Category Archives: Cheese

Now that the world has not ended…

I am quite frankly unimpressed with Mayan divination. After spending yesterday in a state of anticipation—how cool to be among the few to witness the blazing finale—I awoke this morning only to be bitterly disappointed. Talk about an anticlimax.

On the plus side, the prospect of imminent annihilation provided the perfect excuse to indulge in copious quantities of wine and fruitcake. Why worry about your waistline or blood pressure when there’s no tomorrow?  Today, however, we have a whole new reason to celebrate. After all, it’s quite a charming little planet we live on, with its green forests and snow-capped mountains, its vineyards and olive groves and oceans. If you weren’t in the Christmas spirit already, this reassuring piece of news might stir some festive feeling. Woohoo, crack open that Rioja gran reserva and have a party.

If you were banking on Mayan meteorologists, then perhaps you’ve neglected that Christmas shopping list? Not to worry, The Spanish Table is open this Sunday and Monday all your last minute needs. Need ideas? Here’s a few of our favorite stocking stuffers and tasty morsels for you holiday table:

Stocking Stuffers

  • Half bottles of Port, Sherry, or Rioja
  • Olivewood cooking spoons (in all shapes and sizes)
  • Argentinian alfajores (chocolate-covered, dulce de leche stuffed goodness)
  • Turrón (soft, hard, crunchy or chocolate)
  • Paella aprons and oven mits
  • Little bottles of truffle infused olive oil
  • Rabitos (truffled figs, soaked in brandy and covered in chocolate)
  • Spanish anchovies in olive oil
  • Mantecados and polverones (traditional Christmas cookies)
  • Mitica orange blossom or lavender honey

For the table

  • Jamón Serrano and Ibérico
  • Chorizo – semi-cured and dry-cured
  • Manchego – young, middle-aged, and mature
  • Basque cheeses – Kukulu and Idiazabal
  • Olives stuffed everything imaginable, from chorizo to blue cheese
  • Marcona almonds, fried and salted (perfect with a glass of sherry)
  • Superb Spanish olive oil
  • Reserva Sherry vinegar
  • Artisan crackers
  • Pan de higos (dense fig  ‘bread’ dotted with whole almonds or walnuts)

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Filed under Cheese, Christmas, Food, Jamon

New Cheeses and 1994 Grahams Vintage

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter                                               September 26, 2011      

George, cheesemonger here at Spanish Table and Paris grocery, located some spectacular quesos at the summer Fancy Food Show. We had a special order of lucious cheeses flown in, and just have a few wheels of each, so come in now for the broadest selection!

  Tou del Til.lers: A raw cows milk from Lleida in Catalonia with a bloomy rind and soft paste. Spreadable, nutty, and mushroomy. Melts well and is ideal for recipes that include melted or grilled cheese. This cut-to-order cheese can be found at our Paris Grocery store.

Viejo Maestro: from Extremadura, produced by the family who pioneered Torta del Casar. Viejo Maestro is just like Torta del Casar except made with goats’ milk cheese. With a creamy and intensely goaty flavor, it is phenomenal! This cheese is cut-to-order at our Paris Grocery store.

Petit Odre: A cousin to Catalan goat cheese Nevat, it is produced by same cheesemaker but with sheeps’ milk cheese. Odre has a full rich buttery flavor with herbal overtones and a sweet finish. Think slightly chalky sheep camenbert. Small wheels, approximately half pound, in the grab-n-go case at Spanish Table.

Quinta da Rigueira: Portuguese cured sheeps milk cheese in half pound wheels. A less expensive version of the intensely flavored Azeitao, look for this in the Spanish Table grab-n-go case.

Casa Lusa Amonteigado: Soft and delicious Portuguese cured sheeps milk cheese in half pound wheels, wrapped in fabric. In The Spanish Table grab-n-go case.

Torta de Barros: Produced in Extremadura from raw sheeps’ milk cheese, it is made with a vegetable rennet. Soft, with a piquant touch, it has intense flavors and herbal notes. Winner of a gold medal at the 2009 World Cheese Awards. This cut-to-order cheese can be found at our Paris Grocery store.

Our cut-to-order cheeses are now stocked at Paris Grocery, our French store two doors south of Spanish Table on Western Avenue. At Spanish Table, we stock fresh, in-house cut and wrapped cheeses such as Manchego & Argentinian Reggianito, as well as the above selection of small whole wheels.  

NEW WINES 

1994 Graham’s vintage port ($94.00) A small amount of this stunning 1994 port has just been released; last week we were supremely fortunate to taste it. Superbly balanced with an intriguing and subtle note of herbs to offset the sweetness, it can absolutely be enjoyed now but also has the stuffing to age for another 10 to 15 years. An excellent gift for port afficiandos!. “In a [1996] port tasting, Graham’s is almost like tasting a big, rich, succulent Merlot after a group of blockbuster, tannic Cabernets. Sweeter and more obvious than many ports, the opaque purple-colored 1994 is fruity, powerful, and rich, with an addictive hedonistic quality. It will be ready to drink in 8-10 years and keep for up to 30. As always, this is a showy, flamboyant port that has the advantage of being slightly sweeter than other 1994s. A great Grahams.” 96 points Wine Advocate

2008 Mas Doix Salanques Priorat ($29.99) I’ve been hounding our distributor for the new vintage of Salanques ever since the exceptional 2007 vintage sold out. The 2008 vintage is fabulous, indeed just as delicious as the 2007. “the [winery] owners consider 2008 to be one of the top 3 vintages of the decade, a great vintage with low yields and vibrant acidity. A blend of 65% Garnacha, 20% Carinena, and the balance Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, it has been aged in second year barrels. Medium purple in color with a fragrant nose of cedar, mineral, spice box, lavender, black cherry, and blueberry, on the palate it is smooth-textured, intense, and concentrated with 2-3 years of aging potential. It will perform optimally from 2014 to 2023.” 91 points Wine Advocate

We’ve got Czech pilsner! There are only seven independent breweries left in Prague. When we discovered that a pilsner from one of the independents is available here, we had to have it. Zatec Lager is deep gold, with complex malt, bright hop aroma and finish.   

