In case you were wondering which monuments will and won’t be open – and when – during the upcoming long four-day long weekend, here ya go. Thanks to Turismo de Sevilla @sevillaciudad for the info.
Up until recently the Christmas lights in Sevilla were turned on the night of the Inmaculada (December 8th) and turned off again for the season on the day of Los Reyes Magos (January 6th). I think it was about three years ago that the city council moved the date up to the last day of November because, at that time, there was a massive convention going on in town and apparently they wanted to create a festive atmosphere for the visitors. Since then the end of November has become the new “official” start of the Christmas season, moving it up about ten days, and each year more and more streets are being lit up.
I personally love the lights (well, except for the gaudy pink & purple display along Constitución) but I’m also glad to have a relatively short Christmas season here compared to the US, Canada and the UK. Makes it feel more special.
Last week I was invited to a special wine tasting of the new 2013 Colonias de Galeón at Flores Jamones y Vinos. A young wine (50% CabFranc, 30% Syrah, 20% Tempranillo) it was still punchy at 13.5% alc/vol, but was also fresh and light, making it easy to pair with the delicious selection of tapas we were offered from the menu at Flores Gourmet.
Colonias de Galeón is a young winery, started in 1998 by Sevillanos Julián Navarro and Elena Viguera. Their vineyards are situated in the Sierra Norte de Sevilla and the vines are grown naturally, without pesticides. It’s a family affair and you can find Julian and Elena (and sample their wines) at the organic market held the second Saturday of every month in the Alameda. You can also enjoy their wines in over 50 tapas bars and restaurants in Sevilla. Federico Flores is the sole distributor.
Starting today (until January 6th) you can rent skates and take a few turns around the curiously named “pista hielo ecológica”. I’m not sure what’s so “ecological” about a massive stretch (264 square metres) of petroleum-based fake ice, but there you go. The kids looked like they were having a great time. Also in the curiously named Plaza Mayor you’ll find some market stalls selling crafts, a churros stand and a kiddie train ride.
Open 11 am – 11 pm
Price: 6 € for approx 30-40 minutes
3 € for the train ride
I am very excited to have been invited to tonight’s Finos Palmas tasting event in Sevilla, which will also be live-streaming in Madrid, Barcelona and Jerez, starting at 19.00 Spanish time. This is the third year that Gonzalez Byass has done the limited edition Palmas bottlings and, like their Tío Pepe en Rama, these wines have become very trendy. As they are bottled direct from the cask, with no filtering or refining, this means that the wine is best drunk within six months.
Initiallly destined for Tío Pepe these specially chosen casks were judged to have potential for extra ageing. Finos Palmas casks are marked with a vertical chalk line and the number of “palm branches” proportional to its age. These elegant old finos have been selected cask by cask by Gonzalez Byass winemaker and master blender Antonio Flores in collaboration with Master of Wine Sarah Jane Evans.
Fino Una Palma is an evolved fino with six years of biological ageing under a still active covering of flor. From a solera of 142 casks only three casks (numbers 1, 9 and 11) have been selected.
Fino Dos Palmas has been ageing over eight years in contact with a thinner layer of active flor on the surface. From the solera of 150 casks, only two (numbers 7 and 26) show this distinctive feature.
Fino Tres Palmas comes from a single cask (number 30) out of a 150 casks solera, and after ageing for 10 years still preserves traces of live flor that continue to permeate the wine.
Fino Cuarto Palmas is the jewel of the Solera Museo, containing just six casks (this year only number 3 was chosen). It is an extraordinary and very limited edition 45-year-old amontillado.
An introduction to Finos Palmas by winemaker-poet Antonio Flores
Guest Post by Susan Nadathur
November 22 commemorates the arrival of the first Romani people to Andalusia and celebrates their contributions to the culture that now defines the area. The Romani, including the Spanish Gypsies, are descendants of the ancient warrior classes of Northern India who trekked westwards around AD1000. Their migration took them through Persia and Armenia into Europe and later America. Their earliest presence in Spain is noted in Zaragoza (Aragon) from 1425 and in Barcelona (Catalonia) from 1447. They arrived in Andalusia in the year 1462, where they were well received and given both food and shelter.
In return, the Gypsies who stayed in the area have contributed much to Andalusian culture, including flamenco music, styles of clothing, and food traditions. Gypsy cuisine reflects a nomadic way of life, and includes wild plants, fish, and game that could be taken opportunistically. In modern society, Romani cooking mirrors the country and culture the Gypsies live in, and has been adapted to the types of foods that are readily available. While researching my novel City of Sorrows, I lived for extended periods of time with a Gypsy family in Seville. During that time, I was treated to several delicious feasts. The food was always hearty and was reflective of what this family’s ancestors ate in the Gypsy camps in days gone by. Here’s a picture of what one of those feasts looked like.
