Madrid Fusion 2018

Madrid Fusión is an international gastronomy fair aimed particularly at chefs, but also at other industry professionals. As well as the main exhibition area, the highlights are the cooking demonstrations and master classes, wine tastings and competitions, and seminars on a wide range of topics from new cooking techniques to environmental issues.

This year’s event is the 15th edition and runs from the 22nd – 24th of January, and is extra special for Sevilla because the City Council and Tourism Board is promoting the city and its tapas, including a Tapas Jam Session “show cooking” on the opening day. This fabulous video features the four bars taking part in this presentation and I am so proud to be able to say that they are not only four of my favourite bars, chefs, owners and teams, but they are also my friends. I’d love to be there to cheer them on, but I have a previous work obligation so will be there in spirit instead.

The featured bars are: La Azotea (chef Santiago González) Cañabota (chef Marcos Nieto), El Gallinero de Sandra (chef & co-owner Nacho Dargallo) and Lalola Taberna (chef & owner Javier Abascal).

Watch the video – it’s gorgeous.

Andalucía Sabor 2017

Andalucia Sabor is the Fine Food and Wine Fair of Andalucia, held every two years and showcasing the best of the produce and cuisine of the region. It’s an opportunity for producers to exhibit their wares, and to meet with chefs, food industry professionals and interested members of the general public. As well as the multitude of exhibitors’ stands there are also show cookings and discussions, and opportunities for networking among attendees.

The venue for the 6th (2017) exhibition was, as always, the impressive Fibes Palacio de Congresos in Sevilla Este, with the main exhibition room, two smaller exhibition rooms and the Auditorium housing the Fair.

This was actually the fourth time I’ve attended, and the range and quantity of products this year was, I think, the most impressive so far, and I was able to meet and talk to a number of exhibitors, including some old friends, as well as sampling some of the goodies.

The staples of Andalucian cuisine were all well represented, of course. The two smaller exhibition rooms housed respectively quality olive oils, a market sector that seems to be always expanding and diversifying, and wines and sherries, which also seems to be creating new brands and flavours, as well as the tried and tested old favourites. Also well represented were the regions cheeses, in a bewildering variety that included several I was unfamiliar with, and pork products – not only our very special jamones, but some more unusual ones too (I came home with a jar of lomo de cabeza al orza after sampling a few bites at one of the stands). Other stands featured artesenal bread, jams, and our famous cold soups.

I also try to make a point of going to a couple of the show cookings in the auditorium, though this time, with more than enough to see in the main exhibition, I only saw two – one on the rices of the Guadalquivir, the other a culinary tour of Granada, which at least gives you an idea of the variety of themes on offer.

This year’s exhibition is now over, and as always it’s been a fun and interesting few days, demonstrating once again that Andalucia is blessed with more than its fair share of top quality produce, with an exceptional variety that comes from the many different types of terrain in the region. Will definitely be back for the next one in two years’ time!

Hospital de los Venerables – Velázquez & Murillo

This year is the 400th anniversary of the birth of Bartolome Murillo, probably Sevilla’s most famous painter, and has been officially declared the Year of Murillo. As part of the commemorations the Fundación Focus-Abengoa, in collaboration with the Prado Museum, London’s National Gallery, and others, has organised a very special exhibition comparing the work of Murillo and Sevilla’s other most famous painter, Diego Velázquez.

velazquez murilloThe two painters, born in Seville a generation apart (Velazquez in 1599 and Murillo in 1617), and having their formative influences there, nevertheless had quite different career trajectories, Velazquez leaving Seville to work at the Spanish court in Madrid in 1623, while Murillo spent his entire working life in Seville. It’s not known whether the two ever actually met in person (though they must have been aware of each others’ work), but while there is no record of a meeting, it’s not impossible as Murillo visited Madrid on several occasions, although art experts think that there was only limited reciprocal influence.

santa rufinaSanta Rufina by Murillo (left) and Velázquez (right)

However, it’s clear from the 19 paintings in the exhibition, 10 by Murillo and 9 by Velázquez, that there were common influences in the cultural world of Sevilla in the 17th century. This shows itself in both the choice (or commissioning) of subjects, especially in religious subjects pertaining to Sevilla such as the Saints Justa and Rufina and the Immaculate Conception, as well as of Saint Peter and the Adoration of the Magi, and the highly naturalistic style of the scenes of everyday life.

day to day lifeEveryday scenes by Velázquez (left) and Murillo (right)

It’s also appropriate that the exhibition is being hosted in the Venerables Hospital, a building that is of the early 17th century, and which has both a historical and current associations with the two painters. Around mid-January the exhibition, which continues until February 28th, surpassed the 50,000 visitor mark.

