Spain in May

By Marguerite Winter

Spain in May

Like a lot of other food enthusiasts, I’ve never made it to ElBulli, but I see from a Spanish newspaper here in our white-washed mountain village of Gaucin that maestro Ferran Adria has just launched an app entitled ‘Adria en casa’, which has 31 different three-course menus for home preparation.  How ‘molecular’ they are I don’t know, but best of luck to you should you choose to give it a whirl.

Here in our finca (farmhouse), perched below Gaucin in the Ronda Mountains in Andalucia, with views across the Mediterranean to North Africa, we’re pretty much strictly tapas. In the village bars, there are not too many nods to ElBulli among the fare on offer. Like Australia’s Spanish tapas offerings (until clever Frank Camorra and a couple of others came along with their suave little reworkings of traditional approaches), we’re getting variations on classics like patatas bravas, salt cod croquettes, pickled mussels and garlic prawns. The cheese with quince paste does not come, as Frank’s does, with a quince ‘cigarillo’ – but we’re getting by.

Things got a little more sophisticated yesterday, higher up the mountains at Ronda, whose bullring was made famous by Ernest Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises. Here at the small but much recommended TragaTapas, opposite the famous Parador Hotel beside the stupendous gorge, the pork cheeks come with potato foam and the bacalao (salted cod) is served as a brandade. Among the raciones (larger dishes), the tripe stew with chickpeas came with pennyroyal mint and the suckling pig arrives as a confit. Buen appetite.

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