Red, Hot and Sweet Specialties for Valentine’s Day

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter                                                       February 9, 2012 

In case you haven’t heard, Valentine’s Day is next Tuesday. While I’m always receptive to a box of chocolates and flowers, a romantic meal at home is my favorite way to celebrate the occasion. And whether you’re spending time with a sweetheart or with friends, it’s a perfect time to indulge with special foods and wine. For young loves, the boxes of Spanish heart candy are perfect for children studying Spanish ($1.49 each) and really fun to boot!

Red is the color of Valentine’s Day – add its festiveness to the meal by lighting red candles.  skewer Or offer a cheese appetizer on red heart skewers ($3.99/12). We recommend using Mitica Gotes Catalanes, soft goat cheese balls flavored with garlic and parsley. Serve a rosé bubbly such as Dibon Rosado Cava ($11.99). Made from Spain’s indigenous Trepat grape, Dibon Cava is a dry sparkler with flavors of strawberry and cherry and a delightful creamy texture. Play a passionate Flamenco CD such as Tomatito’s Paseo de los Castañoes and the evening is off to a great start.

Add heat to your main course by using Palacio Chorizo Picante or Hot, Smoked Paprika. Mussels Steamed in Cava in a Cataplana from The Spanish Table cookbook is a spicy and fast dish to prepare (see recipe below). After all, Valentine’s Day is on Tuesday night! fanHave one of our Valentine fans on hand in case anyone gets overheated.

The meal should definitely end with sweets.   Keep it simple on a weeknight by enjoying our assortment of chocolate truffles ($7.99), a large Blanxart Dark Chocolate Bar with Almonds ($8.99) or a Delaviuda Tarta de Santiago (almond cake coated with chocolate – $6.99).   Serve 1997 Cossart Gordon Colheita Bual Madeira ($40.00/500 ml) with any of these desserts. It’s butterscotch and caramel notes are rich with a hint of spice and a delicious, persistent finish. Excellent with chocolate or nuts.


We’ve brought in a new color of clay cookware – chocolate – and it looks terrific with the honey colored baking dishes.   Available in cazuelas and tajines.

Ybarra Olives are back in stock!

Anchovy stuffed olives, in large, medium, mini 3-pack tins and 8.4 oz jars

ybPlain Ybarra Manzanilla Olives in snack-size plastic bags.


NV Totus Tuus Cava Brut ($16.99) is our current favorite sparkler. “…aged for 17 months on its lees. It reveals a beautiful frothy mousse, fragrant aromas from the Chardonnay, plenty of glycerin, and a Champagne-like personality at a fraction of the price.”   89 points Wine Advocate

2007 Jane Ventura Brut Reserva de la Musica ($14.99) A small family run winery, Jane Ventura is artisanal and hands-on; the earnestness for quality over quantity has made their wines sought after by local consumers since 1914.  2007 Brut Reserva de la Musica is aged on the lees for 30 months. Fresh and rich, this low dosage cava has notes of pear, brioche and toast with a dry and crisp finish. It has a mousse of beautiful bubbles.

2004 Llopart Gran Reserva Brut Nature ($29.99)   This limited production, vintage cava has been aged a minimum of 48 months on the lees.   Its fine and refined bubbles have a complex bouquet of butter, yeast, and elegant spicy notes. Light flavors of orchard fruit have a creamy texture; the crisp acidity and prolonged aging tones have a persistent and dry finish. This will delight any lover of bubbly.


NV Aqua d’Or Floralis ($19.99) Sipping this sweet moscatel from Penedes is like drinking nectar. Floralis has aromas of lemon verbena, orange and seductive floral notes. Its concentrated flavors of almond and citrus have a zippy acidity which keeps it refreshing and simultaneously unctuous. Serve it chilled as an aperitif or at room temperature with desserts.   And it comes in a beautiful bottle!

Emilio Lustau Emperatriz Eugenia Very Rare Oloroso ($40.00) Our best Oloroso, it has enormous body with an aromatic bouquet. Exquisite, complex, butter and caramel flavors have a seemingly endless finish.   You’ll keep coming back for more of this medium dry sherry.   Spectacular!

NOE Pedro Ximénez Viejo ($47.00/375 ml) Matured in oak barrels for 30+ years, NOE is a rare “VORS” sherry, which is aged-certified by the Jerez Consejo Regulador to ensure quality and authenticity.   With irresistible aromas of honey and butterscotch, NOE is an ambrosial of roasted walnuts, coffee, dried fig and spices.   The finish lasts a full minute on the palate with traces of raisin and caramel.   This is an absolutely sensational PX!


Seafood and sparkling wines not only belong together, but they are said, by people who should know, to have the components of an aphrodisiac. Therefore we suggest drinking the cava remaining in the bottle as this dish cooks. The recipe does not include garlic for obvious reasons. The decadent touch of the addition of shrimp meat adds complexity and color.

Serves 2

1 tablespoon Olive Oil

¼ cup Minced chives

1 dozen Green pepper corns packed in brine, rinsed, crushed with pestle

½ pound Palacios picanté chorizo, sliced

¼ teaspoon Grated lemon zest

¼ cup Cava

½pound Baby shrimp meat

½ pound Mussels, washed and de-bearded

Heat olive oil in a medium cataplana,.

Stir in chives, crushed green pepper corns, lemon zest and cava and heat just to boil.

Add shrimp and mussels and clamp lid of cataplana closed.

Cook for five minutes or until all the mussels are open.


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