Day of the Dead in Oaxaca

October 23rd, 2008

Next Tuesday night, we are flying off to Oaxaca for a week of tasting moles and steeping ourselves in the atmosphere of Los Dias de Muertos.   Rooted in pre-Columbian rituals, the annual, decorative ceremony pays respect to the departed.  The markets and park stalls will be filled with sugar skulls, paper-mache skeletons and marigolds. While we are gone, Isaac Rivera from our Santa Fe store will be helping out here in Seattle again.  If you met him when he was here last May, drop in and say hello.
Some new stuff now in the store:
COPPER CATAPLANAS: These Portuguese clam cookers are back in time for Christmas but at much higher prices ($80.00 to $160 each).  4 sizes, 23cm, 26cm, 29cm & 33cm.  New flat bottoms and shrink wrapped without being lacquered making them easier to use (Available Friday, October 24th).
BLACK GLAZED CAZUELAS: What we expect to be a one-time import, we have brought in some open cazuelas and some bean pots with lids glazed in black.  Our supplier gave us a price break on these so if we do import them again, it will be at a higher price.
EUROPEAN STYLE MUSTARDS Since 1996, our supplier Kitty Keller has wanted to import coarse mustard made with Banyuls vinegar, but couldn’t do it because U.S. Customs collects a 100% duty on all European mustards as a retaliatory tariff.  Eventually, she found a U.S. firm she liked and trusted to do her private recipes.  Here is her line‑up:
BANYULS MUSTARD:This is coarse mustard with French-Catalan Vinegar of Banyuls, a touch of water, mustard seeds, Spanish sea salt containing no anti‑caking or flowing agents and a dash of turmeric to keep the color.
DIJON MUSTARD: This is what Dijon style mustard should be: mustard seed, water, vinegar, sea salt.
DIJON TRUFFLE MUSTARD: The addition of a substantial ration of truffle bits and truffle essence to this silky mustard will take your jamon y queso on baguette up more than a notch.  What you will have is a heavenly bocadillo.
RUSSIAN MUSTARD: Not from Kitty Keller – a Gorbachev Babushka doll adorns the label of this post-cold war, imported hot mustard.
:  Spanish Table Exclusive!  This beautiful charcoal and grey rind wheel of cheese is made by the famous cheese maker, Josep of Nevat. A Catalonian original, this semi-firm goat cheese is bathed in vegetable oil and charcoal and aged for 90 days. The texture is creamy and slightly chalky. The flavors are sweetly herbaceous with mushroom overtones, and a subdued tangy finish.
DOM VILLAS QUEIJO DE VACA CURADO:  Dom Villas is a cow’s milk curado aged 6 months.  This Farmstead cheese is made on a small cooperative of four people near the costal area north of Porto Friesia, Portugal. The texture is creamy and springy. Dom Villas is washed in brine to enhance its herbaceous mildly piquant buttery flavors.
BLACK TRUFFLE SALT: Kitty also combines black winter truffle powder and truffle essence for flavor and truffle scent.  Election night, what could be better than a bottle of chilled Cava and popcorn dusted with Black Truffle Salt?
SAFFRON SALT: Simply stellar Spanish sea salt with bits of saffron threads and a tasty custom ground saffron powder.  This is terrific dusted over shrimp to be grilled or rubbed on chicken which turns a beautiful color when roasted and has great flavor!
PIQUILLO BLOW-OUT: This week, Napoleon Piquillo Peppers from Peru are a beat-the-Euro, low, low price of just $2.99 a jar. Stock up while our floor-stack lasts!
POEMA BRUT CAVA $8.99: Crisp night air and cool coastal waters translate into bright and juicy tasting citrus and sea shell which compliment this sparkler with its aromas of pears, toast and orange zest.  Price just reduced from $10.99!
NV ALANDRA RED ALENTEJO $6.99:  We mentioned this Portuguese wine in our email last week.  Saturday night, we took it to a wine tasting where it showed itself off in a blind tasting of 14 wines scoring in the top tier.  Bursting with flavor, it is the best value in the store right now.  Look for it on top of the wine barrel marked “Great Value.”
TERRAI BLANCO MACABEO CARIÑENA, $6.99: Floral, fruity, tropical flavors with a bit of a tart citrus finish makes this white wine perfect for sipping while you catch the latest election shenanigans.  Or turn off the TV and pair it with cheese and one of our fig jams.
NUNTIUS CARIÑENA ‘07, $12.99: After tasting 25 variations, Bellingham importer Basilio Grueso of Casa Ventura Imports came up with this power packed wine blended from garnacha, syrah and tempranillo.  Earthy and smokey with hints of rose petal, you won’t find a better bottle of wine under $15.00.  Look for the red label with a branch and a bird.
As we mentioned last week, Basilio and Andaluca Restaurant are putting on a Spanish Wine Dinner, this Friday October 24th.   A six course meal pairs a different wine with each plate that’s guaranteed to knock your socks off!  The cost is $99 per person.   For details or reservations, contact Andaluca Restaurant 206-382-6999 or email
PLAVAC CROATIAN RED DRY WINE: This Dalmatian red from the Dingnac winery is reminiscent of the village wines made in Spain 20 years ago and sold to people who brought their own 5 liter jug to the winery along with a handful of pesetas.  The donkey loaded with wicker saddle bags filled with grapes telegraphs its pre-Parkerian character, unspoiled by flattery or adulation.  At $15.99, it is neither a value nor a discovery but it is a trip down memory lane.  Drink it with eggplant baked in Ajvar.
BOOK:  SPAIN A Culinary Road Trip, Mario Batali with Gwyneth Paltrow: Companion to the PBS television series, this book is filed with fun photos of both food and celebrities; travel tips and great recipes.  Now in stock!
By the way, if you want to participate in Day of the Dead, here at The Spanish Table we have folding paper altars, greeting cards, books, papel picado banners, paper mache skulls and plastic molds for making sugar skulls so that you can have your own Day of the Dead celebration. We also have a range of Moles so you can prepare your own Day of the Dead feast.


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Filed under Books, Food, Portugal, Red Wine, Spain

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