Velásquez | Murillo | Sevilla
Hospital de los Vernerables
Plaza de los Venerables 8
Open 10.00 – 18.00 (last entrance at 17.30)
General Admission: 8 euros
Free Admission Tuesday 14.00 – 18.00

Terracotta Army – Xi’an Warriors

terracotta army
From Friday, November 13, 2015 until Sunday January 24, 2016 150 reproductions of the famous terracotta warriors that were buried next to the tomb of the first emperor of China the Qin Dynasty, Qin Shi Huang (210-209 BC.) will be on display at Muelle de las Delicias.

The tour of the exhibition consists of warriors, horses and war equipment and other findings of the mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang and takes approximately two hours, including the screening of a documentary. Weekend workshops will be organized for children.


Terracotta Army – The Xi’an Warriors
Muelle de las Delicias
Paseo de las Delicias
November 13 2015 – January 24 2016
Tuesday – Saturday 10.00 – 21.00
Sundays & holidays 10.00 – 19.00
Entrance up to 1.5 hours before closing
Price: 8.00€ (general) 6.00€ (children under 12 – under 4 get in free)

Andalucía Sabor 2015

andalucia sabor 2015
This year saw the 5th edition of the Andalucian Fine Food Exhibition (Andalucía Sabor), which was held in the Palacio de Congresos from September 14-16.

This biennial event is organised by the Department of Agriculture, Fishing and Rural Development of the Junta to promote the best of Andalucian produce and gastronomy to a world market. It brings together professionals from every part of the gastronomic world from primary producers, through the Consejos Reguladores to chefs, wholesalers and distributors, and the press. As well as the exhibition stands activities include tastings of oil, ham and wine, ham cutting and cooking competitions and demonstrations, and round table discussions.

In other years I have focussed on the conferences but this year I spent most of my time checking out the products and watching the presentations and workshops. Here are a few of the highlights…

Continue reading “Andalucía Sabor 2015”

Henry Moore in Sevilla

henry moore[click on image to enlarge]

A selection of abstract bronzes by Henry Moore (1898-1986), one of the great masters of modern sculpture, are being exhibited in various cities in Spain this year: Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Valencia and Bilbao. From now until mid-March it’s Sevilla’s turn. There are seven large bronze sculptures in total, which can be seen in the the Plaza del Triunfo square – a great opportunity to enjoy the strength and character of Moore’s work in an urban setting rather than inside a museum. Two of his most common themes will be present: reclining figures and connected pieces that represent a protective mother and her child.

The director of the Henry Moore Foundation, Richard Calvocoressi, is enthusiastic about the location of the bronzes. “Moore’s sculptures are based on the human figure, but we cannot forget the presence of natural forms, how they were inspired by rock formations, mountains or cliffs,” he said, “and the statues on this site seem to be in continuous dialogue with the Cathedral, which is like a mountain of stone, and the outer wall of the Alcázar, which is a sort of cliff.” Calvocoressi downplayed the rain saying that bronze looks better wet and the light here in Sevilla at the moment is like you might find on a rare summer day in England, a fitting way to appreciate these magnificent works.

I took a walk around the square during a sunny break on Friday afternoon and agree that the statues look terrific in that setting. I overheard two Spanish women talking about the reclining mother and child and the older of the two, who had to be in her eighties, said that she knew it was supposed to be a child at the breast but it still looked like a corkscrew to her. I’ll never be able to look at that statue again without a smile. And seeing a corkscrew. 🙂

Henry Moore Bronzes
February 6 to March 12, 2014
Plaza del Triunfo

Córdoba | Palacio de Viana

blue potsCórdoba is undoubtedly one of the most important historic cities in Europe, with a list of world-class monuments topped by the splendid Mezquita. But it also has quieter, less obvious charms. Among these are the famous Córdoban patios and courtyards (which even have their own festival), decked with flowers, often in the distinctive dark blue flower pots that can be seen all over the cities. Of course, patios and courtyards are not unique to Córdoba, being a typical architectural form all around the Mediterranean, but here they have been developed more than almost anywhere else, and have become almost a local art-form.

