YBARRA ANCHOVY STUFFED OLIVES are back in stock!   Our first visit to Ybarra’s Sevilla office a few years ago happened to be the day before La Feria de Abril began.  Javier, Ybarra’s export manager, invited us to join his group on opening day.  For this, the social event of the year, men wear suits and shiny shoes and women dress in the latest flamenco fashion with colorful picos (scarves).    Sevillianos ride horses groomed and polished to their hooves and tote a glass around their neck for sipping sherry.
NEW SHIPMENT OF VALOR CHOCOLATES arrived this week!   Valor has been a master chocolatier since 1881 and operates irresistible chocolate shops all over Spain. Located in the seaside town of Villajoyosa Alicante, a chocolate industry sprang up in this region when fishermen brought chocolate back from Ghana.   Stopping at the factory in 2006, we were given a tour which ended in the tasting room and discovered chocolates that we simply had to bring in.   We’ve now got dark chocolate bars flavored with orange, banana or pear ($3.69 per 3.5 oz bar).   Small boxes of Bombones – great for stocking stuffers! – are $5.39.  Decorative tins of Bombones (10.5 oz) are $19.99.
BOQUERONES ON SALE: White anchovies.  Special price, regularly $11.99; now $6.99 while they last.
Every December we feature an extra selection of highly prized cheeses from Spain and Portugal.    Our holiday line up began arriving this week:
Currently we have a nice fat wheel of Nevat, our fourth Catalan cheese in the case. I can’t think of any other cheese that would better kick off the season with a lively glass of Cava. Maker Josep Cuixart takes same-day goat milk from his own herd and hangs the curds in a cheese cloth until it looks like a snow capped Mountain. (Nevat means snow in English.)  Nevat can be positively oozy in its old age, or like a firm brie, but it captivates with a chalky core of sweet tang.
Torta Del Casar: Fantastic sheep’s milk cheese from Extremadura.   Salty, herbaceous almost spoonable; with artichoke rennet.
Cabra Quinta Da Gardunha: Creamy Portuguese goat’s milk cheese, fresh and slightly tangy with a grassy piquant flavor.
Dom Villas: Springy textured cow’s milk cheese to complement your Portuguese cheese platter.
Sao Jorge: Wonderfully piquant, intense and creamy, it pairs perfectly with Linguica.
All of these Portuguese are made with vegetarian rennet.
NEW FLAMENCO CD: Cantaora La Tana was discovered by Paco de Lucia and performs on his CD “Cositas Buenas.”   “Tu, Ven A Mi” is La Tana’s first solo release and features producer Paco de Lucia on acoustic guitar.  This compelling CD is a must-have for any flamenco afficionado. 
KUDOS TO THE WINE PRESS for taking notice of the amazing wines coming out of Spain and Portugal!   The Wine Spectator’s Dec. 15 issue features wines from Spain and enthuses over Rioja:   “Today, no other region can deliver such quality, value and diversity.”
Some of the highly recommended wines that we’ve got in stock:
2007 Adega Condes de Albarei Albariño, Riax Baixas ($13.99) “Focused and distinctive… Complex yet balanced.”  90 points Wine Spectator
1998 Lopez de Heredia Viña Gravonia Crianza Rioja ($27.99) “R. Lopez de Heredia continues to carry the flag for traditional white Riojas, made with Viura long-aged in American oak; its Viña Gravonia Crianza is unique, with toasted hazelnut, lemon confit and lanolin notes, firm and delicate.”  91 points Wine Spectator
2005 Quinta de Cabriz Dao Reserva ($19.99) “Powerful, dripping with rich, dark plum and mocha.”  89 points Wine Spectator
2004 LAN Rioja Reserva $17.99 “Silky, expressive” 90 points Wine Spectator
2005 Condado de Haza, Ribera del Duero ($29.99) “Shows focus and depth, on a supple frame.” 93 points Wine Spectator
2001 Bodegas Luis Cañas Selección de la familia Reserva Rioja ($33.00)       “This lively red has a syrupy texture, yet crisp acidity, showing kirsch, cassis, vanilla and licorice flavors.  It’s dense and focused, with well integrated tannins.”  90 points Wine Spectator
2005 LAN Edition Limitada ($50.00) “Intense, vibrant, a great value” 91 points Wine Spectator
2005 Bodegas El Nido Jumilla ($150.00) “Muscular, with a distinctive meaty note, Bodegas El Nido is the top producer…  It’s 2005 adds Cabernet Sauvignon to the mix and shows blueberry, mineral and tar flavors.”   94 points Wine Spectator
Highly recommended from Argentina:
2005 Luigi Bosca Malbec Reserva ($19.99) “A big, broad-shouldered wine, with muscular layers of black fig, coffee, bittersweet cocoa and dark licorice.”  91 points Wine Spectator
2007 Viña Doña Paula Malbec ($12.99) “Dark and winy, delivering warm currant paste, cocoa powder and Turkish coffee notes, with solid grip on the fleshy finish.”  90 points Wine Spectator
SPANISH WINE DINNER Casa Ventura Imports is teaming up with Restaurant Perché No for a Mediterranean culinary event on Wednesday December 10 at 6:30 p.m.   Spanish wines will be paired with a 5 course Italian dinner, accompanied by a live opera singer and an olive oil tasting.    Perché No is located in the Greenlake neighborhood and the cost is $75.00 per person.   For reservations or more information, call 206-547-0222.


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