

Pour le coton de roses : 100 g de sucre ;


Pour le gel de roses : 1 rose entière ; 100 g d’eau de roses ; 100 g d’eau ; 20 g de sucre ;

8 pétales de rose déshydratés.

Prélever les graines de grenade et les réserver.

Lait d’amandes Mixer les amandes et l’eau et laisser le tout reposer pendant 12 heures. Liquéfier le mélange en le passant 3 fois au mixeur jusqu’à ce que la pulpe soit sèche. Réserver une partie (environ 200 g) du lait pour préparer une poudre glacée dans un petit bac de Pacojet. Ajouter le miel et le sucre au reste du lait (1 l).

Placer au fond de l’assiette les graines de grenade, le gel de roses et pardessus la poudre glacée. Terminer la présentation avec le coton de roses. Verser en dernier lieu le lait d’amandes qui fera immédiatement fondre le coton et la poudre glacée.

Temps de préparation 25 minutes

Temps de cuisson 24 heures pour le lait d’amandes



Grenades au muscat, confit

d’agrumes et glace à l’eucalyptus (Granadas con moscatel, cítricos confitados y helado de eucalipto) Nous avons ici essayé de tirer le meilleur parti d’un classique en l’associant à un excellent muscat qui apportera au plat ses notes balsamiques et d’agrumes confits.

POUR 4 PERSONNES 1 grenade ; 2 feuilles de verveine citronnelle ; fleurs de saison ; 2 petits cubes d’arrop i tallaetes de 5 x 5 mm (gâteau à base de citrouille et de jus de figue). Pour le gel de muscat : 500 ml de muscat Casta Diva Cosecha Miel (Bodegas Gutiérrez de la Vega) ; 5 g de xanthène. Pour la confiture d’agrumes : 1 orange ; 1 citron ; 1 l d’eau ; 1 kg de sucre. Pour la glace à l’eucalyptus : 1 l de lait entier ; 250 g de sucre ; 90 g de lait déshydraté en poudre ; 60 g de glucose atomisé ; 40 g de sucre inverti ; 10 g de stabilisant neutre ; 80 g de feuilles d’eucalyptus ; 340 g de crème fraîche à 35 % de MG ; 120 g de jaunes d’œuf.

Ôter les graines de grenade et découper l’arrop i tallaetes en dés.

Gel de muscat Ajouter le xanthène au muscat et mélanger jusqu’à l’obtention d’une préparation homogène et dépourvue de grumeaux. Cette émulsion fera apparaître des bulles, en raison de l’air contenu dans le gélifiant. Pour ce plat, nous voulons éviter la présence d’air et nous devrons donc l’extraire. Introduire le mélange dans un bol et mettre sous vide. Il est utile d’avoir terminé cette étape 12 heures avant l’utilisation du mélange, ce qui laisse au xanthène le temps de gonfler et facilite l’extraction de l’air.



Confiture d’agrumes Blanchir à trois reprises les agrumes et les recouvrir d’un sirop fait à partir d’eau et de sucre. Laisser confire pendant au moins 24 heures. Une fois cette période de temps écoulée, égoutter les fruits et les découper en dés.

Glace à l’eucalyptus Mélanger d’un côté les ingrédients solides (lait en poudre, sucre, glucose atomisé et stabilisant) et, de l’autre, les liquides (lait entier, sucre inverti, crème et jaunes d’œuf). Mélanger les deux préparations et les placer sur le feu pour qu’elles atteignent 85 ºC.

Retirer du feu et incorporer les feuilles d’eucalyptus. Laisser macérer l’infusion pendant 12 heures, filtrer et réserver.

Temps de cuisson


Un Casta Diva Cosecha Miel 2005 (DO Alicante) des Bodegas Gutiérrez de la Vega. Rien de plus facile que de trouver un vin pour accompagner ce plat dont le muscat est l’élément principal, les autres ingrédients se contentant d’égrener, bouchée après bouchée, toutes les nuances que nous retrouverons ensuite en verre.

Incorporer les graines de grenade au gel de muscat. Ajouter petit à petit les fleurs (à l’automne, jasmin, romarin et capucine, par exemple), la confiture d’agrumes et les feuilles de verveine citronnelle en julienne. Enfin, déposer une quenelle de glace à l’eucalyptus sur le tout.