Historically, the main meal was prepared in a large iron pot and left to cook gently all day while the Gypsies went about their activities. This was typically a stew or soup containing whatever meat and vegetables were available on a given day. Recipes have survived through the centuries, frequently undergoing intervention and interpretation to meet the tastes of a particular time. Very few recipes were ever written down; most were handed down verbally through generations. Today, as modern life encroaches on the traditional Romani ways, the old traditions are disappearing rapidly. Convenience foods, modern cooking tools, and appliances have ousted the old cooking methods and traditional recipes, although some are still made for special occasions. One meal that has survived and appears on the table of most Spanish Gypsy families is the Gypsy Stew. Below is a modified recipe for this popular dish.
This is an update of a blog post I wrote a couple of years ago.
Finding good non-touristy tapas bars that are open on Sunday and Monday can be a bit of a challenge in Sevilla. Many of the best family-run places are closed on these days, though some will open for Sunday lunch (1 – 4pm). This is something I always point out to my Sevilla Tapas Tour clients, and so I thought it would be helpful to also post a short list here of my favourite places to eat out on those “difficult days”.
I’ve tried to cover a few different barrios (neighbourhoods) but for some reason the Arenal is a bit of a dead zone on those two days, so I’m giving “honourable mentions” to three bars that are open at least part of the time over Sunday and Monday.
Remember that tapas bars usually close between 4 – 8 pm, or if they stay open all day their kitchen will probably be closed then. Also, some places close for summer holidays during either July or August, so call ahead those months. It’s also a good idea to call and see if you can book a table on Sundays, which tend to get very busy with families going out for lunch, or else get to the bar right when they open (usually 1pm for lunch, 8pm for dinner).
Barrio Santa Cruz
Vineria San Telmo
Paseo Catalina de Ribera, 4
Tel. 954 410 600
Santa Teresa 2
Tel.954 213 069
Modesto (restaurant not tapas bar)
Cano y Cueto, 5
Tel. 954 416 811
Plaza Venerables 1
Tel. 954 228 483
La Azotea Santa Cruz
Mateos Gago 8
Tel. 955 116 748
(all day kitchen)
Tel. 954 229 556
Open Sunday 1-4 pm, closed Monday
Tel. 954 213 049
Open Sunday 1-4 pm, open all day Monday
Garcia de Vinuesa 11
Tel. 954 22 12 42
Closed Sunday, open Monday
Tel. 955 425 337
Alameda de Hércules 76
Tel. 954 900 591
La Parrilla del Badulaque
Alameda de Hércules, 37
Tel. 954 91 55 24
Arte y Sabor
Alameda de Hércules 85
Tel. 954 372 897 / 695 288 450
(all day kitchen)
Organised by the Regulatory Council of the Denomination of Origin Wines of Jerez and Manzanilla, the first Tapas & Sherry “gastronomic tour” of Sevilla is taking place from today until the 17th of November. 62 select bars in the centre of Sevilla are participating and each establishment has selected its top tapa along with the best sherry to pair with it: fino, manzanilla, oloroso, amontillado, cream or Pedro Ximénez.
You can vote for your favourite bar and sherry pairing at www.tapayjerez.com and also become eligible to win a sherry tasting kit. At the end of the voting period the 20 bars with the most votes will be officially certified CRDDO Sherry and Manzanilla and will be featured in a soon-to-be-published gastronomic guide.
Here is a list of bars (below). As I make my way through the list (with the help of my friend Seville Concierge) I’ll mark them in blue and include my rating from one to five stars *****.
A last minute decision found me in Jerez earlier this week to attend the 5th Copa Jerez (Sherry Cup), an international bi-annual competition that aims to demonstrate sherry’s tremendous versatility as a wine to pair with food. It’s organized by the Regulatory Council of the D.O. Jerez-Xérès-Sherry and Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and during the international final chef and sommelier teams compete to create the perfect sherry and food pairing. This year the Danish team from Clou won the coveted prize.
For me it was also an opportunity to meet up with old friends and sample exquisite sherries from 15 select bodegas, along with fabulous jamón Ibérica de bellota and Andalusian cheeses. It also whetted my interest to finish my own sherry education in order to be able to start my Introduction to Sherry tapas tours.
Fiesta de Jamón Ibérico de Bellota
Need I say more…?
Well okay, you also get two glasses of fino with each 15€ plate of 5 Jotas jamón ordered (which is a great price even without the free wine) and if you check in on either 4-Square or Yelp during the fiesta you’ll receive a 375 ml. bottle of Osborne fino. See you there!