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Special Valentine’s Day Treats

Spanish Table Seattle & Paris Grocery Newsletter

February 11, 2007

Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year — and unless you’ve missed the ads, you know that it’s coming up this weekend! On Sundays we like to leisurely cook something that we don’t have time to fix during the week, and Valentine’s Day seems like a great excuse to prepare something stellar. Here is a superb starter that we’ll be serving, from The Spanish Table cookbook:


The sweet tanginess of Piquillo peppers enhance the richness of the Dungeness crab, and the sherry adds sinfully Spanish aromas. The peppers are as red as hearts pulsing love!

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons Amontillado or Cream Sherry

¼ pound Dungeness Crab meat

6 whole Piquillo Peppers

½ cup Dry White wine

1 tablespoon Minced parsley

1 tablespoon Marcona almonds, ground in a food processer

Make a white sauce by melting 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook the flour in it until it begins to sizzle, then add the milk and whisk until thickened. Divide the white sauce into two equal portions. Filling: Whisk sherry into half of the white sauce over low heat until fully incorporated. Remove from heat and fold in the crab. Let cool while you make the sauce. Sauce:Combine the remaining white sauce with the wine, heat and then whisk in the ground almonds and half the parsley. Assembly: Holding the Piquillo peppers suspended between your thumb and forefinger, spoon the stuffing into them. Place the peppers in a 10 inch cazuela, the points toward the center so they form a “rose.” Spoon sauce over stuffed peppers and heat in 350º oven until peppers are hot to center (20 minutes). Sprinkle reserved minced parsley across the top.


St. Valentine’s Day Cheeses from Paris Grocery

Coeur du Bray (pictured above): According to legend, the young maidens of Neufchâtel-en-Bray offered this cheese to their gallant English conquerors during the wars in the Middle Ages. This heart-shaped, brie-style cheese will win you over with its creamy texture and mild yet earthy flavor.

Gres des Vosges: Alsace is full of beautiful cherry trees from which the farmers make their own local kirsch. Each oval of this cow’s milk cheese is washed with this subtle cherry brandy, which lends a fruity aroma. Slightly salty flavors and a luscious texture make this a favorite! Each cheese is decorated with either herbs or paprika in the shape of a heart.

This very morning, we received two huge shipments of jams, mustards, salts, and other goodies! More on the new favorites next week, or you can check out our Facebook page for the latest updates and ideas.

St Valentine’s Day Wines from Paris Grocery

Celebrate with a sparkling wine!

Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Blanc de Blanc ($19.99) Domaine Lucien Albrecht is one of the oldest and leading Alsace family owned estate, tracing its roots back to 1425. The hand picked fruit for the Blanc de Blanc is produced by “méthode traditionnelle”, which is the true Champagne method. Made from 100% from Pinot Blanc, it is distinguished by a fine bead, a beautiful straw color; and a light, delicate palate. This elegant cremant is delicious with soft goat cheeses.

N.V. Diebolt-Vallois Champagne ($33.00/375 ml) One of the few grower-producers in Champagne, Jacques Diebolt was previously named the “Champagne Producer of the Year.” Diebolt uses only the grapes from his own Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards in the village of Cramant, and oversees every step of the fermentation and blending to create a truly memorable champagne. “Fresh lemon, lime and tangerine on the nose. Light in body but powerful, offering tangy citrus and orchard fruit flavors and a subtle honeysuckle undertone. Impeccably balanced, strikingly pure Champagne that finishes sappy and long. A classic display of chardonnay from the grand cru village of Cramant. 91 points Stephen Tanzer


NV Torre Oria Brut Nature Cava ($16.99) Most cavas are produced in Penedes, just south of Barcelona but Torre Oria hails from Utiel-Requena, a very hot region just inland from Valencia. A blend of 90% Macabeo and 10% Parellada, it is aged 36 months on the lees and is the driest style of cava. Pale golden, bright, it has very fine and abundant bubbles. Magnificent presence on the palate, very dry, powerful and leaving a lingering aftertaste. Elegant.

2005 Marques de Gelida Brut Exclusive Reserva ($14.99) Vins El Ceps S.L. is a partnership of four families who have been cultivting grapes and making wine since the 15th Century. To produce Marques de Gelida, grapes are selected from the best estate-owned vineyards. A blend of Macabeo, Xarel.lo, Parellada and Chardonnay, the Brut Exclusive has been aged for 36 months on the lees, which gives a creamy edge to the fruity and citrus flavors. Just off bone dry, it is clean and fresh, with excellent balance and a long, delicate finish.

2007 Augusti Torello Mata Rosat ($24.99) Agusti Mata is the maker of cult-cava Kripta, and he is one of the few to still producer a Rosé cava from the traditional Trepat grape. Fine and persistent bubbles form a consistent rosary and dense crown. Aromas of wild strawberry and cherry have a background of mint. On the palate, it is complex and meaty, yet light and very, very dry. It is well balanced and has a pleasant, well-harmonized medium intensity finish that brings back the aromas of fresh mint.

