Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Journey to Spain

It has taken me a couple of weeks to get my act together since returning from our journey to Spain.  There are few things greater in life than an amazing vacation spent with people that you feel that you have known all your life.  We spent a majority of our time in the city of Madrid with day trips to Toledo, Segovia, Chinchon, El Escorial. We enjoyed Madrid's National Art Museums which included Del Prado and Reine Sofia.  For soccer fans, we toured the Real Madrid stadium (Wow!). We enjoyed an evening of traditional Spanish flamenco dancing (Wow, again). We rode a subway in Madrid at 1:00 a.m..  The city was just getting cranked up for the evening. We drank coffee, enjoyed cold vermouth, the husband ventured out of his comfort zone and enjoyed baby eels, octopus, squid and barnacles (Yes, they are exactly what you think the shells that you scrape off the side of a sea wall or your boat containing a snail like creature), Spain was unbelievably hot and unbelievably beautiful.  The list goes on and on.  Since, I can only hold your attention to the post for a limited time-here are the highlights.

Let's start with Madrid.

Madrid is the capitol and the largest city in Spain. Located in the central part of the country Madrid is home to roughly 6.5 million people.  A cosmopolitan city that has preserved the look and feel of its history and architecture.




The Spaniards have never met a stranger.  Their strong sense of hospitality, warmth and friendliness is contagious. They welcome you into their families with hugs and besos (kisses) on both cheeks. And then, STOP THE PRESSES! They feed you.


Food and drink are to be enjoyed, never rushed.  Sharing a meal is about family and friends. 





It is about long and lingering conversations late into the night. Spain's economy and national politics are the important topics of the day.


The Opportunities to enjoy food, wine and friendship were endless. The family decided that it was important that we develop an appreciation for Spanish wines-that was easy. We tasted six different Spanish wines. We decided that the white grape Albariño grown in the Northwest part of Spain in Galacia was one of our favorites.

What would wine tasting be without cured iberico hams, chorizos, salamis and slices of manchego cheese?






After an evening of friendship, good wine and food

In Spain pork rules, the wine is local and olive oil is the only oil that should be used.



Fried potatoes, with fried eggs on top and then topped with iberico ham. Can you say heaven? I can. 


I had the pleasure of watching our host prepare a family style paella without fancy ingredients and a special pan.  I photographed the process and did my best to capture the recipe with pen and paper. This is a family recipe that is handed down from mother to daughter and I am going to give it my best shot in my next post to share it with you.

Until later.
Velva



36 comments:

We Are Not Martha said...

All of those meats and cheeses... and wines! Looks like an amazing trip!

Sues

Michelle said...

Velva, I could have read about your trip forever! I do hope you will share more about your adventures. Spain is a place I would love to visit. Looking forward to the paella post.

Julie said...

Looks like a wonderful vacation!! Beautiful memories made!! Thanks for sharing.

Big Dude said...

That table of meat and cheese looks outstanding and that last one sounds like my kind of breakfast.

Lori said...

What a gorgeous trip recap! Such beautiful scenery and food!

Roz Corieri Paige said...

Oh wow, I would love to visit Spain . . . so beautiful and the food!!!! Manchego cheese is to die for! I loved reading every word of this post about part of your trip Velva!

Rhonda Evans said...

It's sounds like such an amazing experience. Thanks for sharing it with all if us

Angie Schneider said...

It sounds like that you had a great vacation in Spain! The family must love grilling a lot as they even built up that awesome stone-grill/oven!

Rambling Tart said...

What a fantastic trip, Velva! And it's so fun to see a pic of you looking all cute and sassy with your friends. :-)

Rhodesia said...

We also loved Spain but it is going to take me many moons to go through all the Photos ! This trip I tried to take less but....... Looking forward to seeing the recipe for paella. I make it fairly often, but sure it is not like the Spanish people make it at home. Keep well Diane.

The JR said...

Great looking food in a beautiful place. Although, I could do without the hugging and kissing thing :)

Claudia said...

