Monthly Archives: September 2013

We LOVE chocolate Simón Coll!!

chokladfabrikToday we have had a ”re-cap day”, to have some time to edit text and pictures that we have collected the last week during the producer visits. But we did have a break in the middle of the day to go to the Willy Wonka of Sant Sadurni, Maria of Simón Coll. We met Maria, the heiress of the company already yesterday at a birthday party and had a long talk.  Maria has many visions and one of them is to get more people to experience everything that Sant Sadurni has to offer, and she takes a big responsibility in sharing information when the tourist information is closed and has a lot of ideas on how to improve the “Sant Sadurni experience. She is really a fantastic entrepreneur and visionary as well as the Willy Wonka of Spain! mariayanna
Simón Coll has been producing chocolate since 1840, and among their fantastic products of chocolate bars, chocolate Santas and Easter rabbits they also make the special Penedès cetanias/amatllers. This is roasted Almonds with a chocolate cover which might sound simple, but the catanias from Simón Coll are something very special and the best we have EVER had!!egglogoamatller
Visiting the chocolate fatory and its visiting centre in Sant Sadurni, you can do a wonderful tour in English, which explains the history of the family, the making and origins of chocolate as well as a functional tasting of chocolate from bean to finished praline. It is very modern and interactive with a film, old chocolate machinery and the new actual test factory where you can get a very good understanding of how the chocolate is made.

After the tasting and introduction to the family and chocolate making, you can visit the shop where you can buy all kinds of different chocolates. Our favourites are of course the catanias/amatllers, but also the different chocolate that they make with Marc de Cava, that is a spirit much like the Italian grappa. The mix is absolutely wonderful!chokladkross

Next time you go to Barcelona you should not miss to go to Sant Sadurní! A visit to Chocolatier Simón Coll  and a Cava producer is a perfect day outside the big city.

You will find all the information you need at:  www.simoncoll.com

Adress:
Hospital, 1
08770 Sant Sadurní d’Anoia
Barcelona (Spain)
Telephone: +34 93 891 01 40

Monday to Friday: 9am to 1pm, 5pm to 8pm
Saturday: 9am to 2pm

Bertha; A new winery is beeing built

maxBertha is one of the producers that we have been wanting to visit for a long time, but not got around to it. But now we finally did!

mrBI first tried Bertha when I bought a bottle at our favourite cava shop in Sant Sadurní, Cal Feru. To be honest I bought it because I thought the label looked nice and that I had seen the sign outside their doors in Sant Sadurní, just very close to the restaurant CalBlay.
I took the bottle to our friends Patrick and Rosó, and we were all agreed that we liked it very much. Since then Bertha has been a producer I have been wanting to visit.

We meet Pep the owner and Gil the export manager, who take us on a tour in the small winery in Sant Sadurni. But things are cooking at Bertha and soon the new winery outside town in the middle of their wine yards will be ready, and it looks GREAT! It is really exciting and will make everything so much easier says Pep. And that is understandable because the site in town is not very large, and the extra space is welcome.
The plan is that the new site will be ready to move in to at Christmas, so when Andréas and me comes back in the spring we will definitely visit Bertha again to see how things have turned out.

meninmirrorWe also have the chance to try some of their cavas and one thing that is very obvious with all the cavas we try at Bertha is the mousse. It is fantastically integrated and fine like velvet. Pep explains that this is something that is essential when it comes to the style of Bertha. We love it, bacause the mousse is such an important part of cava and sometimes something that is put in the shadow of structure, acidity and aroma when discussed.

Bertha makes about 190 000 bottles of cava every year and their portfolio include many fantastic products. boxofberthaOne of their newer cavas are the two called “Lounge”, one blanc in a blue bottle and one rosé in a red bottle. Very special design and something that is perfect to serve in the afternoon, as an aperitif or if you want something fresh to your seafood. Lounge has the same small bubbles significant for Bertha, and is lovely.

All in all we have a lovely time and will drink a lot of Bertha in the future, that is one thing that is for sure!

 lounge

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Parés Baltà; now totally biodynamic!

skyltThe morning of the 25th we took the car to see our dear friends at Parés Baltà. Their white winery building is sticking up like a little pieces of heaven in the middle of the vine yards when we come driving.

fintskarevaLike many times before we take the big Toyota together with Barbara up to the high vine yards in the mountains. It looks the same although he roads are a bit more eroded and the road going up to the bees looks more like an dried up riverbed than a road. What is new though is the smell… the national park where the vines are situated are full with the sent of a flower that I recognize so well from the honey collected by the bees, and that I have long loved so much! It is like the air is standing still and that we are standing in the middle of a perfect cloud of flower scent and I just don’t want to leave. But after Andreas is done taking the pictures by the waterfall, I have to put my shoes back and get back up out of the clear water in which I have been standing.