NV Cavas Hill Brut de Brut Reserva ($9.99) A delicious budget sparkler, Cavas Hill is made in the traditional method, with fermentation in the bottle and ageing on the lees for 20 months. It’s loaded with clean and crisp pear aromas and fine, delicate bubbles. Green apple flavors provide freshness and the persistent finish ends on a satisfying dry note. Great with seafood!

2001 Bacalhôa Moscatel de Setúbal ($15.99) This spectacular dessert wine really over delivers! Made of 100% Moscatel de Setúbal, the grapes are fortified with brandy, macerated on skins for 5 to 6 months, then aged for a minimum of three years in small used oak barrels. A rich dessert wine with plenty of lift, it has aromas of orange tree flower, tea, nutmeg and raisins. Smooth, sweet and fresh, it has a persistent finish that will keep your lips smacking. Serve this with chocolate covered figs!

Rabitos (chocolate covered figs) are back in stock! We have individually wrapped pieces, 3 piece boxes, 9 piece and 16 piece boxes. Give these to your special chocolate lover for St. Valentines Day!


Celebrate and taste these historic wines at a winemaker dinner on Friday, February 26th at Andaluca Restaurant in Seattle. Established in 1879, Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España (CUNE) is one of the best selling producers of Rioja. Join David Tindall of Pasternak Wine Importers at Andaluca Restaurant for a five course dinner, featuring the wines of Cune and Viña Real. Chef Wayne Johnson has created a fantastic menu to compliment each wine. Click the link for details.

To kick off the CUNE dinner, we’re featuring the tasty 2006 Cune Crianza Rioja ($12.99) right now at a new lower price! Warm ripe black cherry, notes of earth and minerals make up the Cune Crianza, and it’s “Fresh red and dark berry aromas are complemented by suave floral and mineral qualities. Pliant, juicy raspberry and blackberry flavors suggest a strong dose of garnacha, but there’s actually just a few percent in here… This is drinking well right now.” Stephen Tanzer

Shop from home on The Spanish Table’s websites! The Spanish Table wine website has everything you’re looking for from Spain, Portugal, Madeira, or South America. Orders are shipped from our Berkeley CA store which may have different inventory and prices than our Seattle store.

For products other than wine, click on The Spanish Table to purchase food, books, cookware and other products.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day!


Sharon Baden and Steve Winston, Owners

The Spanish Table, 1426 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.2827

Hours: Monday- Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM. Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM

Paris Grocery, 1418 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.0679

Hours: Tuesday- Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM. Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM. Paris Grocery is closed on Mondays

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Unique Picks from Celebrated Wine Regions

The best of the border! Spano-Franco tapas showcase the tastiest from both stores’ shelves.

Spanish Table Seattle & Paris Grocery Newsletter

January 28, 2010

Spanish Table Wines

Travel off the beaten path with these unique picks from the famed wine regions of Rioja, Douro, and Mendoza!

2008 Monopole Blanco Rioja ($12.99) Round and creamy, this is 100% Viura is a knockout white to serve during the winter months. “Light, green-tinged yellow. Lively aromas of white peach, pear, nectarine, honey and minerals. Dense and chewy, but the flavors of nectarine and orchard fruits are kept fresh by zesty acidity and a minty quality. Slightly dry-edged on the finish, which features good spicy lift and a suggestion of fennel.” Excellent with gambas al ajillo. 87 points Stephen Tanzer

2007 CARM Quinto do Côa, Douro ($17.99) Full-bodied and lush, this brawny Portuguese red packs a punch. “A plush red, with a pretty array of raspberry and plum flavors that are supple and supported by medium-grained tannins. Notes of milk chocolate and cream fill the plush finish.” If you’re a fan of Washington Cabernet Sauvignon, you will love this with barbecued ribs. 91 points Wine Spectator

2008 25 Lagunas Cabernet-Syrah, Mendoza ($6.99) Malbec from Argentina usually takes center stage, but this fruity and well-balanced blend really got our attention. Ripe red and black fruits on the front palate are supported by soft tannins and notes of white pepper on the finish. Very quaffable, this would be a perfect red to serve at a party, or to share on a mellow evening with friends. It’s an amazing value!

Back in stock: Gem Basque Chorizo, Manna Pate de Sardinha Picante, and Kalamata Crown Figs from Greece.