Temps de préparation 25 minutes

24 heures pour la confiture d’agrumes

Vin recommandé

Sparkling wine has for years been associated with popping corks, wild celebrations and the high life, but in the Catalan wine-producing region of Penedès (northeast Spain), the preferred daily beverage at mealtimes or as a simple aperitif to accompany tapas is always the local produce. With the area now producing sparkling wines of higher caliber than ever before, and with export sales of around 120 million bottles a year, Cava is not just the wine of choice for the inhabitants of Catalonia, it is also a delight to be enjoyed by those looking to bring a little everyday effervescence to their table, all the world over.

Text Ian Cowley/©ICEX Photos Toya Legido/©ICEX

Cava and Gastronomy





el máswith prolongado del Cava. mercado. Desde down some local aquí se nos recomienda degustar sus a At Gramona in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, vinos todo deout platos bodegacon that hastipo stood overcatalanes many yyears mediterráneos general. for makingen Cavas withEsta some of empresa, que lleva más de 125 años the longest aging on the market, they dedicada a la producción de vinos de recommend trying their wines with a calidad, nació de la unión de José wide rangeque of cuisine, Gramona, proveníadrawing de una from familia Catalonia and la thevid Mediterranean as a que cultivaba y tenía un taller whole. A producer of fine wines de carpintería, y Esperanza Batlle,for more thande125 years, the company heredera la bodega Celler Batlle. Desde entonces, se the puede decir came about due to union of José que esta bodega siendo Gramona, whosesigue family grew una grapes empresa conworkshop, una visiónand and ran afamiliar, carpentry intencionadamente tradicional Esperanza Batlle, heiress to the del Celler cava: siguen usando un tapón de Batlle winery. It remains very much a corcho histórico en el envejecimiento, family firm and is committedly cuando los demás fabricantes se han traditional in its corona, approach toejemplo. Cavas: for pasado al tapón por example, they still use a cork Gramona Imperial es un cava stopper elegante, during all others de 3 a 4aging, años, while que presenta unhave perfume manzanas, gone overtransparente to the crowndecap system. galleta, especias, flores y un sugerente Gramona Imperial is an elegant Cava aroma marino. Acompaña aged between three to four years, perfectamente a frutos secos y frutasof which offers a transparent perfume pasas, fruta fresca y platos ligeros, apple, biscuits, spices, flowers and a como el rape o una delicada ensalada suggestive sea breeze. It can de langostinos y cigala. accompany dried nuts, fresh Por otra parte, losfruit tonosand tostados de su fruit, or light dishes such as monkfish magnífico y galardonado Gramona III or a delicate and crayfish Lustros, que langoustine se vende bajo pedido y es uno de los nature de mayor edad del salad.

mercado, es the mástoasted apropiado platos Meanwhile, tonespara of their más consistentes. La carne de venado magnificent award-winning Gramona en Lustros—which una salsa de castañas asadas, III is sold in advance huevos escalfados con butifarra blanca and is one of the longest-aged nature (Spain Gourmetour, n.º 21) y ralladuras on the market—is suited to richer de trufa negra son acompañamientos food. Venison in a roast chestnut ideales para este cava. Las chuletas de sauce, eggs with potato foam corderopoached o la pularda rellena de setas y trufas son otras sugerencias de platos or butifarra blanca (a type of Catalan que pueden ir perfectamente la and sausage, Spain Gourmetour No.de77) mano con la joya de Gramona, que black truffle shavings make perfect ha sido recientemente elegida uno de accompaniments. Lamb chops or los 10 primeros vinos de España por poularde (hen)revista stuffedWine withEnthusiast mushrooms la prestigiosa and truffles further ideas to (número de are septiembre de 2009). accompany Gramona’s jewel in the crown, which has recently been chosen as one of Spain’s top 10 wines by the prestigious American Wine Enthusiast magazine (September 2009 issue). Además de los productos locales, no está de más fijarse en el resto del territorio español para encontrar nuevas armonizaciones ideales para el cava. En La Rioja, una zona famosa por sus tintos, Jorgeproduce, Muga Palacín In addition to local it is well de Bodegas Muga me cuenta que en worth looking outside the region to algunos momentos de la historia en la find some great Cava matches in theque región se cultivaba más uva blanca rest of Spanish cuisine too. In La Rioja, negra. La producción de cava se limita a lasfor zonas altas de la aactualmente region famous red wine, Jorge

