Christmas in London

CHRISTMAS IN LONDON:  Two of The Spanish Table alumni have relocated to merry olde England. Libby managed the Seattle store, then opened our Berkeley store in 2001, and is now attending graduate school in London.  Megan Keister has relocated to Expedia’s London office. They both are looking forward to a Dickens of a Christmas!
GREAT GIFTS; SUPER STOCKING STUFFERS:  Here at The Spanish Table, we’re loaded with gifts and stocking stuffers that are practical and useful.  A dozen new cookbooks with recipes from places as diverse as Spain’s El Bulli to the villages of Turkey.  Black cazuelas and bean pots.  Olive wood bowls and spatulas. 2009 Calendars.  Plus a full range of tagines both for cooking and serving the exotic dish we fell in love with during our visit to Morocco last May as well as the flavorful, aromatic spices that bring the Kasbah home.
FOOD PRODUCTS: For the holiday host and hostess, we have cured meats and gourmet cheese and an unmatched selection of Spanish, Portuguese and Argentine wines as well as ports Sherries and Madeiras in a full range of prices to fill any entertainment or gift needs.
CHOCOLATE COVERED ALFAJORES!  Argentina’s Dulce de Leche filled treats!
PECES BRAND FIGURITAS DE MAZAPÁN: Direct from Consuegra (Toledo) Spain.
CATALAN OLIVES:  Bold and spicy Catalan green olives. These large green olives have semi-soft flesh and are marinated in celery, garlic, curry and hot pepper. Those of you that like it picante will enjoy these olives for sure!
LOMO FROM SPAIN: We now stock Palacios brand Lomo Embuchado!  Made in La Rioja, the cured pork tenderloin is seasoned with garlic, smoky pimentón, and sea salt. Slice and serve, or make a simple sandwich with an olive oil-brushed baguette and slices of young Manchego.
O DE OLIVA: Varietal olive oils from three of Spain’s great olives.  Choose from sweet Cuquillo, fruity Hojiblanca or bold, bitter Picual.  Experience the difference!
NUTELLA, COCOKREM OR NOCILLA?  My niece and I discovered Nutella last year when we were riding horses in Ireland.  Each afternoon we’d treat ourselves to biscuits topped with the delightful hazelnut-chocolate spread and now it’s my daily habit!  Cokokrem from Turkey is thicker with more chocolate flavor.  My favorite is still the Nocilla from Spain.  Rich and creamy, its dense chocolate will satisfy any chocoholic.
Our CHEESE CASE is burgeoning with many, many delectable cheeses!  Here are a few selections and recommendations for combining them into a cheese platter.
TORTA DEL CASAR from Extremadura is one of Spain’s most famous cheeses.  Rich and buttery, this raw sheep’s milk, washed-rind cheese takes 20 sheep milked twice daily to create just one wheel of cheese. Serve by cutting off the top and spooning out the delightfully oozy center.   Due to its delicate nature, it is sold only as a full wheel.
MAHON ARTISANAL: The famous cheesemonger, Stephen Jenkins, is quoted as saying, “Mahon: what Gouda wished it could be.” Mahon Artisanal is the raw milk version of this cheese–rarely brought to the U.S.! This cow’s milk cheese from Menorca has a golden orange rind with a sharp, salty, buttery, interior. Mahon can hold its own with many of Spain’s sheep and goat milk cheeses, and is my #1 recommendation for pairing on a cheese platter. 
SUGGESTED CHEESE AND PATE PLATTERS:
Catalan Platter
:  Drap, Ros, Montcabrer, Nevat
Portuguese Platter:  Dom Villas, Queijo Amarelo, Queijo Cabra Quinta
Basque Platter:  Montcayol, Kaikou, Le Bleu de Basque, Idiazabal                       
Artisanal Platter:  Mahon Artisanal, Roncal, Monte Enebro, Peña Corado
Pate Platter: Truffle Mousse, Coarse Campangne with cornichons and dry cured black.olives.
NEW WINES THIS WEEK:
We have too many wonderful wines under $15 (even under $10) to enumerate them here but if you are having a party, we can put a great wine in your guest’s hands with busting your budget.