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The vine yards up here are beautiful, and the Parellada has still not been picked so we can taste the grapes before we drive back to meet up with Joan and have lunch.

ripeWe have lunch at Cal Xim, where we have never been before and would never have found without help. A fantastic lunch with great company and we get the background of how Parés Baltà has gone from ecological farming to biodynamic.  From this harvest all the wines and cavas coming from the winery are biodynamic, and there is a lot of work behind this including work with herbs, animals and bugs and compost to make the biodiversity wider in the vine yards, which will make the vines stronger.

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Me and Andréas have a lot to learn in this area, but one thing is clear. Barés Baltà makes wonderful Cavas and wine and we are so happy that we can find some of them in Sweden. Here you can find a list of what the monopoly has to offer.

Thank you so much Barbara and Joan of a wonderful visit once again!

barbara and Joan

 

At Agustí Torelló Mata

statyThe first winery here in the Penedés we ever visited was Agustí Torelló Mata, and since then we have been fans of their Cavas and always try to have some bottles in the cellar. Even tough our cellar is extremely empty right now…. need to do something about that!

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the typical red soil of Penedés

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Kripta with yeast on the way down the neck of the bottle.

This time we have the pleasure to meet both Agustí senior and his son Alex, as well at Antonio who is in charge of all the export. Together we go to the Agustí Torello Mata museum in Can Rosell, where we have not been before. The whole house and cellar breaths history, and with Agustí seniors fantastic collection of glasses, art and musical instruments, it has more than a life time of history within its walls. Here we can see the first glass oven where the bottles for Kripta was first made and also the first model to make the bottles. Here everything is about Kripta, and rightly so.

manbottleAgustí Torelló Mata is a producer that wants their cavas and wine to reflect their unique terroir. But it stands quite clear that macabeu is their signature grape, that acts as backbone in their cavas. Fresh and elegant all through the portfolio, also when it comes to the very complex and long aged Kripta. “Kripta is a Cava only for the people that understands and love Cava, it is not for everyone…”, Agustí senior says. And I cant help to think for a while that, I hope he includes me and Andréas in this group. And luckily he seems to do that, since we soon have the opportunity to try Kripta together with its creator in the museum’s “courtyard”.

There are many stories that could be told, but I will just leave you with the comment that we love Kripta and the rest of the products of ATM, and if you have the chance to visit the winery, you should!

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Kripta bottle form

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Kripta original painting

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Jaume Giró i Giró, and our friend Ramón

tunnan027In the centre of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia very close to the chocolate “factory” Simón Coll, Ramón has his cellar, and beautiful “bbq-gareden”. A garden that everybody can enjoy for just a symbolic sum and a bottle of cava.
We first visited Ramón in May last year, together with our friends Kajsa and Martin. You can read about it here if you want. Among other things Andreas then got to disgorge his first bottle of Cava and immediately offered to start to work at Giró i Giró as a disgorger.

But this time we were back to take pictures and ask Ramón questions since we want to present him as one of the producers in our new book. A lot of photos later we had the great pleasure to refresh our memories when it comes to the portfolio. Some of the cavas, like the Bombonetta we know well, since we brought quite a lot of them back in May when we had the car whit us. And together with our friends we have been enjoying them all through the year, but not our cellar is empty and badly needs to be refilled!

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grandalla032Ramón makes wonderful Cava, that is fresh, fruity and soft in the mousse, and even though he makes almost only reserva and gran reserva they still have a clear vitality. Almost like an older person that looks and feels very young, but where you can see the life experience shining through with all its depth and complexity that life gives you on your journey. All poetics aside, lets just say that we like them very much!

The two cavas named Grandalla are both very special, and this time we get the story behind the two. Grandalla is the local name name of the flower narcissus poeticus, that grows in Andorra, and Ramón originally tried to make these cavas to resemble the character of the narcissus. But now they have come to have their own style. Last time I tried them I named the Grandalla “silver” my favourite, but this time with he new vintages I must say that the Grandalla deluxa (gold with swarovski stones) had me captured!

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Ramón and his “after dinner wines”

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Riddling Bonbonnetta

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Bonbonetta in the cellar

enboll031As always we had a fantastic time visiting Ramón, and we can really recommend you to contact Ramón and his team if you plan to go to Sant Sadurní or just make a short trip if you go to Barcelona. It is all very easy. Just write to them some days before, so that they are not in the middle of labelling, or disgorging or anything like that, because they are a very small winery and everyone helps with everything.

Contact details:
http://www.cavagiro.com/en

Thank you so much to Ramón and the team for having us once again. It is always lovely to see you, and see you soon at Cavatast!