Productos nacionales e internacionales

National and international fare

región,Palacín dondeatlasBodegas vides maduran másme Muga Muga tells lentamente y resulta másindifícil that in certain moments history, the elaborar tranquilos. Muga grapes area was vinos producing more white elabora un delicioso brut nature than red ones. Cava production is los años en los que el frío no permite currently limited to the higher land in que la uva madure completamente. the region, where the grapes mature Jorge recomienda acompañar su cava less easily, making still ywines morede la con las sabrosas frutas verduras difficultdel to Ebro, produce. makes a Ribera una Muga zona que abarca delightful brut nature in the years parte de Navarra, La Rioja y Aragón, when coldelspells grape siguiendo cursoprevent del río the Ebro, y que se conoce comoto“laitshuerta de España”. from maturing full extent. Las más osadas, como Jorgecombinaciones recommends accompanying his los espárragos blancos de la zona, Cava with the delicious fruit and muy apreciados, unaRibera ensalada tomate vegetables ofo the delde Ebro, the maduro, son ideales para paladear con land situated alongside the banks of el cava. También me cuenta que este the Ebro River covering espumoso armoniza bienparts con of las Navarre, La Rioja and Aragón also peras al vino y otras delicias culinarias know as la huerta de España (the españolas como las torrijas, el pastel garden of Spain). “Daring” ruso o los hojaldres. Si salimos de las regiones combinations such as the vitivinícolas much-prized más consolidadas de España, local white asparagus or a ripeentomato Valencia (este de España) no solía salad go beautifully with Cava. He also encontrarse cava, pero desde hace tells me his Cava goes well with unos años la Comunidad de Valencia poached pears in wine or with other ha ganado relevancia gracias a la typically Spanish sweet treats such as bodega Dominio de la Vega (Spain torrijas (sweetn.º milk-soaked breadelabora Gourmetour, 21). La bodega fritters), pastel ruso (almond-based dos brut nature sublimes, con un cake) and hojaldres (puff pastries). toque de chardonnay. Gracias a los tonos seductores, transparentes, Moving outside some of the more



Restaurante La Gañanía

Introduction Almudena Muyo/©ICEX Translation Fotos introducción Jenny McDonald/©ICEX Tomás Zarza/©ICEX Photos, introduction Fotos recetas TomásLegido/©ICEX Zarza/©ICEX Toya Photos, recipes Toya Legido/©ICEX

Restaurante La Gañanía Camino del Durazno, 71 71 38400 de la38400 Cruz Puerto Puerto de la Cruz, (Tenerife) Tel.: (+34) 922 371 000

RECIPES The cuisine offered en bylaPedro Rodríguez one of simplesutil, flavors subtle Basada aparentemente simpleza de saboresDios y enisuna sofisticación Pedroand Rodríguez sophistication, based onmoderna, the sound foundationsde ofgran tradition and Canary Island produce. Dios practica una cocina evolucionada, dificultad, que surge a partir de las Named best chef de cuisine in the Canary Islands in 2007, Rodríguez Dios is known for raíces tradicionales y se levanta sobre el pilar inamovible de los productos canarios. Considerado his mastery culinary techniques and hisdeversatility, displayed at hisderestaurant como uno deoflos cocineros más destacados las Islas Canarias, pornot suonly dominio la técnica La Gañanía, but also in his writing. He is co-author of Cocina de Canarias. La evolución y su versatilidad, se ha hecho merecedor del premio al mejor jefe de cocina de Canarias en 2007. (Canary Islandhacer Cuisine. Evolution), in which shares hisLapassion forsino updating patisserie Todo su saber no solo lo despliega en el he restaurante Gañanía, que también lo in the Canaries. In Maridajes Canarios, armonía entre platos y vinos (Canary Island Matching, plasma en su labor literaria: como coautor del libro Cocina de Canarias. La evolución, donde se Harmony Between and Wine) he makes originalensuggestions marrying foods refleja su pasión por laFood modernidad y el perfeccionamiento la repostería for canaria; en Maridajes with some of theentre greatplatos Canary wines, Canarias.y La tradiciónpropuestas (Canary canarios. Armonía y vinos, obraand parainla Cocina que creadeoriginales sugerentes Island Cuisine.con Tradition), he vinos focuses on traditional Canary cuisine, with nos the para armonizar los grandes canarios; y en Cocina de Canarias. La“treating tradición,itdonde respect it deserves”. works in his “nuestra restaurant withcanaria a young all skilled manifiesta sus raíces, Pedro como dice el autor, cocina de team, siempre, tratada in conthe el essential techniques. Here, the restaurant’ s sommelier, Yurima Torres Martín, recommends respeto que nuestra cultura culinaria se merece”. Pedro dirige un equipo joven, donde la técnica wines to partner our selection es una herramienta básica. Cuentaofenrecipes. su restaurante con Yurima Torres Martín, su sumiller, que es la responsable de la armonización de los platos que nos propone.