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Filed under Cheese, Port, Red Wine, Travel

Condiments and New Wine Specials

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter                                               September 16, 2011      

We just returned from two amazing weeks in Eastern Europe.  The weather was scorching which made the cold pilsners taste crazy-good in Prague! DubrovIn Dubrovnik, Croatia our daily platters of grilled seafood fresh from the Adriatic were perfection. The heat, the beaches and the plates ofpescaitopescaito frito (small fried fish) made it feel almost like Spain. Now if they could just figure out rosé wines…

One thing they do really well in Eastern Europe is judiciously use great condiments. A variety of mustards on grilled sausages really takes this simple dish to the next level. We’ve got over 20 mustards at our Paris Grocery store – grab a selection for the next tail gate party! Ajvar, the eggplant and pepper sauce was served everywhere with grilled vegetables and also made a great dipping sauce for French Fries. The Spanish Table has three brands of Ajvar, and it’s finally the season to grill eggplant and zucchini. We’ve also got a large selection of tapenades made from asparagus, artichokes and of course black or green olives. Wild mushroom mousse is fantastic on crostini, and we stock Baba Ganoush, the traditional eggplant and tahini spread that is traditionally served with warm pita bread.

NEW PRODUCTS AND OLD FAVORITES BACK IN STOCK 

Calasparra rice is back in stock! ($8.99/kg.)   Named after the province where it is grown in Murcia, southeastern Spain, this special strain of rice has its own Denominación de Origen.   Calasparra is grown in mountain valleys, unlike Valencian rice which is grown in coastal areas. These conditions produce a hard grain rice which takes a few minutes longer to cook and requires more liquid. Its nutty taste and firm texture offer up a subtle difference in rice dishes. It’s especially delicious in mushroom rice dishes. Lomita is a smaller and more affordable version of the pure acorn fed, 100% iberico, cured pork loin. We think it’s better than Jamon Iberico! The Iberican pigs roam free on 400,000 hectares of Dehesa (acorn tree forest) in the province of Cordoba, Spain. The acorn trees that grow here are the Encina (Holm Oak), considered to have the sweetest acorns in Spain.

Larsa San Simon – We’re excited to introduce a new brand of this traditional smoked cow’s milk cheese from Galicia. Larsa San Simon does not come in cryovac which allows it to develop naturally. The cheese has a drier paste and wonderful woody, smoky note reminiscent of an artisanal Idiazabal.

2012 Spanish and Portuguese calendars are here ($14.99).   With seasonal photos from all over each country, it’s the next best thing to being there.

Juego de Loteria games are back in stock! Learn Spanish words and numbers while you play this Mexican bingo game.

NEW WINES 

2003 Marti Fabra Selecció Vinyes Velles ($9.99) SALE! Regularly $19.99. “Aged 10 months in French oak, the unfined/unfiltered 2003 Marti Fabra Seleccio Vinyes Velles (70% Grenache, 10% Carignan, 10% Tempranillo, and equal parts Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon) exhibits a rich, sweet perfume of black cherries and earth, an elegant attack, medium to full body, good depth as well as ripeness, and a long finish.” 90 points Wine Advocate

2009 Dacu Tempranillo, Ribera del Guadiana ($9.99) Produced in Extremadura from the second largest D.O. in Spain, it is also one of the least known wine regions. The cool nights in this 1837 foot-high vineyard enhance the bright fruit flavors, and the 2009 vintage is marked by concentrated black fruits and licorice notes. Balanced and dry, it finishes with notes of tobacco and earth. This is all-around delicious!

2006 Celler Ripoll Sans Closa Ballett, Priorat special price $29.99 (regular price $45.00!) Mark Ripoll Sans of Celler Ripoll Sans gave us a Jeep tour of his Gratallops family vineyard in May and ushered us into his infinitesimal winery. He produces less than 20,000 bottles per year and makes three wines: Black Slate Gratallops, Closa Batllet and a white wine made of escanyevcuran, a native grape that is practically extinct. 2006 Closa Batllet is a serious red wine with sweetly ripened fruit, characteristic of the warmer weather in 2006. Made of 65% Carineña, 20% Garnacha, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot and Syrah, it is explosive, full-bodied, structured and balanced. Notes of black cap berries, tar and dust lead into a lingering finish which is dry and mineral-driven. This is an amazing price for a profound wine! Only 4000 bottles made.

The Wine Spectator featured the wines of one our favorite Rioja producers, Cune Imperial in the October 15, 2011 issue. We’ve got the 1996 Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja in stock ($72.00) which is “Dark red. Bright, spicy cherry and redcurrant on the nose, with sexy oak spice, leather, anise and coffee accents. Silky, broad and sweet, with the vibrant red fruit flavors building with air. The supple tannins blend nicely into the wine’s rich cherry and currant flavors while conferring structure and focus. There’s a load of flavor here but the palate impression is elegant and graceful. Concentrated, suave and long, a late note of cigar box providing even more interest. Absolutely lovely right now, this should hold for some time to come.” 93 points Stephen Tanzer

1998 Cune Imperial Reserva Rioja ($51.00) is “Highly nuanced, quintessential Rioja aromas of plum, strawberry, cherry, mocha, minerals and tobacco. Firm and quite dry, with sinewy flavors of plum, minerals and tobacco leaf. Solidly structured Rioja, finishing with dusty tannins and a minty note. With time in the recorked bottle, this put on weight and sweetness, showing a very pure strawberry flavor and considerable elegance.” 90 points Stephen Tanzer 