Maybe we’re just missing the warmth of the bright yellow sun, but lately we’re obsessed with Mimolette and its cousin, Pavé du Nord, two ridiculously orange cheeses from the north of France. We admit, it took some tasting to fully appreciate the Mimolette: first of all, it looks like a cantaloupe from Mars, and all we knew was that it was Charles de Gaulle’s favorite (generals not generally being our preferred source for food advice). The texture is, as the French would say, un peu bizarre: when cold, it takes an effort to slice through, and it is so dense that you often end up with only shavings. The flavor seems muted at first, but as it melts on the tongue, deeply savory and nutty notes come through. It’s as though a glamorous, Vespa-riding Parmesan picked up a proper English Cheddar on the road from Lille to Rennes, and they rode off into the sunset together. Yes, it may have taken some time (and arm muscles) for us to fall under Mimolette’s spell, but now we can’t stop thinking of ways to use it in recipes both retro and innovative.

Clotilde Dusoulier, of Chocolate and Zucchini fame, has a fantastic use for the inedible rind of Mimolette, in her Broccoli Mimolette Soup. The rind adds a nutty edge to the soup while it simmers that lasts after you discard it.

While the Pavé du Nord has the same rich taste, its more tender texture makes it an excellent melting cheese. We love it broiled over tomato slices on rustic brown bread. And a Mac & Cheese made with either results in an unpretentious, incredibly savory gratin.

Mac et Mimolette


1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs

1/4 tsp piment d’espelette

1/2 cup lb coarsely grated Mimolette or Pavé du Nord (1 1/2 cups)

1/8 cup coarsely grated Cantal

Pasta and sauce

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1/6 lb coarsely grated Mimolette or Pavé du Nord (1 cup)

1/6 lb coarsely grated Cantal (1 cup)

1/4 pound elbow macaroni or farafalle

Melt butter, then stir together with bread crumbs, piment and topping cheeses in a bowl until combined well.

Melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in flour. Cook roux, stirring, 3 minutes, then whisk in milk. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in cheeses, salt and pepper to taste.

Cook macaroni in boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water and drain macaroni in a colander. Stir together macaroni, reserved cooking water, and sauce in a large bowl. Transfer to a buttered shallow baking dish. Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes. Serves 4.

Also new at Paris Grocery: Vignette Wine Country Sodas and Lillet Blanc and Rouge!

Shop from home on The Spanish Table’s websites!

The Spanish Table wine website has wines arranged by staff pick, by score, by price, and by country. Our virtual wine store has everything you’re looking for from Spain, Portugal, Madeira, or South America. Click The Spanish Table Wine to visit the site. Orders are shipped from our Berkeley CA store which may have different inventory and prices than our Seattle store.

For products other than wine, click on The Spanish Table to purchase food, books, cookware and other products.

Have a great week and we’ll see you soon!


Sharon Baden and Steve Winston, Owners

The Spanish Table, 1426 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.2827

Hours: Monday- Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM. Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM

Paris Grocery, 1418 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.0679

Hours: Tuesday- Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM. Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM. Paris Grocery is closed on Mondays

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Spanish Table Seattle & Paris Grocery Newsletter

December 17, 2009

Sharon is SO BUSY stocking wine, beer, cava and French champagne that she asked me to write the newsletter today so here goes….

Christmas week is a time to enjoy great food and wine. We give diets a rest to enjoy rich seasonal foods and indulge our sweet tooth. Whether friends drop in, families come by, or you just snuggle up by the fire, there is time to pay attention to flavors. The deli cases at both The Spanish Table and Paris Grocery are brimming with specialty cheeses and cured meats. Our wine departments are overflowing with the best from Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Greece, France and even Morocco.

Short on time? Shop on line on our new and improved websites!

The Spanish Table wine website is now launched! We’ve got amazing wine values which are arranged by staff pick, by score, by price, and by country. This virtual wine store has everything that you’re looking for from Spain, Portugal, Madeira, or South America. Click The Spanish Table wine to visit the site.

For all food and cookware products, click on The Spanish Table to check out our original and now revamped, website. It’s much easier to navigate and has a plethora of additional items. Now you can shop at home for Spanish food and wine!


Paella Kit: with paellera that serves eight plus ingredients already packed in a gift box.

Meanwhile, we have oodles of little jars of delicious spreads in both our stores here on Western Ave that can be used to stuff a stocking or fill a gift basket.


pecial price on THE SPANISH TABLE cookbook: regularly $30.00 specially priced for the holidays at $24.00.

For those who love Greek food, we just received the How to Roast a Lamb cookbook ($35.00) by Michael Psilakis. Called the “Greek-American Mario Batali” by The New Yorker and best new chef by Food and Wine magazine, this is a must-have Greek cookbook.

Madeira gift boxes: A bottle in a wooden box with two Madeira glasses, $19.99.

By the way, did you catch the column on pairing a Sercial Madeira with charred skirt steak in the New York Times food section this week? Click the hyperlink to read the article, in case you missed it.

Undecided on what to give someone? We have good old fashioned gift certificates available in any amount of your choice.