In the midst of a dusty plain, as close to true desert as anything comes in Spain, the valley of the river Ebro (northeast Spain) is as lush and green as the landscape around it is alarmingly barren. If ever there were a paradise for vegetables, it’s the 200 km (656 mi) stretch of Spain’s second longest river (after the Tagus) lying between the regional capitals of Logroño (La Rioja) and Zaragoza (Aragón). The fertility of the Ribera del Ebro—and its abundance of fresh water for irrigation—is prodigious and legendary. Almost everything worth growing is successfully cultivated here, but the local asparagus, artichoke, and peppers (especially the famous pimiento de piquillo de Lodosa, little triangular slightly hot red peppers, Spain Gourmetour No. 76) are particularly esteemed. Agriculture in this part of the world is closely linked with another industry whose fame has spread far and wide. The Ebro’s canning companies, which specialize in bottling and canning vegetables for use throughout the year, developed out of the local tradition of preserving food products at home. Sometimes there is only a fine line between domestic custom and commercial production, as Evaristo Jimenez knows better than anyone. Twenty-three years ago Evaristo was bottling tomatoes and peppers in the garage of his home in Andosilla, Navarre (northern Spain). Now he and his family run one of the most innovative and successful of the region’s many canning companies, if not one of the largest, and those tomatoes and peppers (to mention just

(Sorbete de mango con yogur de cabra, virutas de almendra palmera y pimientas del mundo)


Mango sorbet and goats’ milk yogurt with Palma island almond flakes and multicolored pepper We feel this dish represents the essence of the Canaries, with its fusion of peppery, balsamic, sweet and dairy flavors. The Canary Island of La Palma produces excellent almonds, heresold as two of a vast product range) are enhanced fleur selJapan. from the far afield asbythe USde and island’ s Fuencaliente saltworks (Spain The small town of Andosilla is situated Gourmetour No. 76). The Canaries are just 3 km (9.8 mi) from the river, at Spain’s largest producer of goats’ milk, the heart of the Ebro’s horticultural making it an excellent representative of universe. The community itself the islands’ gastronomy and thehas perfect little to recommend beside a pretty co-star of this dish. church, a couple of restaurants serving SERVES 4 home-cooked vegetable dishes such as For the mango sorbet: 500 g / 1 lb 2 oz ripe menestra navarra (boiled and sautéed mangoes, peeled; 60 g / 2 oz inverted sugar; vegetables) and bacalao al ajoarriero 20 ml / 4 tsp lemon juice. (salt cod cooked with garlic, extra For the goats’ milk yogurt foam: 500 g / 1 virgin olive oil and egg), and the warm lb 2 oz goats’ milk yogurt; 100 ml / 1/2 cup and hospitable, almost Mediterranean cream; 75 g / 1/3 cup sugar. character of its inhabitants. Its one For the Palma almond flakes: genuine claimisland to fame is the quality of 8 Palma Island almonds, coarsely grated. the local vegetables and, in For the multicolored pepper oil: of its consequence, the excellence 30 g / 2 tbspIn ground Jamaica, pink, preserves. 1950Sichuan, there were no less white and black pepper; 100 ml / 1/2 cup than 14 canning companies in sunflower oil. Andosilla alone, and if this number is Others: 4 shootstolemon fleur de sel now reduced five, balm; vegetable from the Fuencaliente saltworks. preserving still represents a sizeable activity for a country town with a population of just 2,700 souls. From the beginning, Conservas Rosara was destined to be different from other companies. Where the majority, hitherto, were content to stick with traditional products—tinned asparagus, bottled artichoke hearts, and so on—and a traditional client