For this reason no visit to Córdoba can really be considered complete without going to see the Palace of Viana, the Museum of the Patios, and a few days ago I was fortunate enough to be invited to a tour both of the patios and the palace of which they form a part (it was actually my second visit as last year I saw the patios shortly after the museum had opened). In fact, I have only been in summer (first last June and now August) and really must go again in the spring.

viana collage

[a few of the Palacio de Viana patios]

The palace is known to have existed since the 14th century, and in the 15th became the home of the Don Gome family. In the 17th century it became known as the Rejas (grilles) de Don Gome, because of the barred windows of the patio giving on to the street outside. The original palace occupied a much smaller area than the palace as it is now, but under a succession of owners it has grown and changed over the centuries. In the 19th century, when it was the residence of the Marques de Villaseca, the house of Torres Cabrera, another palace that lay alongside, was taken over in its entirety. In 1902 the Palace became the property of the second Marquis of Viana, and over the next two generations completed its evolution into almost the form we see today. In 1980, on the death of the third Marquis, the Palace was sold to the CajaSur foundation and registered as a monument of national historic importance.

The palace today has twelve courtyards and a garden, intertwined with the various wings and sections of the palace, whose rooms and galleries house important collections of artifacts and artworks, including Breughel and Goya, tapestries and furniture, as well as an impressive library with over 7,000 books. I recommend taking the guided tour of the upstairs rooms. Although it is only given in Spanish there are printed handouts in different languages that give you a brief description of the rooms and collections.

There are also nighttime events and concerts which must be magical in that setting. You can check events, dates and times on the Palacio de Viana website.

Palacio de Viana
Plaza de Don Gome, 2


Santas de Zubarán: Devoción & Persuasion

santas-zurbaran-sevillaThis was one of the most enjoyable exhibitions I’ve seen in awhile. Combining art and fashion is bound to please and it also makes paintings like these feel more accessible. Francisco Zubarán (1598 – 1664) is mostly known for his religious paintings and still lifes, and here the outfits worn by his martyr saints have been interpreted by 12 contemporary Spanish fashion designers, including well-known names Vittorio & Lucchino and Agatha Ruiz de la Prada.

The Espacio Santa Clara is a former convent that has recently been done over as a cultural centre. The space is gorgeous with tiled patios and beautiful wood-beamed ceilings in the galleries.

To find out more about this fabulous exhibition check out Scribbler in Seville’s excellent and detailed review.

Espacio Santa Clara
Calle Becas (just off the Alameda)
Entrance: 6 euros / free for Sevilla residents
Audioguide 1.20 euros (included in 6 euro ticket)
10.00 – 14.00 Monday – Saturday
18.00 – 22.00 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Saturday / 18.00 – 21.00 Thursday, Friday
10.00 – 15.00 Sunday
Until 20th July

Santas de Zubarán: Devoción y Persuasión

Centro del Mudéjar

mudejar centre
The Palace of the Marqueses of the Algaba is home to Sevilla’s newest cultural centre, this one dedicated to the legacy of the Mudéjars of the 13th – 16th centuries. The palace was first built in this period and is worth a visit itself. Although it has undergone reforms since then it still boasts a splendid example of a mudéjar-gothic grand doorway and tower, as well as a lush central courtyard garden enclosed by arched walkways.

The centre opened on January 12th with an exhibit bringing together 111 pieces from different museums.

Centro del Mudéjar
Plaza Calderón de la Barca
(just behind Feria Market)
8 am – 2 pm / 5 pm – 8 pm Monday to Friday
Saturdays 8 am – 2 pm. Closed Sunday.
Admission is free.

Centro de Interpretación de la Judería

The new Centro de Interpretación de la Judería de Sevilla, which opened yesterday, is the city’s first museum of the history and achievements of Sevilla’s Jews, telling their story in words (both in Spanish and English) and pictures along with other exhibits. It is the latest project of the Casa de la Memoria, one of Sevilla’s best known flamenco cultural centres.

It is a very moving exhibit and you can lose yourself in the stories of some of Sevilla’s most important historical figures, such as Pablo de Olavide, José María Blanco White and the mysterious Susona Ben Susón. You can also see the original 19th century painting “The Expulsion of the Jews from Sevilla” by Joaquín Turina y Areal.

I also liked the map of the old Jewish Quarter, which was created especially for the Centre. New exhibits and events are being planned for the future.

Ximenez de Enciso, 22
Daily 10.30-14.00 and 17.30 – 20.00
entrance €6.50
Tel: 954 047 089