Just arrived today is a huge assortment of dulces de Navidad: Handmade turrón from Pablo Garrigos. Turrón sin Azúcar if you have dietary restrictions. Pan de Cadiz. Chocolate turrón, mazapanes con chocolate and speaking of chocolate, La Casa pralines are here with filling of Catalan Creme, Pine Nuts & Raisins, Orange, Baked Apple, Tocinillo de Cielo & Lemon Sorbet.

Did I hear you ask what Sharon and I are drinking with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners at our house?

On Christmas Eve Sharon loves our tradition of dining on fresh Dungeness Crab accompanied with steamed artichokes, crunchy baguette and lemon mayonnaise. That calls for either dry La Gitana Manzanilla Sherry ($15.99), cold and crisp Santiago Ruiz Albariño ($19.99) or bone-dry, Torre Oria Brut Nature Cava ($16.99).

Then on Christmas day I will insist on pouring vintage Riojas with a menu chosen to match the wines. We all have our priorities. I am thinking of starting with a plate of French cheeses from our annex, Paris Grocery. Then we’ll move onto a frisée salad tossed with a goat’s milk blue cheese (just arrived this week at Paris Grocery) and a whole goose, since finding a suckling pig to roast might be a challenge. The dessert will be pears poached in Moscatel from The Spanish Table cookbook.

The wines: We will be starting with a 2004 Deobriga Rioja ($21.99) and moving onto a 2001 Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva Rioja ($57.00). These two vintages were rated excellent in Spain will bring tears of joy to the eyes of a lover of traditional wines. Then we’ll wrap it up with Samos Moscato wine from Greece ($17.99).

We have some of the greatest Rioja vintages ever right now, including, but not limited to:

Bordón Reserva 2004 $17.99

Muga Reserva 2005 $28.99

LAN 2001 Gran Reserva: $22.99

Beronia 2001 Gran Reserva $25.99

Viña Bosconia Reserva 2001 ($38.99) R. Lopez Heredia’s extended aging times actually qualify this as a Gran Reserva from any other winery. 93 points Stephen Tanzer


Our new shop features French cheeses and wine, and other foods with a French mood. It’s located 1/4 of a block south of Spanish Table at 1418 Western Avenue.

FRENCH CHAMPAGNES HAVE ARRIVED! Champagne Duval-Leroy Cuvee Paris NV ($35.00) One of the best values in Champagnes available right now, and it’s got a Leroy Neiman silk screen of a Paris street scene on the bottle. Pop this open over the holidays with your favorite Franco-phile!


The Champagne region in France is dominated by a handful of brand names.

These négoçiants and coopératives produce 80% of the total output in Champagne, yet they own only 12% of the vineyards. They bring to marked a mass produced commodity – a Champagne made in a “house style.” By contrast, “récoltant-manipulants” (or RMs) handcraft their limited quantities of Champage from individual villages and parcels where the inherent qualities of the vineyards imprint themselves into the wines. The following two RMs are outstanding, and represent great values in Champagne values as well.

Margaine Brut Cuvee Traditionelle NV ($45.00) “The NV Brut Cuvee Traditionelle is an exceptional wine at this level. Notes of ash, chalk and crushed rocks dominate this taut, focused Champagne. Medium in body, the wine reveals tons of clarity not to mention significant pedigree. The NV Brut is mostly 2005 juice, with the addition of 40% reserve wines from vintages 2004, 2003, 1999, 1996 and 1994, 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir. The relatively high amount of reserve wines undoubtedly contributes to this Champagne’s complexity…Arnaud Margaine’s wines..are Champagnes of extraordinary purity and sheer elegance. Margaine farms 6.5 hectares, 90% planted to Chardonnay, the rest Pinot Noir.”

90 points Robert Parker

L. Aubry NV Brut Champagne ($40.00) Twin brothers Pierre and Philippe Aubry handcraft their Champagnes from 60 individual parcels that comprise 16.5 hectares in the heart of Petit Montagne de Reims. Made of 50% Meunier, 25% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Noir, it is vigorous, crackery, and concentrated. “There’s a nice graininess to the texture, making this lively and defining its bread dough, apple and grapefruit flavors. Turns crisp, but stays balanced, with a dry, mouthwatering finish.”

90 points Wine Spectator

Drop down, drop in, ignore the construction!

Sharon Baden and Steve Winston, Owners

The Spanish Table, 1426 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.2827

Hours: Monday- Saturday, 10 AM – 6:30 PM Sunday 10 AM – 6 PM

Paris Grocery, 1418 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.0679

Hours: Monday- Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM

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Gomera, Canary Islands

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter October 30, 2009


Traveling as wine specialists aboard the National Geographic vessel Explorer for the past 2 ½ weeks, we’ve been following the route of Christopher Columbus and Charles Darwin. Our voyage began in Lisbon and ended in Salvador Brazil, with stops in some of our favorite places: Madeira, The Canary Islands, and Cape Verde. We just got home last night and are still wobbling about on sea legs.