base, Evaristo planned on another way of doing things. “From the start it was clear in his mind that he would do something different,” says Evaristo’s son Saúl, who, along with his father and sister Sara, make up the management team at Conservas Mango sorbet Rosara. “He saw that we had an Blend the mango withupthe inverted opportunity to come with a sugar and lemon juice. Pour into a product based on careful selection of sorbet maker and freeze. raw materials, but gradually orientating business towards a Goats’ milkthe yogurt foam gourmet market.” Mix the goats’ milk yogurt with the Saúl a dark-complexioned creamis and sugar and transferyoung to a siphon. Attach the cartridge and chill. man of solid country build, dressed in black and wearing thin-framed Multicolored pepper designer glasses. After oil studying Add all the different types of ground marketing in Madrid he returned to pepper to the sunflower oil, stir and Andosilla, where he still lives, set aside. preferring the pace and peace of rural To serve life over the frenzy of the city. His On one side of a rectangular sister Sara studied financial dish place some yogurt foam top withofthe management at theand University Palma Island almond flakes little Deusto in Bilbao, then cameand backa to fleur de sel. On the other side of the work in the family business. dish place the mango sorbet with the It is a busy morning in late September: lemon balm shoots and a little pepper seasonpepper is underway multicolored oil. and the factory has just received a delivery of Preparation time piquillo peppers. Saúl shows me the 50 minutes wooden crates overflowing with the small, conical, scarlet-skinned Recommended wine peppers. These were2006 grown by Abona), his Testamento Esencia (DO uncle, one ofCooperativa Rosara’s 400Cumbres suppliers,de by Sociedad Abona. wine has a who hasThis been100% their Malvasía main piquillo very pleasant color, aromas of supplier sincegolden day one. In due course cooked fruit and very good structure, they will be roasted in the factory’s making an oven, excellent for splendiditold firedpartner with beech stone fruits, such as mango, enhanced wood from the forests of northern here by the milky, toasty notes of the Navarre. Emerging from the oven they almonds. The ideal serving are transferred to a machine of the temperature is 9-11ºC (48-51ºF). family’s own invention whereby the pepper is destalked, then peeled and cleaned, all without coming into







Mango, papaya, citrus fruits and orange blossom honey (Mango, papaya, cítricos y miel de azahar) A 100% fruit dessert suggesting the aromas of some of the wines made in the volcanic parts of the Canary Islands, especially on Lanzarote, possibly one of the world’s most beautiful vine-growing landscapes.

SERVES 4 For the papaya soup: 400 g / 14 oz papaya, peeled; 150 ml / 2/3 cups orange juice. For the orange blossom honey jelly: 100 g / 3 1/2 oz orange blossom honey (PDO Miel de Granada); 100 g / 3 1/2 oz water; 2 g / 1/9 oz agar agar. For the mandarin granita: 800 g / 1 3/4 lb mandarins. Others: 8 slices mango; orange zest;

Mandarin granita Grate the mandarin peel, then squeeze the mandarins and collect the juice. Place both peel and juice in a Pacojet container and freeze for about twelve hours.

Mango slices Peel as many mangoes as needed and slice finely in the electric slicer. Serve 2 slices per person.

To serve Pour the papaya soup into the serving bowls. Top with the mango slices and top those with the mandarin granita. Finish with the flowers, passion fruit seeds, orange zest, kumquat and orange blossom honey jelly.

kumquat; passion fruit seeds; flowers:

Preparation time

nasturtiums, pansies, marigolds, dianthus

30 minutes


Papaya soup Blend the papaya with the orange juice until smooth.

Orange blossom honey jelly Add the honey to the water and bring to a boil. Add the agar agar. Transfer to a 1/2 cm / 1/4 in high mold and leave to set.

Recommended wine Monje Moscatel 2004 (DO TacoronteAcentejo), by Bodegas Monje. This is a 100% Muscatel wine, straw-yellow in color. Its powerful, elegant nose and very fresh citrus notes in the mouth give a touch of sharpness in combination with a pleasant but not excessive sweetness. All these characteristics set off the varied citrus flavors in the dish. The ideal serving temperature is 9-11ºC (48-51ºF).





Crémeux of Flor de Guía cheese with a rosemary honey veil and micro-basil (Cremoso de queso de flor de Guía, con velo de miel de romero y micro albahacas) Flor de Guía cheese (from Grand Canary Island, Spain Gourmetour No. 74) is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious of Canary cheeses. Made from raw sheeps’, cows’ and goats’ milk, and using plant rennet, its slight bitterness contrasts well with the rosemary honey, spice and apple. This crémeux is a very versatile dish that can be served as a dessert, a predessert or even a starter.

