One of my favorites, Ortiz tuna, on a shelf in Peppercorn in Bouler
Several weeks ago during a visit to see my family in Colorado, I decided to try to follow the trail of Spanish products found in Denver restaurants from their source on the other side of the Atlantic. The article proved to be much more involved than I ever imagined, and opened a wealth of other ideas relating to how food gets from point A to point B and how the products that are shipped from one place to another are even found in the first place. I think that the most fascinating thing to consider is how it would feel for a farmer from a tiny town in Andalucia to know that their olives are being served with gusto on a table in Boulder, Colorado, and particularly the other way round.
Here is just a taste of what I discovered.
I just spent a long weekend in Cádiz, a charming city in the south of Spain, founded by Hercules incidentally and thought to be the oldest in Europe. It is one of my favorite places in Andalucía and in Spain in general. Nice people, wonderful ruins and charming plazas, great food, lots of fried fish, sherry and beautiful beaches. I took about a million photos of the food which will be popping up in posts little by little. I thought it best to start chronologically, however, with breakfast.
We had heard that the churros in Cadíz were thinner than in other places in Spain, and since E is a venerated Madrid-born expert on all things churros, I ventured up the street from the hotel with directions from a couple of complementary elderly gentlemen to the famous Cadíz freidura (fry-shop), Las Flores. Connected to a cafeteria-style restaurant, in the morning this fry counter is all about churros, while in the early afternoon it is where people from all over the city come to pick up an assortment of the delicious and typically fried fish and mollusks that has made this establishment famous. It is fried fish to-go in its most wonderful form.
a cuarto of churros
The churros here were indeed thin, and made in crisp, golden loops of fried dough, which are then cut into strips. They are ordered by weight and so, unsure of how much we needed for two people, the helpful churrero suggested I get a cuarto, which I took to mean a quarter kilo. The whole order cost 1.80 Euros. Needless to say I couldn't believe that there were plenty of individuals at the bar ordering medio for themselves. Despite the fact that they were probably the best I had ever tried, we could only get through about half of the cuarto of incredible crisp and toasted treats. My recommendation is that they are best eaten dunked in coffee and then dipped in a bit of sugar while looking at the Atlantic Ocean.
Freidura Las Flores
C/ Brasil, S/N
11009 Cadiz, Spain
956 289 378
Last summer I was generously invited to sit on the jury of the annual Idiazabal Cheese competition held in the Navarran town of Uharte Arakil. I had met some of these wonderful cheese-loving folks in the Spring, while researching an article on this incredible and traditional cheese which is artisinally made from Latxa sheeps' milk (I never can decide where that apostrophe goes) on the Guipuzcoan side of this cheese-making region. Most particularly, it was the enthusiasm, kindness and delightful charm of the President of the Designation of Origin Queso Idiazabal, Jose María Ustarroz, that made it all such a wonderful experience (and, of course, my cheese-loving cousin K and friend J who drove me around during both adventures). I am incredibly excited as I've just been invited to again become a Rural Juror in this summer's event.