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Filed under Cheese, Fish, Food, Red Wine, Travel

Cava Tasting and Party Wines

When the Thanksgiving leftovers run out, the holiday party season can’t be far behind.  We have a sensational time noshing on finger foods, experimenting with seasonal beverages and catching up with old friends – it is indeed a special time of year!  And there is absolutely nothing more festive than a glass of bubbly at a party.   Thus our Cava tasting dinner at Harvest Vine could not be more timely.  Join us on Wednesday December 8th, at 6:30 p.m. to taste the cavas of preeminent winemaker Augustí Torelló Mata. Here’s an opportunity to taste the acclaimed Kripta cava which influential French wine critic Michele Bettane described as comparable to the very best champagne.   Click Cava to view the complete menu; the cost is $65.00 per person.  For reservations, please contact Harvest Vine at 206.320.9771. “The Agustí Torelló Mata Cavas rank with the best I have tasted.”  Jay Miller, Wine Advocate

AFFORDABLE AND DELICIOUS PARTY WINES

2008 Ique Malbec, Mendoza ($9.99) Juicy and lush, this 100% Malbec has notes of violet and ripe berry. With firm structure, flavors of coffee and hints of licorice add complexity to the lengthy finish.   This unoaked Malbec is meant to be enjoyed young and is excellent served with pizza or burgers.

2009 Prado Rey Verdejo, Rueda ($11.99) 100% Verdejo, Prado Rey comes from a 75 year old vineyard.  It displays intense citrus aromas with notes of fennel.  A serious white, it is lean and steely, fresh and balanced.   It has a long and polished finish with notes of bitter almonds, characteristic of the Verdejo varietial.  This is excellent with steamed clams or mussels.

2008 Tres Picos Garnacha, Campo de Borja ($15.99) We’ve never been disappointed by Tres Picos. Reliably delicious year after year,  “The 2008 Tres Picos is 100% Garnacha old vines in which 50% was aged in tank and 50% in French oak for 10 months. It gives up a compelling nose of black cherry fruit that jumps from the glass along with earth and mineral notes. Plush on the palate bordering on voluptuous, this pleasure-bent, full-flavored effort will drink well for another 3-4 years although few will be able to resist its charms for that long.”  91 points Wine Advocate

2008 La Planta, Ribera del Duero ($15.99) La Planta is the youngest red produced by Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro, whose wines are full-bodied and suave.  2008 La Planta has fresh aromas with high fruity notes of blackcurrant, licorice, and toasty notes from noble woods.  A meaty wine with ripe tannins, it has a fine tuned velvety texture.   The finish is persistent and smooth.

Last chance to pre-order special vintages of Cune Rioja!  Bodegas Cune will be shipping a limited number of old Rioja Reservas and Grand Reservas directly from Spain in February 2011.   Pre-order now to assure availability of a special anniversary or birthday wine!   Pre-orders are due no later than December 8, 2010.   Standout offerings include a 1917 Imperial Gran Reserva, 1964 Viña Real Gran Reserva, and a 1939 Corona, (a cache of this golden-colored Rioja blanco was recently discovered during the winery’s renovation.)  There are over 30 wines available from vintage 1917 through 1995; pre-sell prices range from $68.00 for a 1988 Imperial Reserva to $510.00 for the 1917 Imperial Gran Reserva.   For a complete list and prices, just send a request to seattlewine@spanishtable.com.

NEW PRODUCTS

Seasonal Spanish Food Cookbook by José Pizarro ($32.95)  This is not a vegetarian cookbook but it’s loaded with delicious salads, soups and sautés that make you want to rush home and start cooking.   I can’t wait to make Artichoke and Sheep Cheese Salad and Green Asparagus Soup with Romesco Sauce.

New shipment of Churreras!  chur We now have plastic ($19.99) and metal ($45.99).  Fry up some of these bits of dough deliciousness and dunk them into a steaming mug of thick Spanish hot chocolate.   This indeed, is true decadence!  We also carry Blanxart, Amalia and Valor brand hot chocolate mix.

Marcona Almond Butter: A healthy alternative to peanut butter, and a great option for those folks with peanut allergies. Marcona Almond Butter can be substituted in any recipe you would normally use peanut butter. We suggest:  Changing your PB&J into a MAB&J, high-brow take on the quintessential classic, substitute MAB for your Thai peanut sauce or fold into your ice cream. Think of it like liquid Turron!

Armenian Walnuts Steeped in Syrup: They look like black olives, but they are whole walnuts packed green in the Ararat Valley of Armenia and steeped in sugar syrup until they turn lush, sweet, tender and irresistible, a little like marron glaće, only moister. The walnuts are perfect foil for pungent cheeses, pâté or roast duck or game. You can also nibble them after dinner or slice them to decorate your pumpkin pie.

CHEESES OF THE MONTH

Caña de Oveja: This snow-white, fluffy coated, soft-ripened sheep’s milk cheese hails from Murcia, a region known for its goat milk. The pale ivory creamy interior is suave, silky tangy and spreadable. Enjoy with a glass of sparkling white wine or cava.   14.99/LB

Queso de Oveja en Aceite de Oliva: From Jumilla in Spain’s southeast, this sharp and herbaceous sheep’s milk cheese is soaked in virgin olive oil and rosemary. Tangy with a bit of harrumph! The flavors are more infused than our Spanish Table customer favorite, Rosemary Manchego!   15.99/LB

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Filed under Books, Cava, Cheese, crockery, Events, Food, Red Wine

Musing on a Wine Trip to Spain

 

   Tasting wines in El Brozal vineyard, Rioja 

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter                   May 20, 2011               

We’re still savoring memories of our early May trip across northern Spain, where we visited 19 wineries in 15 days. At every stop, young  winemakers shared their passion for the land. Many are from families who have been viticulturists or wine makers for generations and working the land  is unquestionably their identity. Over and over, winemakers described their quest to produce wines that reflect the terrunyo, singular wines that reflect the unique conditions of each plot using minimal intervention, and without abandoning  the region’s heritage. We special ordered a bunch of these wines on the spot and they’ll be rolling in over the next few months. As they arrive, we’ll spotlight them in our newsletter. We can’t get over the sheer quantity of old vines in Spain. Old vines are less productive and thus their fruit has more concentrated flavors. We had many a vineyard lunch among these ancient vineyards.  