SERVES 4 For the Flor de Guía cheese crémeux: 200 g / 7 oz Flor de Guía cheese; 50 ml /

Serve the cheese crémeux onto 4 dishes and top with the rosemary honey veil. Decorate with the microbasil leaves, diced apple, fleur de sel and spice bread.

Preparation time

For the rosemary honey veil: 300 g / 10 1/2

12 hours 30 minutes

water; gelatin sheets. Others: leaves of lemon, anise, cinnamon and purple micro-basil; diced cooking apple; Fuencaliente fleur de sel, spice bread.

Flor de Guía cheese crémeux Heat the cream with the Flor de Guía cheese in a Thermomix until they are completely blended. Add the gelatin after first soaking it in cold water. Refrigerate the mixture for about 12 hours, then beat as if beating cream.


To serve

4 tbsp cream; 1 sheet gelatin.

oz rosemary honey (PDO Miel de La Alcarria);


Rosemary honey veil Reduce the rosemary honey over medium heat until it begins to foam. Remove and add water to reach 650 g / 1 lb 7 oz. Add the gelatin after first soaking it in cold water. Pour onto shallow flat molds to form strong, thin veils (one per person).

Cooking time 15 minutes

Recommended wine Contiempo Baboso Negro Tinto de postre 2008 (DO Valle del Güímar), by Bodegas Arca de Vitis. This purplishred wine is persistent in the mouth, fruity and balanced, so it marries very well with cheese, especially with aged and semi-aged cheese, and with a wide range of spices.


Over a Hot Stove

They came late to the professional culinary

world, but on the domestic front women have been heirs to and conveyors of gastronomic knowledge and culture for generations. Until

fairly recently, that was their main

contribution to cuisine. But today a number of Spanish women chefs are showing what they can do at the helm of their own

restaurants. Whether traditional, classic or decidedly modern, they are receiving recognition, good reviews and even the much

sought-after Michelin stars. But things have

not been easy, and women still appear in the media much less than their male colleagues,

with one exception. Carme Ruscalleda is the only female chef in the world to hold five

Michelin stars. We will be telling their story in two installments, adopting for practical purposes a geographical dividing line: the

Atlantic and the Mediterranean sides of Spain.

In this first article we attempt to clarify the role played by women in cuisine today.



The kitchen has always been female territory, at least on a domestic level. Cooking in Spain cannot be imagined without the quiet, profound influence of women. The teachings of grandmothers, mothers and aunts represent an invaluable heritage stemming from traditions passed on over a hot stove. Women are the backbone of cooking. It is impossible to conceive of modern gastronomy without the essential contribution made in the background by hundreds of women who, over the centuries, have kept culinary traditions and methods alive that would otherwise have fallen into oblivion. Perhaps everything began back in the Neolithic period with primitive, basic cooking–quite the opposite of how we see it today–because there were no pleasurable, playful aspects involved. It was just a matter of subsistence, of survival. But then came seasoning, testing and experimentation. Cooking implements became more sophisticated and imagination was put to the test. Through soups, stews, roasts, and herbs, cuisine began to put down roots, and thousands of years later it is a witness to ways of living and feeling. And women today have inherited a culture that is still valid and has helped form the basis of culinary artistry in the 21st century. Without their contributions, Basque and Catalonian cuisine would have been impossible. And the richness of Spanish regional cuisines would have been unimaginable without the



recipes recorded by Emilia Pardo Bazán (1851-1921, a Galician writer and essayist), the Marquise of Parabere (1879-1949, pseudonym of María Mestayer Jacer, under which she wrote her Historia de la Gastronomía, considered one of the bibles of culinary science), and the Sección Femenina (a women’s association founded in 1933 which disappeared with the arrival of democracy) and its very practical manual on Spanish regional cuisine. These are our ancestors, even the very conservative Sección Femenina which, under the aegis of the Franco dictatorship (1939-1975) and based on the doctrine of the Catholic church, championed women’s roles as wives and mothers. Many opinions have been expressed along these lines. The late Catalonian gastronome and writer Nestor Luján, who was one of the fathers of food writing in Spain, wrote as follows: “I could almost say I’ve visited thousands of restaurants, and have had the good fortune of getting to know women’s cuisine in its most discrete and gracious terms (…); and while I’m excited about new creations, felicitous inventions, daring combinations of flavors, I also love conservative cuisine that links up with both tradition and perfection.” But two centuries before, Grimod de la Reynière, the famous French gourmet who lived between 1750 and 1830, stated categorically, “Women’s cuisine is simply THE cuisine, true cuisine. It’s both real and the first!”