Seattle-based Lindblad Expeditions (http://www.expeditions.com/) invited us to choose wines for the voyage and then come along to educate guests about them. Lindblad has a superb on-board staff of naturalists, historians and professional photographers that speak about history, culture, the natural world and how best to photograph it. Their trips cover the Antarctic, the Arctic, and everything in between.

A week ago we were photographing schools of whales and cavorting dolphins near La Palma, Canary Islands. The Canaries are a group of seven islands less than 100 miles off the coast of Morocco. Just as Cuban refugees flee to Miami, so the Canary Islands attract thousands of desperate Africans each year. The lure of the European Community with all of its opportunities is irrestible, especially when it’s just a stone’s throw away.

Aside from the immigration issue, life in the Canaries moves slowly and residents have a deep appreciation for the islands’ spectacular beauty. One memorable day began in the mist forest of Parque Nacional de Garajonay on the island of Gomera. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the forest sits on a 3300 foot high ridge and divides the island’s wet side from the dry. Two hours of hiking took us through laurel forests, past villages growing bananas on terraced hillsides, and a spectacular cliff-side trail shrouded in mist.

Our guide recommended dining at Restaurant La Placeta in Santa Cruz de la Palma which was excellent. Being Sunday night in the off season, the proprietor had plenty of time to talk about the local wines, how he ended up in the Canary Islands, and the thriving rabbit population in La Palma. We tucked into a terrific rabbit pate as we talked, which was served with a sweet but not cloying tomato jam. What a fantastic combination! The main course was grilled fish and papas arrugadas with mojo sauces, a Canary Island traditional dish, served with El Nispero Tinto Barrica, a local red wine from La Palma.

Now that we’re home, we’ll be getting back into kitchen to recreate some of the tasty dishes we had along the road. Here’s a traditional recipe from the Canary Islands:

Papas Arrugadas (Serves four)

Warning: This recipe uses the traditional amount of salt, which may be overwhelming to American palates used to low sodium. Feel free to adjust to your taste!

8-10 Small New Potatoes

Sea Salt to taste

Add the potatoes to a pot of very salty water (in the past the Canarians used sea-water).

The potatoes should float in the salty-water, if they don’t you need to add more salt.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

Now drain most of the water from the pot and cover the potatoes with a layer of salt.

Turn down the heat and gently shake the pot so that salt crystalizes on the potatoes.

Finally, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a tea-towel for 5 minutes (so that the potatoes turn ‘wrinkly’). Serve with one or both of the Mojo sauces below.

Mojo Picon Sauce

5 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

3 small dried nora peppers, rehydrated in boiling water and drained

1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika

1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar to taste

5 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Using a mortar and pestle, mash cumin, garlic, and peppers with salt until well mixed. Add paprika, vinegar and oil, and continue to blend. If necessary, add water until desired consistency is reached. This is delicious served with boiled potatoes, with or on fried fish.

Mojo Verde Sauce

3 cloves garlic, peeled

½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 teaspoons Sherry Vinegar

½ cup chopped fresh coriander leaves

½ teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon sea salt

Water as needed

Process the cumin, garlic, cilantro and salt in a food processor or blender to create a paste. While blending, drizzle in olive oil gradually. Add small amounts of water until the sauce is a thin paste. Add 1-2 tsp vinegar or more, according to your taste. Drizzle over potatoes or fish and serve.


Being on board a ship for 13 nights gave us the chance to revisit some of our favorite, inexpensive wines from Spain and Portugal. These wines were all-around big hits with the guests on board, some of whom have placed case orders!

White Wines

2008 Protos Verdejo, Rueda ($10.99) Protos Verdejo has just the right combination of grapefruit flavors and zesty acidity to pair with fish in buttery citrus sauces.

2007 Diamante, Rioja ($10.99) Classic Diamante is a unique wine. Semi sweet, it is made from a blend of Malvasia and Viura grapes. Round and full on the palate, the addition of Viura gives it a crisp, clean finish.

Red Wines

2003 Esporao Alicante Bouschet, Alentejo ($13.99) Balanced and full bodied, this Portuguese red was phenomenal with beef tenderloin.

2005 Evel, Douro ($15.99) One of our perennial favorites, Evel is a blend of the same grapes port grapes. Great with flavorful chicken dishes, it has lift and elegance.

2005 Altos de Luzon, Jumilla ($14.99) 50% Monastrell, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Tempranillo, this hearty red goes down all too easily on a cold, wet night with a plate of grilled lamb chops.


Our new shop features French cheeses and wine, and other foods with a French mood. It’s located 1/4 block south of Spanish Table at 1418 Western Avenue. It’s currently open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM.

New cheeses:

A Casinca is a classical goat’s milk cheese from the Casinca region of Corsica, where the climate is gentle. Herbaceous, tart, and slightly salty, this cheese has a semi-soft texture that offers a balanced, satisfying finish on the palate.

