Our first wine dinner for the year was another international one.This time a trip to Spain. This took a bit of research as my prior knowledge of Spanish food was quite limited. Spanish food, it turns out is a real mix of things. The Moors introduced a lot of food styles and ingredients and when Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand staked Christopher Columbus’s expedition to the Americas, a whole new chapter was opened in the book of food. So many food products made their way across the Atlantic to Europe over the ensuing centuries. Tomatoes, potatoes, chocolate, vanilla, chillies(which then went further east to Asia), sweet potatoes, pineapples, passionfruit and so much more. Another big shift was the enforcment of Christianity on the nation. Thankfully a lot of the Jewish and Moorish cuisines were easily adaptable to pork.

It was quite difficult to decide what to include in the menu as there was so much delicious food to choose from. We ended up doing a selection of four canapes that are also tapas items and for an entree we did a selection of four tapas items that really needed cutlery with them.

Our evening started as usual with canapes which were served with the classic Spanish party drink, Sangria. Our canapes were a shot of gazpacho, albondigas de bacalao(codballs), grilled chorizo and pinchos(little croutons with an asparagus and almond topping).

The tapas plate consisted of gambas al ajillo(garlic prawns spiced with chilli), croquetas de anguila (smoked eel croquette with a tomato relish), tartalitas de pimiento(a tartlet of roasted capsicum topped with jamon) and Tortilla Espagnole(Spanish omelette) . For this course we had a Bodegas La Cana Albarinho 2012 from Rias Baixas in the north west of Spain.

Garlic prawns, Capsicum tarlet with jamon, eel croqutte, Spanish omelette
Garlic prawns, Capsicum tarlet with jamon, eel croquette, Spanish omelette

Our main was a tender slow cooked lamb rump that had been marinated in garlic, paprika, smoky paprika, extra virgin olive oil, a touch of sherry vinegar, thyme and rosemary. This was served along side escalivada(grilled mixed vegetables) and the spicy patatas brava. We finished this with a Pedro Ximenez jus. The wine for this was a delicious from Torres Ibericos Rioja 2010 from Rioja in the north of Spain .

Slow roasted lamb rump, escalivada, patatas brava, Pedro Ximenez jus
Slow roasted lamb rump, escalivada, patatas brava, Pedro Ximenez jus

Of course we always have a mystery wine game which this time was a Bodegas Castano Molino Loco Monastrell 2012 from the Yecla region, in the south east of Spain.

Dessert was Crema Catalana and churros with chocolate sauce. The chocolate sauce was infused with vanilla, chilli and orange.Just a little chilli to give a little heat but not too much. This was served with a Valdespino Yellow Label Pedro Ximenez from Jerez in the south west of Spain.

Crema Catalana, churros with chocolate
Crema Catalana, churros with chocolate

This event was held in the auditorium as we had 120 guests. Entertainment was also put on for the night, flamenco dancers and a guitarist. Quite an experience to talk with the big speakers behind you.

Another great evening, and I had the best compliment as a guest who  is of Spanish heritage thought an outside chef had come in for the night. But no just the team and I.

Thanks for dropping by.