While I'm ironing out some wrinkles that are (surprise, surprise) slowing down my timetable for opening Contigo, I thought I'd point you to some interesting recent articles on Spanish food and wine. Access to some articles may require subscription.
Today, the Wall Street Journal profiles Spanish winemakers who are breaking the gender barrier. I learned that over half of the 198 wineries in one of my favorite Spanish wine regions, Rías Baixas [REE-ez BUY-shez] in Gallicia, are run by women. Awesome! The list includes most of my favorites — Martin Codax, Condes de Albarei, Santiago Ruiz, and Valmiñor. If you haven't had one of the affordable (usually $15-$20) aromatic Rías Baixas whites made from the albariño grape, you've been missing out. The citrusy, almondy wines are my go-to choice for seafood, especially scallops and octopus.
A couple of Spanish (Catalonian, actually) men, on the other hand, are having a very public cat fight. Read the BBC article about the Clash of the Culinary Titans, Ferran Adrià vs. Santi Santamaría. Since May, two of Spain's four Michelin 3-star chefs, Adrìa of the avante-garde-techno-emotional El Bulli and Santamaría of the more traditional Can Fabes, have been throwing metaphorical tomatoes at one another. Santamaría has labeled Adrìa's reliance on chemical stabilizers and gelling agents at El Bulli "pretentious" and a "public health issue."
What's my take? While I personally rely on more traditional methods in my cooking, I believe there's room for both styles. Then again, if you ever catch me using methyl cellulose or sodium alginate, slap me. Please.
If you'd rather watch a real tomato fight, check out Der Spiegel's slide show of last year's La Tomatina, the annual tomato wars in the tiny town of Buñol, near Valencia. In a tradition dating back 60 years, residents and tourists throw 300,000 pounds of tomatoes at one another for one hour every August. This year, the food fight will take place on August 27th. Book your tickets now!