Tome d’Aquitaine: This aged goat’s milk cheese gets the benefit of washings in Sauternes in the caves of famous affineur Jean d’Alos. The snow-white interior has a dense texture and a delicately balanced, sweet and fruity flavor.

Brebirousse d’Argental: This pasteurized sheep’s milk cheese from Lyon has a creamy, brie-like texture and a faintly sweet finish on the palate. Hints of meadow and hay lend a bit of complexity.

Le Grain d’Orge: From the Basse-Normandie region, this pasteurized cow’s milk cheese is soaked in Calvados according to Norman traditions. A soft-textured, washed rind cheese. Delightfully fruity and milky with hints of mushroom and apple.


We have a new shipment of D’Artagnan charcuterie, including foie gras, pates, frozen (uncooked) sausages, merguez, puff pastry and many other specialty French shelf groceries. We also now have baguettes from Macrina Bakery, delivered daily Tuesday through Saturday.

Please come on in to one or both of our shops and pick up some wonderful cheeses and fall wines. Best wishes for a great weekend!


Sharon Baden and Steve Winston, Owners

The Spanish Table, 1426 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.2827

Paris Grocery, 1418 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.0679

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Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter November 6, 2009

A Visit to Blandy’s Wine Lodge, Madeira

Madeira lies in the Atlantic Ocean 378 miles west of Morocco. A volcanic island, its sub tropical climate and abundant rainfall seem an unlikely place for wine production. But its shelves of terraced land rise up the flanks of 6105 foot Mt. Pico, which on the sunny side of the island provides a climate ideally suited to viticulture.

The urban port city of Funchal is the heart of wine production and retains its 18th century Portuguese charm despite a modern profusion of traffic encouraged by European Union road projects. But when we drove a few minutes away from Funchal on our visit last month, we found peaceful country lanes bordered by New Guinea Impatiens, Hydrangeas, Trumpet Flower and Eucalyptus forests, much the same as it was 200 years ago. Madeira is a verdant garden, nourished by its volcanic soils and ample precipitation.

Uninhabited until 1427, Madeira was discovered and settled by the Portuguese who soon began making wine. By the mid 16th Century it was a refueling stop for ships crossing the Atlantic and its wines were brought on board to prevent scurvy. The U.S. quickly became one of Madeira wine’s principal markets along with England and Brazil. It was a favorite drink of Thomas Jefferson who toasted the signing of the Declaration of Independence with a glass of Malmsey.

Originally a table wine, it was fortified with brandy to stabilize it for long ocean journeys. On one fateful hot voyage to Brazil, a cask of Madeira (called a “pipe”) was accidentally left on board and eventually traveled back across the tropics to Funchal. When the wine merchants tasted it, all agreed that it was much better than when it left! Since then, Madeiras have been aged with the use of heat, and for a time pipes were actually shipped to the colonies and back to replicate that famous voyage. Eventually winemakers realized that they could recreate the tropical conditions of a ship voyage by storing the pipes in the eaves of Funchal’s wine lodges, where temperatures would climb to 45 degrees Celsius.

Madeira has an elegance and finesse not found in other fortified wines. Warm temperatures and evaporation concentrate flavors, and ongoing oxygen contact produce wines that are long lived and extremely stable. Open a bottle today and ten months from now it will taste as fresh as the day it was opened! Volcanic soils give the grapes high acidity which produce wines with a light mouth feel, intensity and a persistent finish.

The canteiro system: slow aging of varietal Madeiras at Blandy’s wine lodge

A glass of Madeira warms and satisfies on a cold, wet night. It’s also stellar served with creamy foods and holiday desserts such as pumpkin pie. Madeira adds richness to sauces and is excellent used in place of wine for deglazing sauté pans.

Here’s an easy and delicious recipe using Madeira:

Chanterelle Mushrooms in Madeira Sauce (Two servings)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, diced

1 cup fresh chanterelles, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup creme fraiche or whipping cream

1/4 cup Feist Full Rich Madeira

1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

Heat olive oil over low heat and when warm, saute garlic and onion until translucent. Add mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper and cook for five minutes, then add Madeira and simmer for another two minutes. Add creme fraiche and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately. This is excellent as a sauce for grilled pork chops or chicken, and would be a great side dish for the Thanksgiving dinner table.


We have the largest selection of Madeiras in the country. Here are some of our favorites:

Feist Full Rich ($17.99) Aged 3 years, it is smooth, viscous and full bodied. Feist Full Rich is a great introduction to a sweet Madeira as a tasty dessert drink or for use in cooking.

“Full Rich” Madeiras are made from the Tinta Negra grape which is the most widely grown grape on the island. “Full Rich” Madeiras are produced by the “estufagem” process which warms the wine by means of a pipe in the tank filled with warm water.