NEW WINES 

2005 Barón de Magaña, Navarra ($19.99) This was the only Navarran winery on our trip, but it was worth the drive just to meet this family. Owner-oenologist Juan Magaña decided 30 years ago that he wanted to produce a Bordeaux-style wine in Navarra. He located a nursery in Bordeaux (coincidentally owned by a Spaniard) that supplied Merlot vines to Chateau Petrus and other wineries. Unfortunately the government of Spain at that time did not permit the planting of Bordeaux varietials in Spain, so Juan had no choice but to smuggle the vines into Navarra. Thus was established the first vineyard of Merlot in Spain. Eventually he had to confess to the D.O. that he was growing Merlot, and not Tempranillo.   By then he was known as one of the best winemakers in Spain and had numerous awards, so the D.O. relented and authorized Merlot to be planted. Juan’s son Diego is now winemaker and continues to push the boundaries with these varietals.

  2005 Barón de Magaña is very expressive, aromatically complex with hints of ripe dark fruit, spice, and fine leather.  Well-balanced, bright spicy fruit with very well integrated lively tannins. Aged in French oak for 14 months. “Good lift to the Bordeaux-like aromas of redcurrant, dried cherry, tobacco and rose. Juicy and focused, offering sweet red fruit and floral flavors and a lashing of cracked pepper. Finishes lithe and sweet, with a note of candied cherry. This is delicious now.” 

90 points Stephen Tanzer

2010 ROSADOS ARE HERE AND THE SUN IS OUT!

2010 Pares Balta Ros de Pacs, Penedes ($12.99) A blend of Merlot, Syrah, and a touch of Cabernet.  This year’s vintage is the best ever, with a perfect balance of cherry fruit and crispness. We pre-ordered it, so many shops won’t have it for another month.

2010 Artazuri Rosado, Navarra ($9.99) From one of the best Garnacha producers in Navarra, their rosado is elegant and dry.

2010 Conde de Valdemar Rosado, Rioja ($9.99) Garnacha and Tempranillo. Fruity and fresh, this is excellent with paella.

2010 Melipal Rose, Mendoza ($12.99) Pick up some empanadas here and a bottle of Malbec rose for an easy dinner tonight!

2010 Olivares Rosado, Jumilla ($8.99) 70% Monastrell and 30% Syrah.  This is our best value and the distributor is almost out of it! Get it while you can.

We still have a small amount of 2010 Txakoli Gurrutxaga ($19.99) and 2010 Amestoi Rubentis rosado Txakolis. Low alcohol, light, with clean effervescence, the Txakoli rosados are produced in minute quantities for the U.S. market and have developed a cult following. You’ll see why when you taste one!

Spanish Table Cheese Festival Winners

Torta Del Casar is a definite customer favorite and a rare cheese to find in the states. Rich, buttery, nutty, herbaceously sweet with a long piquant finish, this raw sheep’s milk, washed rind cheese hails from Extremadura. Torta del Casar takes 20 sheep milked twice daily to create a single wheel of cheese.  Serve by cutting off the top of the torta and spooning out the delightfully oozy center. This cheese is perfectly balanced and complex; the more you enjoy, the more nuances you discover!

Queso Curado al Azafran is a delicate nutty sheep’s milk cheese blended with saffron. The mild flavor tones accentuate the floral notes of saffron. This cheese is best enjoyed on its own or with a refreshing glass of Rueda.

Montcabrer is constructed like no other cheese and is made by queso design freaks. The young fresh goat milk is aged in a thick rind of charcoal and vegetable oil. The cheese remains semi soft and creamy encased in its rind and develops beautiful musty mushroom tones. If I didn’t know any better I would guess Montcabrer is a buttery truffle cow’s milk cheese.

Rhapsody in Blues

Monje: Creamier than Cabrales, wrapped in chestnut leaves, and so blue it would put Billie Holiday to shame. Monje has a velvety smooth texture with a wonderful pepperiness and lingering hazelnut finish. This Asturian farmhouse blue has been made with raw cow’s milk for over 100 years. Robust and creamy, its complex flavors will unfold on your palate.

Autor is a raw goat’s milk blue from Quatratondo, in southeastern Spain. This artisan farmstead goat cheese is curdled with thistle rennet and aged for 60 days in an underground cavern. Full-flavored with a hearty goat tang and mild natural blue flavor, Autor has persistent hints of grass herbs and citrus.

PORTUGUESE CHEESES 

São Miguel -We were finally able to get our hands on this mammoth 20 lb. wheel o’ cheese from the Azores. Wonderfully buttery, with a texture like a creamy Colby cheddar. Sao Miguel has pleasing sweet grass flavors that reflect the Azores Islands’ terrain. The perfect table cheese to enjoy with cured meats, olives and, sun-drenched red wines.

São João -Kissing cousin to its substantially larger compadre, São Jorge, this petit creamy pancake-looking cheese is also from the Azores. Sao João is a much younger, creamier version of São Jorge. Very approachable with a slightly elastic texture, mild sourness, and pleasant grassiness.

