Taller Andaluz de Cocina

Taller Andaluz de Cocina (Andalusian School of Cooking) is the creation of three young food professionals, José Manuel, María and chef Victor, who opened the school seven months ago. I’d already met the team, and had been meaning to take the class, so when I received an invitation the other day I jumped at the chance.

taller andaluz 12 junio 2015 (1)María, José Manuel, Victor

The school is a new purpose built facility inside the Triana market, fully equipped with all the necessary modern appliances, and spotlessly clean, and with ample space for up to 16 students to enjoy a hands-on learning experience. Its location in a historic market gives both a connection to the traditions of Andalusian cooking and a ready supply of fresh ingredients.

taller andaluz 12 junio 2015 (2)sangría o’clock!

taller andaluz 12 junio 2015 (6) hands-on cooking experience

After meeting our classmates to be (English, German and American visitors), we started with a half-hour tour of the market with María, who took us to some of the stalls selling traditional Spanish produce, including jamones, cheeses, olives and cooking essentials like top quality tomatoes and other veggies, and explained what we were seeing. Along the way María also picked up the fresh ingredients for our class.

taller andaluz 12 junio 2015 (4)Victor showing us how its done

Then it was time to cook, under the capable supervision of Victor, who conducted his demonstrations in excellent English. For this class we were preparing three very typical Spanish dishes – Salmorejo, one of the traditional cold soups of Andalucía, Spinach with Chickpeas, flavoured with cumin, and an authentic Valencian paella.

taller andaluz 12 junio 2015 (3)blending the salmorejo

taller andaluz 12 junio 2015 (7)preparing espinacas con garbanzos

taller andaluz 12 junio 2015 (5)starting the all-important sofrito for the paella

I like to think of myself as an above-average home cook, but I did learn some interesting tidbits of information. I knew already that a paella is actually the wide flat pan that the rice is cooked in, and that a “seafood paella” is technically not a paella – which is properly a country dish made from chicken and/or rabbit, though most people are not too precious about the terminology. And Victor confirmed that adding chorizo to paella is an absolute no-no.

taller andaluz june 12 2015

But new for me was learning how to make a proper sofrito, a basic ingredient in many Spanish dishes consisting primarily of onions and peppers sautéed in olive oil, along with tomatoes and garlic (added at the end). The sofrito we made that day was much more layered and flavourful than others I’d made before. I also learned a few new cooking tips, including one for chopping up onions really small and how to easily separate the bones of chicken legs and wings, part of which consists in having a super sharp knife but you also have to know where to cut. Oh, and once the rice goes into the paella nobody, but nobody, touches it until it’s done.

taller andaluz 12 junio 2015 (8)paella perfection

Best of all, once the cooking was finished, we got to eat the fruits of our labours (along with a nice glass of wine), and I have to say that the results were delicious. The paella was a revelation, much the best I’ve ever had, and the salmorejo and spinach were top notch too. For dessert Victor whipped up a fabulous lemon sorbet and cava drink which was a light and delicious way to end our meal.

taller andaluz 12 junio 2015 (10)

Many thanks to our hosts José Manuel, María and Victor. This was not only fun way to spend a Saturday morning, it was also a great learning experience which I heartily recommend to anyone interested in cooking, including total beginners. Check out their website for the different classes offered.

Taller Andaluz de Cocina
Mercado de Abastos Triana 75-77
Tel: +34 672 162 621

Entrechuelos Wine Tasting at La Revuelta

entrechuelos cata (1)La Revuelta opened earlier this year as a kind of all purpose cultural drop-in centre with books, art and events, especially food and wine events, and that was why I was there recently – for one of their “off the beaten track” wine tastings, this one featuring a small winery, Entrechuelos, run by Miguel Domecq, a member of the renowned Pedro Domecq sherry family. Miguel presented each wine like a proud father and I always find this kind of personal connection helps people relate better to what they’re tasting.

The Entrechuelos winery opened in 2008 on the Cortijo de Torrecera (the central farm of a grape growing estate), an area long used for vineyards, named for an 11th century Moorish watchtower built on the top of a hill overlooking the surrounding land. Although the winery is not far from Jerez, the wines produced there are not sherries, but table wines of the Tierra de Cadiz.

entrechuelos cata (2)We sampled four of these, starting with a young Chardonnay, which proved light and refreshing, slightly sweet with a good, fruity taste. This was followed by two red wines blended from Syrah, Merlot, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, the first called Roble 2012, aged for six months in French oak, the second a Tercer Año 2011, aged for a year. The contrast between the two was surprising. The first failed to impress, but the extra six months of ageing of the second produced a pleasantly full-bodied and quite complex wine with a deep colour that I thoroughly enjoyed. The fourth was the Alhocen Personal Selection 2010, a slightly different blend of the same four grapes, also aged for 12 months to make a nice fruity red wine.

Check the La Revuelta Website for information about upcoming events and activities.