The most complex Madeiras are made from four traditional varietals (Sercial, Verdelho, Bual, Malmsey) whose production is declining in favor of the easier to grow Tinta Negra grape. Varietal Madeiras are produced in the “canteiro” method, in which pipes are aged slowly in the warm eaves of Funchal’s wine lodges.

Blandy’s 5 Year Bual ($22.99) Medium sweet, with light caramel flavors and spice. A hint of countryside herbs provides an intriguing background to this smooth Bual. Great acidity and concentration.

Leacock’s 10-year Bual ($41.00) “Very distinctive burnt treacle aroma, followed by concentrated flavors of caramel, walnut, iodine and green tea. There’s grip and length, with power on the back end.” 90 points Wine Spectator

Blandy’s 10 year Sercial ($37.00) Sercial is the driest Madeira and Blandy’s Sercial is a richer style than other brands. With butterscotch aromas, it is a bit sweeter than bone dry. Round and smooth on the palate, it’s flavors of roasted nuts with high acidity give Blandy’s Sercial a light and elegant mouth feel. The finish is lengthy and clean.

FLAMENCO PERFORMANCES Hot on the heels of last night’s passionate flamenco show at Benaroya Hall, Isabel Lopez from Casa Patas Flamenco Company in Madrid is performing at Taberna del Alabardero in Belltown. The Sunday show is sold out, but Taberna has added another show on Monday November 9th at 8:00 p.m. For information, call 206.448.8884.

FLAMENCO DE RAIZ presents RAFAEL DE UTRERA with Eric and Encarnación from Children of the Revolution with special guest percussionist Juanma Lucas

2 shows Saturday, November 7th, 2009 7PM & 9:30PM, Kirkland Performance Center (425) 893-9900

Rafael and Juanma are top level flamencos coming directly from Sevilla, Spain. Rafael is one of the most respected flamenco singers in the world today and will be coming off his current tour with Vicente Amigo. This will be a “flamenco puro” performance with dance numbers and cante jondo(deep or profound song).


Our new shop features French cheeses and wine, and other foods with a French mood. It’s located 1/4 of a block south of Spanish Table at 1418 Western Avenue.

New cheeses just in!

Tomme du Segala is produced in small amounts in the city of Carmaux in southern France, this raw goat’s milk cheese has an elastic texture that crumbles slightly. The flavor has hints of olives and grass.

Tomme Crayeuse is a semi-soft raw cow’s milk cheese from the Savoie that undergoes two stages of cave-aging. The final, intensely rich flavor is earthy, with mushroom and citrus notes. Created by one of France’s top affineurs, Max Schmidhauser.

Crémeux de Bourgogne is a cow’s milk triple-crème cheese from a small family of producers in Burgundy. This pasteurized, bloomy-rind cheese has a dense texture and a rich flavor with hints of fresh butter.

Tomme de Savoie is a pleasant table cheese form the Savoie with a distinct raw milk flavor – beefy, hazel nutty and pleasantly milky. With approximately 30% fat content, this is the most creamy ‘low fat’ cheese available. Enjoy with liver-stoked pâtés and light red wines like Beaujolais.

Pavé de Jadis So named because of its shape: pavé is a small paving stone. This fresh goat’s milk cheese from the Loire Valley is dusted with vegetable ash and has a fudge-like texture. The taste is very clean, mild and lemony.


Evora: This small Portuguese cheese (each wheel is only 6 ounces) is made from raw sheep’s milk which is filtered through a mesh lining after being immersed in a salt brine solution. Aged over 60 days, it is made with raw sheep milk and cardoon thistle near the historic city of Evora. Spicy and slightly acidic, it is fruity with a light-yellow color. Because of its slightly higher level of salt, it is well-suited for salads.

We now have Israeli feta!

Have a great week!


Sharon Baden and Steve Winston, Owners

The Spanish Table, 1426 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.2827

Paris Grocery, 1418 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.0679

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Turkish Travels

blog-032809When we can get away from the store we typically head to Spain for hedonistic days of food sampling and drinking top-notch wines that we can’t afford at home. While our first love will always be Iberia, our palates are taking us into the far reaches of the Mediterranean these days. Which is why we took a trip to Turkey last week with our California partners, Andy and Tanya. We spent two amazing days in the cave dwellings of Cappadocia and then met friends in Istanbul. We dined like sultans on the vibrant Turkish cuisine. A vegetarian’s dream, every fantastic meal was loaded with salads, roasted vegetables, pulses and grains. Being carnivores, we dined on savory chicken pilaf in pastry, kebabs with sumac served over eggplant, and slow roasted lamb infused with oregano, paprika and yogurt. Now that we’re home, we’ll be recreating and sharing some of these recipes with the ingredients that we stock here at the shop. Stay tuned.