2007 Tres Picos Garnacha, Campo de Borja $15.99 New vintage!   Just off the boat and already drinking better than the 2006, this is a rich and balanced garnacha.   Produced from low yielding vineyards, Tres Picos has concentrated flavors of blackberries and strawberries with notes of black pepper, vanilla and plums.   90 points Stephen Tanzer
2005 Pago Florentino, La Mancha $19.99 100% Cencibel (called Tempranillo in other parts of Spain), this is a staff favorite.   Lavishly oaked and teeming with ripe black fruit, this is an unctuous and modern wine.   Full bodied with notes of smoke and balanced with fine acidity and a long spicy finish, this is all around a delicious wine.  
2006 Alto Moncayo Veraton Campo De Borja $23.99 Veraton arrived a week ago and we scooped up 18 bottles before the distributor sold out.  “Very spicy on the nose, which displays blackberry, blueberry, white pepper and cinnamon qualities.  Sappy dark berry flavors combine intensity with depth, picking up candied licorice with air.   … This went through several changes in the glass and is utterly delicious now.”   91 points Stephen Tanzer                 
2006 Alto Moncayo Campo De Borja $42.00 12 bottles available “Impressively complex, seductive bouquet of dark berry preserves, tobacco, graphite, and smoky Indian spices.  Pliant black raspberry and candied cherry flavors are enlivened by zesty minerals and firmed by fine-grained tannins.  An exotic floral pastille quality emerges with air and carries into the finish, which is strikingly sweet, lively and persistent.”  93 points Stephen Tanzer
2005 Alvaro Palacios Les Terrasses Priorat ($38.00) “A more affordable introduction to his intense, elegant style.”   90 points Wine Spectator
COLLECTOR’S CORNER
2000 Marques de Murrieta Ygay Gran Reserva Especial Rioja $57.00 “Offers up an enticing perfume of cedar, pencil lead, earth notes and black fruits… a supple textured, layered wine with ample black cherry.” 93 points Wine & Spirits, 90 points Robert Parker2005 Bodegas y Vinas Dos Victorias Gran Elias Mora Toro $83.00 “Has an iron grip now, but there’s impressive concentration.  Shows rich cassis, coffee, anise and tar notes.”   2 bottles available   95 points Wine Spectator
2005 Bodegas y Vinas Dos Victorias Elias Mora Crianza Toro  $40.00 “Best value which shows a core of cassis, currant and espresso flavors.”  93 points Wine Spectator
2004 Bodegas y Vinedos Maurodos San Roman Toro ($57.00) “Alluring plum, blackberry, cola and spice cake flavors are rich and balanced in this expressive red…”  94 points Wine Spectator  One of Wine Spectator’s Top 15 Spanish Wines of 2008
WARRES VINTAGE PORTS:   We’ve just received a limited number of these ports:
1980 Vintage $109.00 “A solid port from an unsung vintage.”
1985 Vintage $112.00 “… Grape, chocolate and plum.  Full and chewy.”  91 points Wine Spectator
1991 Vintage $90.00 “Raisiny and very sweet, with plum and prune flavors.”  90 points Wine Spectator
1994 Vintage $103.00 …”fabulous concentration and complex character.  Full bodied, with velvety tannins… Beautiful wine.  Best after 2008.”   95 points Wine Spectator
RESTAURANT NEWS:  We were thrilled when highly regarded Spanish restaurant Taberna del Alabardero opened yesterday in the former Cascadia location on First Avenue in Belltown.  We noshed on a fantastic array of tapas at their Sevilla location a few years ago and will be checking out their Seattle location very, very soon!  Their Washington D.C. location was named the “best Spanish restaurant outside of Spain.”  Purple Wine Bar’s newest venture, Barrio is now open on 12th, near Pike.  Modern Mexican in a space saturated in ambience, terrific food at wallet-friendly prices and a great wine list.

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Filed under Cheese, Food, Port, Red Wine

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