We are fully stocked with over 50 different Artisan Spanish cheeses and 15 Portuguese cheeses.

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Filed under Cheese, Food, Red Wine, Rose, Spain, Travel, Uncategorized

Rubentis Txakoli and other roses

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter                                                              April 7, 2011

We love rosés! Not only for the sensory pleasure of sipping a chilled glass on a hot afternoon, but also because rosés are phenomenal food wines.  Delicately ephemeral, their cleansing acidity refreshes the palate like nothing else. Rosés are superb with grilled vegetables or fish, poultry dishes, salads and paella, all year round.

Three 2010 rosés arrived today! 2010 Amestoi Rubentis Txakoli ($18.99) is a customer favorite from the Basque region of Spain. Salmon colored and effervescent, it’s low alcohol content (10.5%) makes it a great choice for afternoon sipping. 2010 Gurrutxaga Txakoli Rosé ($19.99) is new this year. Cherry colored, with the same low alcohol and spritziness as Rubentis, Gurrutxaga has notes of melon and maritime scents. Quantities of these two Txakoli Rosés are extremely limited! 2010 Olivares Rosé, Jumilla ($8.99) is an excellent value. Last year’s wine was a perfect balance of fresh berry with a crisp and dry finish. It sold out quickly. More came in this year, so there’s time to taste a bottle before buying it by the case.

On Tuesday April 19, 2011 we've got a special dinner coming up at The Harvest Vine featuring the stellar wines of Rioja's Bodegas Ontañón. Fifth generation family member Raquel Perez Cuevas will be in town and will guide us through an evening of wines paired with The Harvest Vine's always glorious food. $65.00 per person, includes four wine flights - 2008 Vetiver Blanco, 2007 Ontañón Crianza, 2004 Ontañón Reserva and 2001 Ontañón Gran Reserva.  Click Ontanon Dinner for the menu. 6:30 Guest Arrival.

We'll be carrying freshly made, ready-to-eat Empanadas every Saturday. Owner Rodrigo of Maria Luisa Empanadas will deliver them at noon and feature six flavors, including vegetarian. They are $3.00 each, with a 10% discount for purchases of 6, and 20% off for a dozen. Great for parties! We receive 8 dozen each Saturday, so please pre-order if you'd like to pick up a large quantity. 

NEW CHEESES  

Castellot:  Hand made by at the Mas D’Eroles dairy in the Catalan Pyrenees, this raw cow’s milk cheese is cured for 3-4 months. Great for the health nut, most of the fat is drained away, leaving low fat content and an acidic flavor. Wonderfully creamy, herbaceous, and mildly tart, this is the BEST young cow’s milk cheese in our case! Pairs well with nuts, fresh grapes, and cava. 
Ermesenda: Another of Mas D'Eroles hand-made cheeses this stunning raw cow's milk holds an elastic springiness and a complex flavor which develops in the mouth. Soft, dense, and beautifully crumbly Ermesenda is a mildly beefy cheese with a strong and persistent roasted hazelnut finish.
Autor Cheese: is a raw goat's milk cheese from Quatratondo, 60 km. outside of Valencia. The raw goat's milk is curdled with thistle rennet and aged for 60 days in an underground cavern. Depending on the season the cheese can be creamy, flaky, or runny; we've got a creamy version. The flavor finishes with notes of grass, herbs, and citrus.

NEW FOODS

¡Cuitlacoche! Acorn fungus whose Nahuatl name means, quite literally, Raven's Droppings." But don't let these facts scare you away because these corn mushrooms have been a Mexican delicacy for over a thousand years. Also referred to as the "Mexican Truffle," cuitlacoche is a fantastic compliment to Mexican soups or tortilla dishes.
¡Pequin Peppers! These small chiles are also known as "bird peppers," because of our feathered friends' affinity for the younger green pods. But beware! Even birds know to be cautious of the mature red pepper. These little guys pack about 7 to 8 times as much heat as your average jalapeño! Incredible for home-made hot sauces, an additional sizzle to your soup, and to compliment Camarones al ajillo.

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Filed under Argentina, Cheese, Food, Rose

Spanish Flavor in Local Restaurants

The Spanish Table Seattle                                        February 4, 2011
We’re fortunate here at The Spanish Table because we meet a ton of local chefs. A great many of their menus are influenced by traveling to, or living in Spain, even if their restaurants don’t serve Spanish food. This makes perfect sense to us; the unique and vibrant flavors of Spain transformed our lives 25 years ago! It now seems that a knowledge of Spanish cuisine is de rigueur for contemporary chefs. This is a very good thing.

The food produced at the following Seattle restaurants is astonishing. Made with Spanish ingredients and served amidst a bustling vibe, the offerings by these chefs are not to be missed:  La Bete Restaurant’s Aleks Dimitrijevic externed at 3 star Michelin El Raco de Can Fabes in Catalonia. Try his churros and chocolateKylen McCarthy, chef at newly reopened Marjorie was sous chef at Harvest Vine for years. His roast goat special was superbly succulent and tender. Chef Wayne Johnson of Andaluca Restaurant traveled extensively by invitation of the Spanish government to explore regional foods and cook with local chefs. Order the Spicy Calamari from the recently expanded pintxos menu.

