Pando Jamón Cutting Masterclass

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Who could resist an invitation to attend a jamón cutting masterclass? Not me, that’s for sure. This was the first of many proposed events by Pando Restaurants & Catering for their #GastroEscueloPando initiative, and what a great way to start. Also, just in time for Christmas, when many families purchase a jamón to see them through the holiday season. Though as we all know, proper jamón cutting is an art form, requiring knowledge, skill and – just as important – practice, practice, practice. And while none of us walked away from the event with finely honed cutting skills, we did take away a lot of new information that will be very helpful for those planning to buy a Christmas jamón.

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The masterclass was led by professional cortador Victor Fernández. It was a very relaxed and casual setting and everyone felt comfortable asking questions while watching Victor in action. We learned about the different types of Ibérico ham, the different cuts, the different flavours, as we enjoyed plates of jamón being passed around the room, along with glasses of Glorioso rioja. Some brave souls even got up to try their hand at cutting under Victor’s watchful eye.

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Pando has recently renovated its calle San Eloy 47 location, and has also updated its menu. Worth checking out.

Puro Centro

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Ever since I published the blog post about Lab 4 last year I’ve been telling myself that I need to set up a “bares de copas” section on Sevilla Tapas. The difficult thing about that is it’s hard to group these places into one category as some are strictly cocktail bars, others also offer snacks, some have full kitchens, but the one thing they have in common is that the focus is on drinks more than food. The other difficulty for me is that I seldom “ir de copas” (go out for drinks), preferring food and wine to straight alcohol, so these aren’t places I would usually visit. Then the other day I happened upon Puro Centro, which seems to be in a category of its own, and although it would probably fit better under “bar de copas” than “restaurant” it actually has quite an interesting looking Asian-Spanish fusion menu.

Well, a bit about Puro Centro. It’s the latest offering from Grupo Kudéta and is situated just off the Plaza Magdalena. It’s all done out in deep reds and golds, and furnished with a curious mix of classic Asian and ultra-modern Western designs. There are a couple of large open spaces as well as several cosy nooks, which are nicely distributed over the two levels of this stunningly refurbished old townhouse. Manager Fernando García says that the initial response to the opening has been great and promises lots of special events which will be posted on the Puro Centro Facebook page. Puro Centro is open 7 days a week from 1.00 pm until the wee hours. The kitchen is closed from 4 – 9 pm but you can still go for coffee, drinks and desserts. Looks like a perfect place for a cosy late afternoon merienda.

Puro Centro
Murillo 6
Tel. 661 577 535/ 954 088 518
Open: 13.00 – 02.00
Kitchen is closed 16.00 – 21.00

Tapas at the Palacio de los Patos | Granada

I’ve been a fan of Hospes Hotels ever since I was writing as the Seville Expert for SimonSeeks and was given the opportunity of staying at their luxurious rustic-chic Las Casas del Rey de Baeza and sampling the delights of the Senzone restaurant there.

So when I was invited to take a tour of five-star Palacio de Los Patos while I was in Granada this week I jumped at the chance. In a word – stunning. The swanky deluxe rooms are located in the old lovingly restored 19th century palace and the “Dreamer” standard rooms are in a modern annex, along with the restaurant and spa. At first I didn’t know what to think of the façade, which I was told was meant to mimic the moorish latticing in the Alhambra, until I saw the effect from the inside of the spacious minimalist rooms. The cool alabaster tiles let in a cool diffused light without letting others see in, and all the Dreamer rooms look onto the garden. Which is what this post is mostly about, because after once glance at the garden area I was in love.

This is a fabulous oasis in the centre of the city, with various fountains cooling the patio area where you can either sit at tables to eat a meal or curl up on sofas to enjoy a drink. Large trees and hanging wisteria provide natural shade and all the greenery running along the wrought iron fence shuts out traffic and city noise. My favourite was the gnarly pomegranate tree, which I was told was over 200 years old. If you don’t know, the pomegranate (or “granada” in Spanish) is the emblem of the city.

I was surprised to see that the Senzone Restaurant offered tapas as well as a full-service menu and an intriguing tasting menu made of Riofrio caviar products, and so I was thrilled to be invited to a tapas tasting lunch the next day (my last day in town). I went with my friend John Sullivan, ex-Londoner, musician and fellow foodie, who has been living in Granada for over three years now.

And well, the food was gorgeous, the setting divine, and the service was both efficient and friendly (but Hospes! please get those poor girls out of head-to-toe black when it’s 35º out there!). We tried four tapas, which were all so good that they left us hankering to come back and try out the rest of the tapas menu…

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