But there’s no need to go back so far in history. At the end of January this year, during the talk he gave at the 6th international Madrid Fusión International Gastronomy Summit, the Italian chef Fulvio Pierangelini, from Gambero Rosso (two Michelin stars), stated that he found it particularly gratifying that the critics should have defined his cooking as feminine because of the pleasing aesthetic of his dishes. This chef and professor from the University of Parma stated, “Women have natural, ancestral tastes which are missing in men.” If we start out with the premise that, from a cultural and social point of view, home cooking has been the preserve of women, then crossing the threshold from the private to the public scene, to professional cooking, has been very difficult. Still today, they continue in the minority in Spanish restaurants and perhaps even throughout the world. Their numbers are rising but, when we talk about chefs, mentions of women are few and far between. There are, of course, many reasons for this difference (never-ending working hours, very few days off, the need for constant, time-consuming training, etc.), all of which make reconciling this profession with family life very complicated. And, in addition to the perseverance and sacrifices inherent in this career, it cannot be denied that extra courage is needed to penetrate certain circles in which a macho or even misogynistic approach often prevails. Just a few





Elena Arzak (Spain Gourmetour No. 53) is the daughter of Juan Mari Arzak, whose restaurant has held three Michelin stars since 1989. She belongs to a family of chefs and a generation that has been able to receive thorough training. She studied in Switzerland, then carried out internships in Lucerne, London, Paris, Italy and Spain, always learning alongside the best European chefs and, obviously, from her father. In 1994, after several years away, she returned to the family restaurant in which her mother, Maite, responsible for the administration, is also one of the mainstays. In fact, this famous Basque restaurant is almost completely




E L E N A A R Z A K , J U A N M A R I A R Z A K

female territory: women account for 80% of the kitchen and 100% of the restaurant. She is multilingual and a perfectionist and has enjoyed cooking since she was a child, when she remembers making truffles and cleaning squid. Today, at 38 and with two small children, she prefers not to travel, so she shares the responsibility for creating and finishing dishes with Juan Mari, to the extent that customers are unable to tell which of the two did what. Together they work on new ideas in the restaurant’s research kitchen. “We use many novel techniques and ingredients, but the emphasis is always

on taste. Technique is important, but it’s just a means to an end.” Father and daughter agree on most things but, she says, “Sometimes my father is a bit too daring. I like to take risks but I’m more cautious.” This duo can be expected to continue working together for many years because Arzak is always full of ideas, but Elena is destined to ensure continuity at the restaurant, a gastronomic emblem in Spain and worldwide.

Elena Arzak

A T L A N T I C ELENA ARZAK Arzak Alcalde José Elosegui, 273 20015 San Sebastián (Basque Country) Tel.: 943 278 465 SERI BERMEJO Mesón de la Villa Calle La Sal, 3 09400 Aranda de Duero (Burgos) Tel.: 947 501 025 MANICHA BERMÚDEZ La Taberna de Rotilio Avda. del Puerto, 7-9 36960 Sanxenxo (Pontevedra) Tel.: 986 720 200

S P A I N ANA GAGO Casa Pardo Novoa Santos, 15 15006 La Coruña Tel.: 981 287 178

ATXEN JIMÉNEZ Restaurante Túbal Plaza de Navarra, 4 Tafalla (Navarre) Tel.: 948 700 852

PASTORA GARCÍA Fogón Retiro da Costiña Avda. de Santiago, 121 5840 Santa Comba (La Coruña) Tel.: 981 880 244

MARISA SÁNCHEZ Restaurante Echaurren Padre José García, 19 26280 Ezcaray (La Rioja) Tel.: 941 354 047

JULIA, MARI and MANOLI HARTZA Hartza Juan de Labriz, 19 31001 Pamplona (Navarre) Tel.: 948 224 568 PILAR IDOATE Europa Espoz y Mina, 11 3002 Pamplona (Navarre) Tel.: 948 221 800

TOÑI VICENTE Toñi Vicente Rosalía de Castro, 24 15706 Santiago de Compostela (La Coruña) Tel.: 981 594 100



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