Seattle is incredibly fortunate to have several authentic Spanish restaurants. The Harvest Vine is a Seattle institution and has earned accolades for their inventive cuisine. Little known facts:  Former Harvest Vine chef Joseph Jimenz de Jimenz was The Spanish Table’s first wine manager, and before opening the restaurant, The Spanish Table carried Carolin and Joseph’s amazing takeout food. Being ahead of the times, we didn’t sell much in those early days but we sure ate well at home!  Olivar Restaurant’s Chef-Owner Philippe Thomelin is a Spanophile from France, who owned a tapas bar in Andalucía for many years. Ocho in Ballard serves tasty Spanish tapas and drinks in Ballard; Pintxo took over the former Txori space in Belltown and offers a great bar ambience with small plates. Taberna del Alabardero is part of Spain’s Grupo Lezamo that operates restaurants, a culinary school and hotels all over Spain. Their two U.S. locations – Washington D.C. and Seattle, WA – are staffed by a congenial Spanish contingent and the food couldn’t be more authentic.

NEW PRODUCT ARRIVALS

Mittica Chocolate Dipped Fig Cakes: There’s nothing we love better than mittica fig cake.  Now they’ve gone a step further and dipped their fig cake with dark chocolate. Give one of these to your Valentine! Located on top of the cheese case.

Iberico Lomo:  This top pork loin is made exclusively from 100% pure bred Pata Negra pigs who roam free on a 400,000 hectare acorn forest. The meat has a smoky, silky rich texture and intense flavor with a touch of paprika and mild tang.  

Gem Basque and Quijote Chorizo are back in stock! 

NEW CHEESES

Monje: Creamier than Cabrales, wrapped in chestnut leaves and so blue it could put Billie Holiday to shame. Monje has a velvety smooth texture with a wonderful peppery blue tang and a lingering hazelnut finish. This Asturian farmhouse blue cheese has been made with raw cow’s milk for over 100 years. Robust and creamy, its complex flavors will unfold on your palate.

Malvarosa: A farmhouse sheep cheese produced in Valencia, it is hand made in the traditional shape. The curds are pressed together in a cheese cloth between boards which gives the cheese a flattened sack look like vella dry jack. Malvarosa has a slight crystalline crunchiness and a buttery flavor with notes of toffee in the finish. This cheese is a labor of love-the cheese maker saved this rare species of sheep from extinction.

Pata Cabra aka goat brick cheese. This unique goat’s milk cheese from Zaragoza is a washed rind cheese which is dense, smooth, creamy and mildly piquant. Faintly goaty, lightly lemony, fresh and full of character with sweet herbaceous overtones and a wonderful mildly bitter finish.

Little Friar Goat Cheese Logs 4oz, $3.49 each, plain or with herbs.  Produced from Merciana goats, this is amazingly creamy.

Goat Tronchon Wonderfully herbaceous, sweet, grassy, slightly piquant and complex with a lingering tangy finish. 

Drunken Goat Special – At $11.99 per pound, this is half off the usual price!  This customer favorite is a mild goat cheese dipped in Monastrell red wine.Fresh off the boat:  

Amarelo, a Portuguese sheep and goats milk cheese.

WINE AND BEEREric Asimov from the New York Times highlights the fascinating ancestry and sub-varieties of Argentinean Torrontes in his February 2 column.  We have six of the Torrontés that are reviewed in the article:  Michel Torino; Catena Alamos; Susana Balbo; Goulart; La Yunta and Terrazas de los Andes Reserva. 

SUPERBOWL REDS:  These three wines are excellent companions to a variety of foods, from chips and guacamole to charcuterie plates, burgers and steaks.

2009 Secreto de Viu Manent Malbec, Colchagua, Chile ($9.99) "Purple/black; smoke, blue and black fruits; excellent volume, complex, savory, long finish.” 91 points Wine Advocate

2008 Kaiken Malbec, Mendoza ($10.99)  Kaiken is a well crafted 100% Malbec, 60% aged in American oak for 9 months.  It displays a purity of blackberry fruit with mineral and coffee notes. "Emphasizes size and friendliness"  88 points Wine Enthusiast

2002 Mas de l'Abundància, Montsant  ($29.99)  Regularly $40.00!  Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha and Carineña, aged for 10 months in French oak, it's extended time in the bottle has allowed all of the elements to perfectly meld. On the nose, aromas of jam are enhanced by smoky flavors of boysenberry, black tea and licorice. Brooding and meaty, Mas de l'Abundància is full-bodied and complex, with notes of mineral and menthol. The lengthy finish is dry and rich.

Our extensive Iberian and South American beer selection will give any Superbowl party a Latin twist.  We’ve got Sagres and Mikate from Portugal.   From Spain, Estrella Damm, Estrella Daura gluten free beer, Estrella Inedit, Alhambra Lager and Alhambra Negra.  From Mexico, we’ve got Tecate and Bohemia; Jerome beer from Argentina and Casa Beer from Morocco.

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Epiphany & Collector Wines

Today is Epiphany.  In Spain there are fabulous parades and processions on the night of the 5th, with the three kings leading their gift-laden camels through the streets and showering the crowds with candy. Afterwards there’s one last big holiday meal before everyone finally goes to bed. The next morning the kids check their shoes and everyone feasts on the round, fruit-rich, pannettone-like roscón de reyes, or Three Kings Cake.  We’ve had many requests for Three Kings Cake and all I can say is… hopefully we’ll have it next year!

The beginning of January also brings resolutions, football playoffs and Saveur Magazine’s Top 100 issue of the year.  This year is the Chef’s Edition, a round up of culinary professionals’ favorite tools, ingredients, restaurants and more.

San Sebastian’s Juan Mari Arzak is number 26 on the list and I can’t think of anyone more deserving.  Juan Mari brought international acclaim to Basque cuisine with his experimental dishes featuring the finest local ingredients.  A dinner at his three star Michelin restaurant Arzak in San Sebastian is an unforgettable experience.

