We are back after a busy week in Penedes. I just cant believe we got so much done while having kids and the family to consider all the time. But with a constant focus on the wedding ahead and all the cava, food guests and other logistics I guess it is easy to just loose track. It turned out great though as you can see form the pictures. But we were lucky…
At midday on Friday when rehearsal dinner was planed for 6 pm and all things started to get set up, the Penedes thunderstorm was upon us. If you have experienced them you know what I mean. Heavy rain and thunder for about one hour, and then gone. There is always a risk the storm brings his brother after a while, but ont this time! The weather cleared and we got an amazing starry sky to accompany us al evening.
History repeats itself on the wedding day morning, and the bride askes me if I think that this morning rain was “it”… I happily reply “Of course! There is normally only one shower a day here, if it rains at all.”. She was happy and calmed by my answer and I prayed to the weather Gods that they would give us a break at least during ceremony and dinner. They did! Another amazing night sky with blazing starrs, and the Penedes that me and Andreas have learned to love so much, really showed her best side.
But nothing can be really just joyful and happy can it?
After the arrest in Barcelona of 12 Catalan politicians on the Wednesday and following protests, my mind was constantly jumping back to my friends in the area and their situation. The amounts of flaggs showing the support for Catalan independence, grew in quantity from Thursday on. Driving through the villages and on the countryside they were now numerous, hanging from houses and light poles. I don’t want to worry for the situation Catalonia vs. Madrid and I haven’t so far, but now the game seems to change and I’m not so sure anymore.
I sit here in Sweden surrounded by the cava made by my friends in Catalonia and my heart is with them.
The diversity within the DO Cava is both a blessing and a curse, and many people working with cava would agree on this. I choose to see the positive side. So what is actually so great about it?
Well let me explain…
The biggest reason for the great diversity among cava is the fact that nine grape verities that can be used, more to choose form right there. Xarel.lo, macabeu and parellada are the most common verities and make up the backbone in traditional blends. Many people would say that this trio is the soul of cava and what makes it so special. But you also have chardonnay and malvasia among the white grapes allowed. When it comes to the red verities there are trepat, garnacha, monastrell and of course the very popular pinot noir. Since it is now allowed to make blanc de noire also in the DO Cava, with trepat as only exception, the possibilities are many. In my opinion all these red grapes make a great spread of rosé cavas, from the elegant salmon pink to the fruity bright raspberry coloured, that can be enjoyed and used in combination to endless types of food.
The three age classes from the minimum ageing of nine months, to the reserva at a minimum of fifteen months and the gran reserva at thirty months or more, are also one aspect that widens the range of choice. Unfortunately many people only know the very young products and think that this is the only way to have cava. Numerous times I have met wine people and even fellow sommeliers that think that cava cannot be aged, and nothing could be further from the truth. Some even say that the local grapes don’t have the structure to age in a good way, and to those I can very much recommend a trip to the cava houses of Gramona, Recaredo, Juvé y Camps or Castell San Antoni, just to mention a few.
One other aspect that contributes to the wide spread of choice with in the cava family is the price range, and this is a very debated subject. Mass produced or high end, the choice is yours. I’m not saying that this wide spread is all good. But if you exclude the very cheapest bottles from the discussion, I do think it is great that you can find a cava that suits your taste, the occasion and your wallet. Because to be honest, most of us are not made of money and can’t drink 50 Euro bubbles every day, at least I can’t. And one thing that you can be sure of is that you very often get extremely good value for your money, since the land prices and production costs are so much lower in Penedès then say Champagne.
So my dear friends, if you have not already dived in to the sea of great cavas out there and enjoyed the diversity. I highly recommend you to do that as soon as possible and I’m absolutely positive you will find some favourites.
Our first guided group have today reached their fourth and last day of the trip. It has really been wonderful and we have been able to show them some of our favourite places here in the Penedès. We have enjoyed local food cooked with elegance and care, paired with some of the really great wines and cavas from the small producers of the region.
To give you a glimse of what we have been up to you have a look at the below pictures and I can also recommend you to have a look at CavaTV posted this week, where Ramón shows us how to disgorge a bottle of cava by hand.
Everything has been going so well and we have received so much positive feedback so we are actually already planning our next tour for cavaTast (the cava festival), the first weekend of October. So if you are interested, keep an eye out here on the blog and also on the Facebook page and Instagram for more information. Or if you have questions you can always e-mail me at email@example.com.
This last day we have done a walk through the vineyards ending up at Parés Baltà, driving up in the montain vineyards with papa Cusiné. A really wonderful stay and tasting!
Picknick half way with wonderful sandwiches, fruit and soup! About one hours rest before the next “leg” towards Parés Baltà.
Reaching Parés Baltà and going on a wonderful tour and tasting, with Mr Joan Cusiné and Silvia!
Happy vines give good wines and happy people! Everyone was really happy so the vines must have been too.
Thank you so much to our first group for coming! It has really been a pleasure to show you the area, and these four days has really just flown by! We hope to see you all back here in the Penedès soon again!
I’m back now. Back in Sweden. Back at home with Baby E and Andréas and all is as it should be.
It has been a great weekend with the girls and we have had both great food and wine, a fair deal of shopping but also great walks in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. We were lucky with the weather too and had sunny warm days. The best thing though all categories was the fact that I could finally visit Camino and Copa de Cava and also meet Richard who runs them and his amazing staff.
We met up with Richard at Camino Blackfriars, where Copa de Cava is in the basement. Unfortunately we got a bit lost on the way there and were twenty minutes late. But Richard did not seem to mind and welcomed us with open arms.
Camino is really a very nice place. Its that type of restaurant where you can feel at home and where the team really makes you feel comfortable. I just love that, when you feel right at home and welcome, and we sure did. Since it was Friday they had a DJ and the feeling was very much one of “here comes the weekend”.
Down at Copa de Cava there was a private party, but we tip toed down and took small part of the bar in use, since Richard wanted to treat us to some cava. The wonderful Gramona Gran Reserva made us all in an even better mood and I had the chance to ask Richard about the restaurants and all the ideas he has. It is just so nice to meet other people who are passionate about what they do and especially when it involves cava. After a visit at Copa, we went upstairs and had a wonderful dinner and more Cava before we took the subway home to the hotel while chitchatting away about all the wonderful food and bubbles we had enjoyed.
Luckily for me, I’ll be back in London the first weekend in July with Andréas, since we are attending a wedding, so then we will make time to visit Camino again! Until then I just want to give my warmest hugs to the team at Camino, who took so great care of us! Hope to see you all soon again!
Unfortunately I could not interview Richard this time for CavaTV, since it was alit too noisy. But I promise to try in July!
If you want to read more about Camino or Copa de cava you will find them on Twitter: @CaminoLondon @CopadeCava or Instagram CopadeCava or Camino. And you will of course find a lot of info on their website Camino.co.uk or at cava.co.uk. If you are planing a trip to London this is just a HAVE-TO-GO-TO-PLACE!