Just returned from five days in Spain with Barbara doing what we do best, eating and drinking. Having not seen each other for 15 months, it took us all of about 15 seconds to fall back into our normal patterns and habits; all the history revives the common references without even trying. Change would have been much more difficult.
Barbara flew into Barcelona and after a stop at the Boqueria to stock the kitchen we came up to Maury for Barbara to meet friends and recover from jet lag. Off to Leucate for oysters, then packed the Twingo and headed down the coast, lunch at Sitges then on to Tarragona for warm sunshine, café sitting and tapas.
A couple of diversions along the way to Valencia gave us a great lunch at a restaurant in Gandesa that looked like the dining room of a Holiday Inn in 1970 (I’ll leave it to Barbara to add a comment on her pigs feet carpaccio). Then a little way down the road we found ourselves on a tiny car ferry crossing the Ebro River to get to Miravet and its famous castle, which was closed for lunch. The ferry was a treat though, just a steel platform mounted on two small motor boats.
Valencia is a lovely city and we took a few long walks, dined on paella and went sightseeing at the Central Market, actually Barbara insisted on breaking the pattern and actually going to a museum that wasn’t even about food or wine, but we did get to see some of the portraits of Joaquin Sorolla, who paints the most astonishing eyes. It wasn’t long before we restored our balance with a couple of glasses of Cava in a nice bar at the beach.
Another morning at the market before heading back to Barcelona for the last night. Banys-Orientales is a nice hotel in the Gothic Quarter, which is being revived and renewed with artist studios, boutiques, trendy bars and the most amazing – and probably the most expensive – grocery store, wine bar in town. Order a glass of wine and wander over to the cheese and ham section, have another and you may not even notice the prices. A tapas dinner in the Eixample district and we were done.
Barbara flew back the next morning and I returned to Maury and an invitation to the end of harvest party at Domaine des Enfants: wine from Marcel, sushi from Pascal his intern, guacamole from Carrie, and wild boar from Taieb the hunter, quite a menu. The Tramontane was blowing, the temperature was dropping into the 30s but the crowd was warm, the food was great and someone kept filling the photographer’s glass.