Oh my, oh my, oh my. The hams. Oh my. Last night, husband-person was mentioning that we need to go to Spain (never been - he has). Such a storied world of wonderful food. Must make that happen. The photos of sharing food with friends - makes the heart sing. Lovely.

Erica said...

What a wonderful trip, Velva! Thanks for sharing your pictures!

Sippity Sup said...

Pork rules in my world too. Very inspiring post. Thanks GREG

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

What a wonderful trip! I would love to know about how you came to know your host family. Such a delightful experience. I've been to Spain once - on a school trip with my college during graduate school. We stayed in Torremolinos, toured Granada, Malaga and several other towns along the Mediterranean. The paella, the sangria, the flamenco dancers, late, late night dining - wow is right!

Your host family looks warm and wonderful!

Pam said...

Woo hoo! An awesome trip for you for sure! Your photos are beautiful. We were near Spain, but unfortunately, never got there. Flamenco dancing is so intense, love it. Good luck with the paella! And the pic of you and hubby is cool! Great post, I really enjoyed reading it! Pork rules!

Ann Jones said...

What a great looking trip! I have been to Europe many times, but I have never been to Spain :) My husband has though and he loved it!

Kitchen Belleicious said...

look at all that food! Wow, i would love it there and the scenery is just breathtaking. It just screams relaxing and lively all the same time. So glad you share these with us

Tina said...

What a great trip! Thanks for sharing the photos, I LOVE that grill. Need to have one made at our place. L:ooks like you had a wonderful time.

Regina said...

What a romantic get away with your husband! Wish I didn't have a dreaded fear of flying as Spain is a place I'd love to see. The music, dancing, soccer, LOTSA wine, great food and the best yet, wonderful people to spend time with. Glad you shared with us and looking forward to hearing more.............

Gloria Baker said...

Sounds like a beautiful trip:)

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

What a great trip…you have memories that will last a lifetime.

Debbie@Mountain Breaths said...

You had me at paella and sangria! What a great trip with wonderful memories.

Catherine said...

Dear Velva, This looks like a wonderful and delicious experience. Thank you for sharing it. Blessings dear. Catherine

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a fabulous experience for you and your family and how fun to get to know the people up close and personally. As any place in Europe, the food and the people are the best part of the trip. I look forward to the paella.
Sam

Monet said...

Ryan and I went to Spain for our anniversary! This post brought back so many good memories!

Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) said...

My favorite photo is the table of meat and cheese. Fabulous Trip! I've been seeing some of it on FB and have been envious.

Jem @ Lost in Utensils said...

I'm so jealous Velva. How wonderful! A dream trip is always about food inspiration. Spain is nest on my list. Thanks for that.

Chris said...

Wow. Just wow, over everything. The iberico hams, chorizos, salamis and slices of manchego cheese would have been enough for me but what a spread! Love that wood fired oven, does that have a special name or is it just a grill?

Martha@SeasideSimplicity said...

Oh my, all that delicious food!! I enjoyed the posts from your trip I caught on Instagram but seeing them here in full size is even better! So glad you enjoyed your trip. Looks like it was amazing!

Barbara said...

I've loved following your travels on Facebook, and what a great post! My daughter and I went to Spain and this brought back great memories. We'll never forget the food and in Barcelona the architecture. Because my daughter owns an art gallery in NYC, we were heavy into museums and galleries.

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said...

Those gorgeous photos and that wonderful food! We have Spanish friends and getting used to when they eat and how much and how long surprised me at first but then I loved it!

Elena said...

You had like the best time, ever! I would love to see Madrid!

bellini said...

I have dreams of visiting a farm where they have pigs who eat acorns, eating calcots, and making paella as they do in Spain. I have read about the Albariño wines in Portugal so it makes sense this grape would be available in Spain as well.

ladyfi said...

Lovely shots of Madrid.

Kim - Liv Life said...

Oh! What a fabulous trip!! We are in the beginning researching phase of a hopeful vacation next summer, and Spain is on our list of destinations. I've been to Barcelona, but never Madrid, and I'm loving your pics. The food looks simply fabulous... that cheese, salami and wine!!! You have me even more excited to continue my research. I hope we can make this happen!

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