I can’t believe it has been almost a month since I attended the amazing #StreetsOfSpain evening with Campo Viejo in Toronto. For a few days in a west end location, the city was transformed with beautiful food and art. Follow the #StreetsOfSpain hashtag to check out exactly what I mean. It truly made me think back to my time in Barcelona. There is something magical and indescribable about the literal streets of Spain. With the warmth of a culture that has helped to define the world, food that rivals the best I have ever eaten and wine that… well I fell in love with. During the Streets Of Spain campaign here in Toronto, I truly felt like I was back in the city I loved so much during my travels. I was even fortunate enough to attend an intimate dinner with a menu prepared by Chef Maria Jose San Roman (all the way from Spain might I add!) & our local legend Chef Stuart Cameron. Let me tell you all about my experience!
So before I get into the beautiful details of the evening, let’s talk about Campo Viejo & Spanish wine for a few minutes. Having ten years experience in the restaurant industry, this isn’t the first time I have interacted with Campo Viejo. It’s actually one of my favourite old world wineries to be perfectly honest. With its beautiful complexity and vast array of products, this winery embodies the passion of Spanish wine making.
As mentioned before, the world of wine is very similar to that of Fashion. Regions and countries take lead as the newest trend, and I would go so far as to say that Spain is the upcoming trend both in the wine and food world. Spanish wine production has been around just as long as its iconic French cousins and the price point for quality wine is one that can’t be beat. So much so, that I would recommend you head out to buy a bottle of Campo Viejo (check out their full selection of products here) to try it out for yourself to see what I mean.
But let’s get back to the amazing night and the incredible one time menu I had the pleasure of enjoying. I can only hope that it inspires you just as much as it did me and that you feel transported back to the #StreetsOfSpain with me.
When I was asked to attend the intimate dinner with Campo Viejo and an select group of media colleagues, I immediately thought it was going to be just another media tasting. Little did I know that this dinner would be one of the most memorable I have had in a very long time. Not only was the space entirely transformed into a stunning dinning room, but the matching hot Spanish servers for the night… well, let’s just say they were a nice addition to the evening.
As we sat down to a five course dinning experience, I was amazed at the company I was in. With a one of a kind menu created by both of our aforementioned chefs, this dinner truly was the embodiment of Spain meets Canada. Not only did I have a chance to meet several team mates from the Campo Viejo family, but I also had the opportunity to try out a vast array of their wines. Let me tell you about some of my favourite dishes and pairings. I know that they have inspired me to recreate a similar experience at home and I hope they do the same for you!
First course was a Gazpacho De Fresa Con Esparragos Blancos. It just sounds sexier in Spanish, doesn’t it? Chilled strawberry and tomato soup served with white asparagus and a hen egg (the picture above unfortunately was taken before the soup was pour over the ingredients, but it can give you and idea of the beauty I enjoyed). This dish was light and refreshing and actually quite romantic. In the past, I would have said that I wasn’t a fan of Gazpacho, but to experience one so passionately created made me a believer. Paired with The 2013 Campo Viejo Tempranillo Rose, the acidity and mild sweetness of the wine played with the richness of the soup perfectly. Rosé is always a go-to choice of mine in the summer, and the Spanish embodiment offered was playful. A perfect wine to start (or end for that matter) any night.
Not to skip ahead and dismiss the rest of the menu (which by the way, not 1 thing would I have changed!), let’s talk about my next favourite dish of the night. The fourth course of the night was The Carrillada De Cerdo Ibérico Con Garbanzos Y Pimientos De Padrón. Say that three times fast. Iberian pork cheek served with fresh chick peas and padron pepper. Decadent comes to mind when I think back on this dish. Salty and sweet with the playfulness of sweet peas on the plate, the dish itself left me wanting more, which as we all know is a good sign of a great meal. Paired together with the 2008 Campo Viejo Reserva, this powerful wine was a great compliment to a powerful dish. Warm on the palette with a high alcoholic content (for those of you drinking Spanish wines for the first time, take note that they traditionally are slightly higher) the body of this wine matched the flavours beautiful. Dark fruit flavours and lingering tannins are the perfect compliment to any pork dish.
Last, but certainly never least, is the almighty dessert course. After an elegant evening of delicious food and wine, I thought to myself I couldn’t possibly eat dessert. Nope. Who was I kidding? They had prepared not one, but TWO for us to enjoy. How could I not indulge just a little bit? (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it) The first option was The Alaska Helado De Naranja Con Confitura De Naranja. An Alaskan souffle with orange ice cream, orange peel and orange marmalade. It was crisp and tart and made me think of the sunshine. For those of you who prefer a chocolate dessert, The Chocolate Con Aceite Y Sal (pictured above) would be right up your alley. Chocolate pudding with some of the best Olive Oil in the world complimented with beautiful sea salt. Please don’t ask me to pick, because in my mind the playfulness of eating both was just too perfect for words. Paired with the 2008 Campo Viejo Reserva, this bold flavoured red wine traditionally might be assumed to be a “main course” wine. In fact, it’s intense richness and heavy flavour palette were the perfect grounding point for decadent desserts at the end of the night.
All in all, this was… magical. Make sure to check out my Instagram account for more behind the scenes with #StreetsOfSpain. Follow along for all my food and wine adventures!
And of course, don’t forget to head out to pick up a bottle of Campo Viejo wine for your next dinner party. Be it as the perfect host gift for friends or for an evening in full of romance, I can guarantee that Campo Viejo will have you transported to the #StreetsOfSpain in no time.
Please remember to enjoy responsibly and never drink and drive.
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