Historic Sherry Winery tour…
In the sleepy town of Jerez, in Southern Spain, we found a fun afternoon activity. A Sherry Tapas Experience! I am always up for a cooking demo and this fine day, surprisingly, so was my hubby. We started with a little Sherry Winery Tour at Diez Merito. Housed in a beautiful 15th Century building in the heart of Jerez, this winery has been continuously operating for hundreds of years. Sherry is an acquired taste and we gave it try, sampling 5 varieties from dry to sweet. I lean more to the sweet side, but it was educational for sure. Cooking with sherry for the wonderful rich nutty flavor it lends to a recipe is one of my favorite ways to bring a dish from average to spectacular with a quick splash!
A peek into The Central Mercado, always eye opening!
On the heels of our winery visit we headed over to the Central Mercado, just a short walk from Diez Merito Winery. If you haven’t ventured into one of these colorful and vibrant markets I would highly recommend you give it a peek. Even if food is not first on your travel itinerary, it’s often the real heart of a town or village and you’ll be treated to an intimate look at the colorful characters who shape a Mercado.
The fish mongers, vocally hawking their fresh catch was so much fun to watch! Not to mention discovering the fascinating and unusual fruits, veggies, seafoods and meats which shape the cuisine of a particular region. Always a treat in my book, and inspiration for creating new recipes when I get back home.
Now who doesn’t love a master cooking demo?
After our quick exploration of the Mercado we were off to the cooking demo by Chef Javier Munoz of the well respected La Carbona Restaurante. He offers an interesting class showcasing the local Sherry in his creative dishes followed by a 5 course lunch paired with their wines. Their dinner menu is quite creative and full of a variety of wonderfully unique dishes and very fresh fish!
We started off with a Salmon Tartare, a quick and simple starter anyone can pull together, and impress your guests!
Then on to an Artichoke Prawn Tapa in a Sherry wine sauce. This was made with canned artichoke, which I thought a little odd as fresh would have made this dish spectacular! I created this fresh grilled artichoke recipe using Chef Munoz’ concept but my sensibility, I hope you enjoy!
Next up a Tuna Tapa using fresh tuna cubes, sweet caramelized onions and potato puree. Once again I felt the need to give this a little touch of my own style in the recipe I created at home.
Quail was used for the next Tapa on the cooking demo menu. As I really love and enjoy watching these beautiful little birds every day in my own garden at home, I felt compelled to adapt the recipe using Cornish Game hens instead. My garden will remain a ‘Sanctuary State’ for all living creatures!( Except possibly NOT the snails) Sorry guys. Hence, my version of Stuffed Hen with Rose Petals and Foie Gras was born. Humane Foie Gras source
Strawberries with greek yogurt was our tasty and light finish. Now would be a perfect time to try this simple recipe as the strawberries are looking great in the farmers markets right now. As far as desserts go, this couldn’t be more simple and sooo delicious! Give it a try, your family will thank you.