Among the Chef Edition’s choice ingredients, we’re proud to have some of the best in stock.  These stellar products are a must for any serious cook!  Number 64 is Miguel & Valentino pine-cone smoked Extra Virgin Olive Oil.    It is incredible drizzled over seafood, and adds a depth of flavor to pasta or grilled vegetable dishes.   Number 76 is Aji Amarillo Chile, which is essential to many Peruvian potato or shrimp recipes. Number 82 is chef Paul Bertolli and his toothsome Fra’Mani line of cured meats.   We stock the Salametto Piccante which is a Spanish-style dry chorizo made with Pimenton de la Vera.   Just slice it and make one of the best boccadillos you’ve had in a long time!

El Campero Restaurant in Barbate is number 36 on the list.  As a tuna aficionado, I am mad about this famous tuna-fishing village in southern Spain.  We stumbled upon Barbate in 2001 and two things made a big impression:  this no-frills fishing town had fresh, to-die-for tuna on every block.   I only wish we had discovered El Campero Restaurant with its 50 different tuna dishes!   Barbate’s flamenco scene was also amazing and worth a trip even without the tuna.  Macarena de Jerez and Ezequiel Benitez from Jerez de la Frontera were performing and the flamenco peña was bursting at the seams.  And incredibly, copas of Campo Viejo Rioja were only 80¢ each!

STUNNING NEW CHEESES

Bethmale Chèvre – This delicious washed-rind cheese from the Pyrenees is made exclusively with goat milk. It has a semi-firm texture with tiny eyes throughout, offering an airy delicate feel on the palate. Mildly goaty, nutty, slightly sweet and mushroomy.

Canzona Danablu – This one is for serious blue lovers! Pasteurized cows milk from Denmark. Piquant and tangy with a strong blue finish. Crumbles perfectly for salads and melts well over steaks and hamburgers. This is a stellar cheese for the price at $8.99/LB.

Torta de Oveja Caprichos de la Pastora – This limited production sheeps milk torta from Zamora is a rare and new addition to our extensive stock of Spanish Cheeses. In the same tradition as La Serena and Torta del Casar, this organic queso  is packed with a meadow of flavor.  Cut off the top and spoon out the über soft and gooey center. Rich, buttery, nutty, herbaceously sweet with a long piquant finish, Torta de Oveja Caprichos de la Pastora is perfectly complex;  the more you enjoy, the more nuances you discover!

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Discover Lustau Sherries

mano

Barrel Tasting Fino at Emilio Lustau

White washed villages resonate with Phoenician, Greek and Moorish history.  cab Fiery Andalucian horses, the ancestors of  Austrian Lipizzaners.    Flamenco, fiestas and alegria.  Shrimp, clams and sherry!   These are just some of the pleasures of Southern Spain.

Massive bodegas surrounding  the towns of Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlucar de Barremeda and El Puerta de Santa Maria announce that you’re in one of the three sherry producing towns in D.O. Jerez.   On our first trip to Jerez de la Frontera years ago, we made a beeline for Bodegas Emilio Lustau where Manolo, the general manager, led us through a tasting of 18 amazing sherries:   Some dry, some sweet, others with incredible complexity.   What an underappreciated wine! From that day forward, I’ve been a sherry aficionado.

An excellent opportunity to learn about Lustau’s sherries is coming up on Tuesday October 26th, 6:30 p.m. at Harvest Vine. Ignacio Lopez of Bodegas Emilio Lustau will be leading a tasting of nine sherries, paired with tapas.    The cost is $45.00 per person and there are only 20 spaces available, so call Harvest Vine right away to make a reservation: 206.320.9771. e ind The sherries to be tasted are:   Light Fino “Jarana”;  Puerto Fino;  Manzanilla Papirusa;  Amontillado Los Arcos;  Palo Cortado Peninsula;  Oloroso Pata de Gallina;  Deluxe Cream Catataz Andres;  East India Solera Sherry;  Moscatel St. Emilin.

NEW WINES:

2008 Temperamento Bobal, Utiel-Requena ($12.99) One of Spain’s lesser known indigenous grapes, Bobal has the potential to produce powerful reds from old vines.  The 2008 Temperamento  exhibits this robustness with an oaky structure from 6 months in French oak.  Ripe red cherry fruit  and cola notes have ample tannins and a clean finish.

2009 Achaval Ferrer Malbec, Mendoza ($21.99)  “A minerally spine drives this, with the core of damson plum, raspberry ganache and blackberry fruit staying sweet but racy and defined. Violet and graphite hints add length on the mouthwatering finish.”   91 points Wine Spectator

2009 La Cartuja Priorat ($14.99)  This is a stellar Priorat for the price!  Juicy red berry fruit with hints of mineral and dried herbs, it is a medium bodied red with silky tannins.   Aged in French oak for 8 months, it has a rich finish with spice and black cherry notes which linger on the palate.   La Cartuja completely over delivers.

We can’t get over how delicious the 2001 La Rioja Alta Viña Arana Reserva Rioja is!     2001 was a spectacular vintage which is eximplified in the Reservas and Gran Reservas that are now coming in.  2001 Viña Arana Reserva ($32.00) is packed with dried plum and cranberry which explodes on the palate.   An elegant texture with silky tannins leads into a lengthy, dry finish with notes of earth and tobacco.   This is so good that we bought the last four cases available from the distributor.

Choose from our stack of favorite 2001 Spanish reds:   2001 Luis Cañas Reserva de Familia Rioja ($33.00); 2001 Beronia Gran Reserva ($26.99); 2001 Rioja Bordon Gran Reserva ($22.99) and 2001 Bodegas Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva ($57.00).  Now is the time to stock up on these wines before they sell out!