Cortas Pomegranate Molasses ($4.99/10 oz): In Turkey, this was used as an ingredient in salad dressing. Mixed with lemon & olive oil, it was terrific on mixed greens.
Cuisine Perel Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar ($7.99/6.5 oz): A blend of balsamic, red wine vinegar and pomegranate concentrate, this will give salads an extra snap, or pour it over fresh strawberries and ice cream.
Turkish Cookbooks: The Ottoman Kitchen by Sarah Woodward ($20.00) has general culinary information as well as authentic recipes from Turkey and the Middle East. Great pictures of the countryside and recipes make this a pleasure to read.
TURKEY Mediterranean Cuisine ($16.99) Eleven chefs contributed to this book of traditional Turkish food. Contains step by step photos and easy to follow recipes.

2007 Campo Burgo Rioja ($8.99) Clean and bright with soft tannins, Campo Burgo has been aged in stainless steel. With a medium body and structured acidity, notes of cherry and plum, it could even be chilled slightly before serving. Excellent with fideo pasta and shrimp.
2007 Vinas de Olivara, Toro ($7.99) 87 points Wine Advocate Made from 100% Tinta de Toro (Tempranillo), this non-oaked red really over-delivers for the price. Aromatic, with notes of boysenberry, blueberry and mineral, it is full-bodied and gutsy. Subtle tannins are well balanced with acidity and wrap up with a distinctive and elegant finish.
2005 Marques de Campo Nuble Crianza Rioja ($12.99) 88 points Wine Advocate A modern Rioja that hasn’t forgotten its roots, it is made of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Garnacha. Warm and round red fruit flavors spring from the glass backed up by notes of licorice and cedar. A subtle amount of oak and balanced acidity make this Rioja a perfect wine to serve with any pork or lamb dish. This winery is new to the U.S. market and decided to forego advertising to keep their prices low. It is a superb value!
2006 Bodegas Marques de Olivara M.O., Toro ($12.99) Concentrated, bold and spicy, M.O. de Olivara is our go-to wine for brawny and affordable reds. 100% Tempranillo produced from 40-100 year old vines, M.O. is meaty, explosive and earthy with notes of mineral and black fruit. Aged 13 months in French oak, it is a steal at $12.99.
2004 Vaza Crianza Rioja, ($14.99) Vaza’s 18 months in oak give it an edgy smokiness tinged with juicy ripe cherry and black currant flavors. Notes of licorice are front and center on the palate, balanced by great acidity and moderate tannins. This is a tasty Rioja and will appeal to those who like a more fruit-forward style.
2005 Descendientes de Jose Palacios Corullon Bierzo ($57.00) 93 points Stephen Tanzer “Deep red. Smoky raspberry and cherry compote aromas are lifted by stony minerality and fresh rose. Deep, musky cherry and dark berry flavors display impressive poise, with firm tannins adding structure without distracting from the fruit. Turns brighter on the long, mineral-dominated finish, staining the palate with vibrant red berry flavors that cling tenaciously.”

 2006 Pingus, Ribera del Duero ($736.00) Quantities limited, available by special order.  95 points Stephen Tanzer “Opaque purple. Powerful, mineral-driven aromas of blackberry, blueberry, creme de cassis, incense and floral oils. Fresh dark berry flavors are youthfully crunchy and strikingly pure, with mounting spiciness and minerality. Silky tannins add support to the broad, palate-staining fruit but quickly fade away, allowing the exotic dark berry flavors to stand out. The mineral element clings impressively on the long, sappy, sweet finish. A superb showing…”

Flor de Sal (“Sea Flower” –$10.99/500 grams) are very thin crystals of sea salt formed at the surface of salt ponds, collected manually with the aid of a special tool. Collected daily, without allowing it to contact the pond’s bottom or sides, it is a product of natural purity, with a delicate flavor and prolonged finish on the palate. Considered the “Rolls Royce” of sea salt.
Sevillana Olives With Lemon: These rich green olives have a tart spicy flavor with lots of garlic and a little red pepper. Watch out for the pits!
Golden Peppadews: This hot sweet little yellow pepper is much like the red peppadew, with a little more meat and a slightly milder taste. Perfect for any place you would put red peppadews or mix them for a beautiful color contrast.
Organic Peruvian Bojita Olives: These organic bojita olives are known for their plump shape, firm meaty texture & tart flavor. They are grown on the high desert plains of Peru.
Manchego marinated in Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Sliced and ready to eat, put it on a bocadillo or serve it as a tapa with a dish of olives and a glass of fino sherry.
New container arrived today from Spain. We’ve now got a great selection of green glass. Ribbed tumblers, cruets, medium sangria glasses and malaga glasses are back in stock. And a new supply of rice has arrived just in time for paella season. Perdiz Bomba and Signo Valencian rice are on the shelf again.

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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 kkhoshdel@andaluca.com
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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