Spanish Presents

As there have been several celebrations for Spanish cuisine over the past month, I have used thise them as an opportunity to spread the love when it comes down to getting the perfect gift for friends and family. Spanish ingredients such as pimenton de la vera (paprika) and saffron are welcome additions to any home cook’s pantry. A good bottle of Spanish wine will compliment any great meal.

As far as old wines go, a bottle of Spanish wine from an older vintage (say 1970 – 1990) will cost you significantly less now to buy than say an Italian, French or Californian counterpart. Just compare the price of an old Barolo, Bordeaux or Burgundy to an old Rioja. You will be surprised at the discount. Recently, in celebration of my friend Jay’s birthday, I opened a wine from Bierzo from 1970. The bottle, from Palacios de Arganza, was spectacular, youthful, fresh, and full of yummy harmony. It had an intense aroma, elegant and complex. As part two of my present, I brought a haul in from Murray’s cheese shop, a selection of Spanish winners. For dinner Dr. L. made two types of lasagna, both of which we just could not stop eating. There was no room left for the cheese, but this is the report I received later:

herb:

Last night I demolished that cabrales. Tonight, I tore up that Arteserena di Serena. Both nights, I used the tortas to accompany.

The Cabrales was PERfectly ripe. Inhaled it. And that Arteserena di Serena is some crazy good *&%$#@. I enjoyed/appreciated it on the first taste, but, as you work through it, it’s extraordinary stuff. The texture is awesome and the thistle pungent flavor with the sheep’s milk is way stronger than one might imagine (in a good way). Maybe it’s for the advanced palate, but dang me that action is delicious.

Thanks again for a smashing birthday gift, senor.

If you wish to receive similar praise when purchasing a present for a foodie, just follow suit. And just wait until the jamon iberico passes thru customs!