Gramona: Cava and Still Wines in Penedès

Gramona: Cava and Still Wines in Penedès

The last winery we visit in Spain is Gramona in Sant’ Sadurni d’Anoia, the capital of cava in which 93% of all cava is produced. DO Cava is allowed to be produced in many regions all over Spain, but most of the cava comes from Penedès. Gramona is a family business that has made cava … Continue reading

Dining in Spain: El Celler de Can Roca*** (2016)

Dining in Spain: El Celler de Can Roca*** (2016)

El Celler de Can Roca is the restaurant in Girona (Spain) of three Catalan brothers: Joan (chef and inventor of sous-vide cooking), Jordi (pastry chef), and Josep (sommelier). It is difficult to get a reservation. You can only make a reservation online. On October 1st at midnight (Spanish time) the month of September next year will … Continue reading

Valdesil: benchmark Godello and Mencía from Valdeorras

Valdesil: benchmark Godello and Mencía from Valdeorras

Our discovery of Spanish wines continues in the denominación de origen Valdeorras, a bit more inland but still influenced by the Atlantic. The climate is between Atlantic and Mediterranean with significant vintage variation. Wet vintages such as 2014 are called “atlantic”, dry vintages such as 2015 “mediterranean”. Because this is a cool climate, the best vineyards … Continue reading

Wines of Rias Baixas

Wines of Rias Baixas

Rias Baixas is a wine region in the north-western corner of Spain in the autonomous region of Galicia, north of Portugal. The rias are inlets of the Atlantic that are a bit like shallow fjords. Rias Baixas, which should be pronounced as “ree-ass-by-shuss”, is best known for delicate, aromatic whites of the albariño grape (which in Portugal … Continue reading

Nivarius: Rare White Wines from Rioja

Nivarius: Rare White Wines from Rioja

The first winery we visited in Rioja is a very new one: Nivarius. The first vintage produced was only in 2012. It is unique in Rioja because it is the first and only winery in Rioja that only produces white wine. This is possible because of the unique terroir after which the winery was named, … Continue reading

Wines of Rioja

Wines of Rioja

Rioja is the oldest and most famous wine production area of Spain. It has been famous for centuries, and in 1991 it was the first (and for quite some time the only) production area with the highest rank in Spanish wine law: Denominación de Origen Calificada (Qualified Denomination of Origin). Rioja is known for its oak-aged … Continue reading

Dining in Spain: Azurmendi***

Dining in Spain: Azurmendi***

Azurmendi is a restaurant in a futuristic building by the freeway near Bilbao in the Basque country in Spain. The restaurant of chef Eneko Atxa has three Michelin stars and ranks highly on the World’s 50 best restaurants and Opinionated about dining. As we were visiting the Basque country, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity … Continue reading

Moscatel from Navarra: Bodegas Camilo Castilla

Moscatel from Navarra: Bodegas Camilo Castilla

The Spanish wine region of Navarra is famous for its moscatel de grano menudo, and the benchmark producer of moscatel is Bodegas de Camilo Castilla in the town of Corella. Navarra is on the northeast of Rioja in the North of Spain, with a climate that is influenced by both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. … Continue reading

Date, Oat Bran, and Quark Muffins

Date, Oat Bran, and Quark Muffins

I’ve been baking oat bran quark muffins for breakfast regularly, either with blueberries, or poppy seeds and almonds, as a high fiber, high protein, low fat, low sugar start of my day. (They happen to be gluten free too, but that is only relevant if you are allergic to gluten.) There is no butter, flour, … Continue reading

Linguine with Sole and Lemon Zest

Linguine with Sole and Lemon Zest

This elegant pasta dish can be prepared in the time it takes to cook the pasta. Succulent pieces of sole fillet (I actually used plaice, schol in Dutch) are tossed with linguine pasta in a simple sauce of white wine, lemon zest, parsley, extra virgin olive oil and butter. It is important not to overcook the … Continue reading

Blackberry Rose Water Sorbet

Blackberry Rose Water Sorbet

Rosenmuskateller is a rare dessert wine from Alto Adige/Südtirol, the German speaking north-east of Italy. It is made from the rare grape of the same name, related to other muscat grapes but with the distinctive quality that it smells of roses! I thought it would be great to pair this with a dessert that includes … Continue reading

Duck with Cherries and Port Sauce

Duck with Cherries and Port Sauce

For my friend Jelmer’s birthday I cooked dinner for him with a bottle of vintage port from his year of birth (1989). This meant I had to come up with a dish that would work well with vintage port. Unlike tawny port, vintage port is like regular red wine in that you should finish the bottle … Continue reading

Hummus

Hummus

Hummus, also spelled as houmous, is a middle eastern dip made from cooked chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt. Chickpeas are high in protein and hummus is great when used as a dip for raw vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, or celery. Hummus is easy to make … Continue reading

Quark Cake with Cherries (Kwarktaart met Kersen)

Quark Cake with Cherries (Kwarktaart met Kersen)

Summer has finally started (not just on the calendar but also the weather) and that means that cakes for which you don’t have to turn on the oven are the preferred solution for dessert. Although this recipe is tagged “baking”, it doesn’t require any actual baking. Kwarktaart is a typical Dutch kind of cake: a … Continue reading

Thai Style Fish Mousse and Napa Cabbage

Thai Style Fish Mousse and Napa Cabbage

This is not an authentic Thai dish, but my own creation that was heavily inspired by Thai cuisine. Plaice (Dutch: schol) is a flatfish that is very common in the Netherlands. I had some rawit (Thai red chillis), galangal, and limes in my refrigerator and I decided to use them to create this dish. The … Continue reading

Pork Chops in Piquant Sauce

Pork Chops in Piquant Sauce

The best pork chops are those that are marbled with fat, as the fat provides flavor and prevents the chops from drying out. For this recipe I used some pork chops from iberico pig, the same Spanish pork that is used to make the famous jamón. The best part of this recipe is the piquant … Continue reading

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Spaghetti alla Carbonara is one of our favorite dishes that I make often because it is such great comfort food: filling and full of flavor. If you are a long time follower of this blog with a good memory, you may remember that I already posted a recipe for carbonara over four years ago. I … Continue reading

Roasted Beets, Mackerel, Balsamic

Roasted Beets, Mackerel, Balsamic

The best dishes are those that use only a few ingredients. In this case: beets, mackerel, and balsamic vinegar (plus salt, pepper, and olive oil). It is a versatile dish: you could serve it lukewarm or at room temperature as a salad for lunch, or in a smaller portion as an appetizer, or as a … Continue reading

Fresh Cod alla Vicentina with Polenta

Fresh Cod alla Vicentina with Polenta

Bacalà alla Vicentina is a famous dish from the North Italian city of Vicenza, prepared with dried cod. The cod is cooked low and slow and flavored with onions, anchovies, parsley, milk, extra virgin olive oil, and grated cheese (grana padana or parmigiano reggiano). This is one of the exceptions where cheese is actually paired … Continue reading

Venison with Turnips and Peas

Venison with Turnips and Peas

This recipe is all about the turnips, small purple turnips that we get in spring and are called “meiraapjes” in Dutch. They look very pretty with their nice purple color, which unfortunately will be gone once you have peeled them. These turnips do not only look like radishes, but also the flavor is like radishes … Continue reading