ANNOUNCING “CHEESE OF THE MONTH!” We’ve worked out a new cheese program with our favorite distributor to bring better value to our loyal Queso customers. Each month, we’ll be offering special pricing on a selected cheese. This month’s selection is Amarelo, one of our tastiest Portuguese cheeses.  A handcrafted, small production cheese which usually retails for $27.99 per pound is now $22.99 per pound. Buy a whole wheel (1.5 Lb) and receive an additional 10% off!  Fresh and soft, it is a blend of sheep and goats milk from the Beira Baixa region. This astounding buttery, slightly piquant washed rind cheese has flavors of roasted onion, sea salt, notes of sweet lemon and a lingering savory finish with grassy overtones.   Cut the top off a and have your guest spread this insanely delicious cheese over a crusty baguette at your Halloween party!

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Cheese Festival & New Products

The biggest cheese party of the year is converging in Seattle this weekend! The American Cheese Society has chosen Seattle to host its annual Cheese Conference and Competition. With seminars being held at the Seattle Aquarium, Benaroya Hall and the Convention Center, The Spanish Table and Paris Grocery are at the epicenter of this Seattle Queso Quake. CheeseTo celebrate this event we’ve pulled out all the stops and we are carrying every rare delicious cheese we are able to get our hands on.   Stop by this weekend and taste some of these incredible quesos.  Some of the rare cheeses we’re featuring include:

Torta del Casar:  A staff favorite!  This famous Spanish cheese is so well-loved, only 10% of it is exported. Rich, buttery, nutty, herbaceously sweet with a long, piquant finish.  This raw sheep’s milk, washed-rind cheese from Extremadura takes 20 sheep milked twice daily to create one wheel of cheese.  Serve by cutting off the top and spooning out the delightfully oozy center.  This cheese is perfectly balanced and complex; the more you enjoy, the more nuances you discover!

Buenalba Iberico Reserve: This cheese combines the creaminess of cows’ milk, the tanginess of a sheeps’ milk and the kick that goats’ milk offers and combines them into a symphony of flavors that explode on the palate. Alfonzo Álvarz Valera, maker of 1yr. Artequeso Manchego, perfectly blends this unique Iberico with raw milk from his own herds at Finca La Prudenciana. The wheels are aged one year to allow this savory blend to fully develop. Wonderfully balanced, nutty and grassy with notes of sweet honey, a goat tang and a clean finish on the palate.

Picon Azul Deliciously blue and wonderfully spreadable! This creamy Asturian cheese starts out strong but ends with a soft and subtle salty finish. This cheese makes a perfect toasted baguette and grilled beef tenderloin sandwich. Give it a try; you know you’ll like it…

 

CHEESE DEMO ON SATURDAY

We will be holding a demo with Fromage Diva Extraordinaire, Raquel Danes from Forever Cheese at the Spanish Table on Saturday August 28th between 11:00 A.M. and 2:30pm. Raquel, a native of Vic, Catalunya will be coming from NYC to sample:

 

Azeitão – A small concentrated round of pasteurized sheeps milk cheese from Portugal. 

Abrigo – A 5-month-aged goat’s milk cheese in the format of Tronchón from the town of Catί in the region of Valencia.

Mitica® Apple Paste. This wonderful fruit pastes comes from our Membrillo producer in Valencia, Spain. They are completely natural, refreshing and flavorful. Apple Paste is perfect accoutrement for your cheese plate.

SOME GREAT WINES TO SERVE WITH CHEESE

2007 Pago de Valdoneje Mencia, Bierzo (ON SALE AT $10.99 - REGULAR PRICE $13.99) Produced from a tiny 5 hectare family estate from 60 to 100 year old vines, Pago de Valdoneje is a superb expression of the Mencia grape.  Black currant and savory red fruit flavors mingle in this full-bodied red.   With excellent balance and lively minerality, this vibrant red has a persistent finish.   For 3 generations, the Garcia family has been making wine for friends and family.  In 2001, they decided to begin exporting their wine as its reputation grew.  The winemaking is overseen by renowned  local enologist Raul Garcia.   Excellent with the earthy goat cheese Ibores.

2007 Almirez, Toro ($27.99)  The Eguren family, renowned winemakers of  Numanthia, sold that estate in 2006 and began producing Almirez from a new property. Made from 30 year old vines and aged 12 months in used French oak barrels, “…it displays an expressive nose of spice box, espresso, plum, and blackberry compote. Full-bodied on the palate with layers of savory black fruits, lots of spice, and enough fine-grained tannin to evolve for 1-2 years, it will drink beautifully from 2011 to 2019. It is an excellent value that over-delivers in a big way.”

91 points Wine Advocate Superb with Rosemary Manchego cheese.

2008 Flor de Pingus, Ribera del Duero ($80.00)  “The 2008 Flor de Pingus …offers up an enticing nose of smoke, Asian spices, incense, espresso, black cherry, and blackberry. On the palate it displays outstanding volume, intensity, and balance. Rich, dense, and succulent, it has enough structure to evolve for 4-5 years and will offer prime drinking from 2015 to 2028.
Owner/winemaker, Peter Sisseck, an oenologist originally from Denmark, started the estate in 1995; the flagship wine is Pingus. The vines for Flor de Pingus are all over 35 years of age and have been farmed biodynamically since 2005… Flor de Pingus is a very close approximation of Pingus at a fraction of the price. The wine is 100% Tempranillo typically aged for 14 months in new French barriques.”  96 points Wine Advocate Pairing Flor de Pingus with the incredible Serra da Estrella cheese is a hedonistic experience.

NEW IN STOCK

Trabanco cider from Asturias arrived yesterday! $11.99/700ml.Cheese

Another container arrived this week.  We now have Duc de Foix Extra Virgin Olive Oil back in stock.  Also we’ve restocked clay cazuelas in many sizes; and have a new shipment of our value-priced Zaitum extra virgin olive oil ($10.99/750 ml), and the Zaitum EVOO in the ceramic container ($14.99/500 ml).

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