La Revuelta
Siete Revueltas, 33
Tel 954 21 08 06
Open: 10.00 – 14.00 / 17.00 – 20.00
Closed Sunday

La Revuelta – Art & Fun

la revuelta

La Revuelta is Sevilla’s newest multi-functional cultural space. Part art gallery, part bookshop, and venue for wine tastings, literary and cultural events, courses and workshops and much more, it’s the brainchild of local writer, journalist and wine expert Javier Compás. The space is bright, open and welcoming with exposed brick walls and high ceilings. It also has kitchen facilities.

If you live in Sevilla you can become a member for 12€ a month and take advantage of discounts and first options for limited-space events. For visitors it’s a unique spot to check out for books, art and wines. Just off the Plaza del Pan in the first “vuelta” of the serpentine calle Siete Revueltas.

la revuelta collage

La Revuelta
Siete Revueltas, 33
Tel 954 21 08 06
Open: 10.00 – 14.00 / 17.00 – 20.00
Closed Sunday
Website: Redvuelta.com

Chef & Company

chef co (1)

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The other day I spent a lovely afternoon at Chef & Company, a new culinary school started up by Carmen de Lara last December. Carmen has lived abroad for many years, a large part of that time in Portugal, and has recently returned to her native Sevilla. The concept of Chef & Company is a simple one: to create a comfortable and relaxed environment in which to teach people how to enjoy making food. It’s a lovely ambiance, like walking into someone’s home, first passing through the cosy living room and then into the cheerful well-equipped kitchen.

chef co (4)

a real hands on cooking class

I love how relaxed and “Julia Child” Carmen is in the kitchen, easily chatting and pouring wine while preparing dishes. We enjoyed a special “St Patrick’s Day” lunch, which included pumpkin, turnip and portobello soup with Guinness bread, Irish beef pot pie, and apple crumble with ice cream for dessert. As this was a media event for food journalists and bloggers some of the food had been previously prepared, but we all had a chance to get involved.

chef co (2)
Chef & Company classes and workshops are limited to 12 people and last approximately four hours. Custom cooking classes are also available, as are private dinners, and can be given in Spanish, Portuguese and English. I had a great time and look forward to trying some other classes in future.

Chef & Company
Jesús de la Vera-Cruz 27
Tel 697 118 252

Málaga | Laboratoria de Sabores

laboratorio de sabores
While I was out on a Soho Graffiti Tour with my friend Victor @welovemalaga during my recent Málaga Getaway, we turned a corner and Victor suddenly said, “you have to come and meet these people!”. Clearly we had stumbled upon a cooking class in session but co-owners Luís and Amparo were happy to take turns showing me around and telling me all about the Laboratoria de Sabores (the Flavour Lab). It is primarily a space where students learn the art of Mediterranean cooking in a relaxed and very “hands on” environment. Amparo is clearly passionate about keeping the old-style cooking alive and showed me several examples of not only dishes “on the verge of culinary extinction” but also of once-popular food items that are seldom used these days. Her mission is to keep these traditional recipes alive, and from what we saw being prepared by the students that morning, it is indeed a worthy mission.

Aside from offering a variety of cooking classes (beginners, fusion, vegetarian, cooking for singles, cooking for couples, kids classes…), the Lab can also be booked by others to use for their own classes, wine tastings, or private dinners. It’s a lovely and bright space, and Luís and Amparo are clearly in love with what they are doing. Do check them out if you’re spending some time in Málaga and would like to learn more about Mediterranean cooking. Week-long gastronomic holidays can also be arranged, including accommodation.

Laboratoria de Sabores
Duquesa de Parcent 6
tel 951 391 487 / 634 552 625
Laboratoria de Sabores Website

Telva Cooking Classes at La Raza

Yesterday evening I was invited to an inauguration class given by the Telva Cooking School that was being hosted at the Hostería del Prado. We were a group of press, photographers and bloggers who were also all foodies at heart. During the hands-on participation class we were shown how to make a three-course meal consisting of: crispy seed crackers with aubergine pâté, breaded turkey breast rolls filled with smoked cheeses and served with dried fruit compote and raisin sauce, and a light bizcocho and cream for dessert. All of which were delicious, but I was personally partial to the oatmeal crackers with sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds.

And we all got an apron to take home too!

The classes are to become a regular feature at the Hostería del Prado. Check with Marta Galán for details:

Grupo Hostelero La Raza
Tel. 954 232 024

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Panepanna Rice Workshop

Anna Mayer (centre) hosts a variety of cooking classes at her home in Sevilla. The one I attended yesterday was all about rice and featured three dishes: supplì, pilaf and risotto. Her classes are totally “hands on”, very informative and relaxed. Attendees not only get to sample their dishes at the lunch that follows the class, but there is also enough left over for them to take home in plastic containers provided by Anna. Below you can see how much fun everyone had  at yesterday’s workshop (click to enlarge)…

Aside from themed classes featuring a particular food item, meal course or cuisine, Anna also gives Spanish cooking classes to visitors and expats … you can choose whether you would like your class in English, Spanish or Italian. You can find more information about Anna’s classes on her Lions and Pancakes blog and also follow her on Twitter as Panepanna.