El Cavatast

freixenet

freixenet

October 4th, 2013

Sant Sadurní d’Anoia is situated in the Alt Penedès about 45 minutes by train from Barcelona. It is the world centre of cava production and each October puts on a festival to promote and celebrate the drink – El Cavatast. Cava is a sparkling wine produced in Cataluña and 7 other Spanish regions – it has to be made by the “méthode champenoise” (Champagne method) in order to bear the name. Cava means cave or cellar in Catalan and is said to come from the cellars dug to store the first cava produced around 1872.

After my lunch at Fifteen Raval I went to Plaça Cataluña with Oli, to meet Mike and catch a train out to Sant Sadurni for the opening night of this year’s Cavatast. The weather forecast was bad – storms and lightning. As the train arrived at Sant Sadurni we could see clouds rolling over the surrounding hills. You can see the dark sky above the Cava Freixenet factory situated next to the  station.

cavatast and storm clouds

cavatast and storm clouds

We walked out of the station and around Freixenet, going down the road and across the gorge towards the town. As we walked down the hill the storm was upon us. After much fumbling we got our plastic macs on – Oli’s had no sleeves, as he’d bought it in the far east, so not great when wearing a jacket. This was all quite comical, but the temperature was about 24ºC and the humidity in Barcelona was 70-80%, coats were out of the question. By the time we’d crossed the ravine the macs were about to give up, fortunately we’d got to the first bar in town. We drank a refreshing vermut and within about 20 minutes the rain stopped.

bar el celleret

bar el celleret

We continued into town and by the time we got to c/ de la Ensenyança the heavens opened up again – this time with lots of thunder. We took shelter on the well covered terrace of Bar el Celleret – there was so much thunder and lightning that the bar owner’s whole family came out to watch (above). We sat and drank a bottle or two of rosado waiting for the storm to abate and during a break in hostilities were joined by our friend Debbie, who’d caught the next train out of Barcelona after us.

tiquets

tiquets

Amazingly the storm did stop, just in time for the opening of the festival at 7.30 (I bet the whole town had been praying). Above is the tent selling tiquets. It cost 6€ for 4 drink tickets and a glass, 5€ for 4 drink tickets and 5€ for 4 meal tickets. The price of the cava depended on the quality, the cheapest being 1 ticket and the best was 3.

segura viudas

segura viudas

We were at the bottom of the street and went to Segura Viudas first – their cava is made of Macabeo and Parellada grapes (both are common to cava production) – it smells like pears, toast and vanilla and tastes fruity.

cal blay restaurant

cal blay restaurant

Since we’d already had a few drinks some grain of common sense told us that eating would help us get through the evening intact (that and the fact that the restaurant tents get busier as the night goes on).

cal blay comida

cal blay comida

Cal Blay was doing a tasting plate of traditional regional food for 4 tickets. The meal consisted of Fideuà and Allioli (top) – a Paella like seafood dish, where vermicelli replaces the rice. Trinxat (left) – boiled cabbage and potatoes, fried with pork belly or bacon, very much like Bubble and Squeak. On the right was a Cannelloni in cheese sauce. In spite of the fact that Cannelloni is Italian in origin, it’s very popular in Spain. All the food was delicious and we wiped the plates clean.

cavatast

cavatast

We’d reached halfway point in the festival, you can see above just how busy it had become by about 8.30. The storms had done us a big favour though, normally the Cavatast is twice as busy!

llopart

llopart

Now fed, we continued drinking tasting. Our next cava was Llopart, which was light and dry, with a touch of apple, peach and pineapple. This was probably our favourite cava of the evening.

agustí torelló mata

agustí torelló mata

Agustí Torelló Mata make a point of only using local grape varieties (Parellada, Macabeo and Xarel Lo) – there’s no Chardonnay or Pinot Noir in their cava.

agustí torelló mata cava

agustí torelló mata cava

The Agustí Torelló Mata Gran Reserva Brut nature smelled of flowers and toast, it was dry and crisp, tasting slightly of ripe fruit.

restaurant mirador de les caves

restaurant mirador de les caves

We’d gone through all our tickets by this point, but it was a good excuse to buy more and keep the alcohol in check with a little snack. Restaurant Mirador de les Caves featured four types of Croquete – one of my favourite taste sensations.

croquetes

croquetes

I ordered the Croquetes de Bacallà and Croquetes de Rocafort.

croquetes i coca

croquetes i coca

Oli ordered Croquetes de Foie i Ceps (foie gras and mushroom) and the Coca (crisp pastry topped with anchovy and ham). We shared and it was all delicious.

mascaró

mascaró

The train timetable ensured that we didn’t get too drunk, the last train him was at 10.38, but I did make sure I tried the Mascaró before leaving. I’ve enjoyed a lot of their VO brandy over the years, which is quite different to sherry brandy from the South of Spain. Their Cava Extra Brut was very good – made of Chardonnay, Parellada and Macabeo grapes. It tasted acidic and of apples, pears and brioche.

cava cork bollards

cava cork bollards

As we walked down the hill towards the station, Oli pointed out that all the bollards in Sant Sadurni are shaped like corks. You’ll know I wasn’t drunk and delusional because I took a  photograph to make sure.

freixenet by night

freixenet by night

We left the Cavatast and headed back to Barcelona. Somehow by the time we got home we were feeling slightly hungry again and had a few tapas in Iposa with a bottle of rosado

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About Mad Dog

https://maddogtvdinners.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in Barcelona, Drink, Eating Out, Fish, Food, Meat, Restaurants, Spanish and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to El Cavatast

  1. What an excellent evening and I am filled with admiration at your restraint 🙂

  2. Cavatastic! The champagne cork bollard excellent details, all that’s missing is Oli’s sleeveless mac photo… x

  3. Yes, I wanted to see a snap of you all in your macs! Next year I’m signing up for this fiesta – so glad your were tasting and not drinking…so much more refined 😉

    • Mad Dog says:

      Ha ha – I wasn’t taking my camera out in all that rain! I was being very careful not to taste too much. It’s a fantastic festival – five stars 😉

  4. ChgoJohn says:

    Now that sounds like a party. A 10:38 departure? No way would I have been on that train. Hopefully I would have had the forethought to leave the party briefly to find a place to stay earlier that day. Hopefully.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Hi John – I like your style, but unfortunately you might have to book 6 months in advance and officially the party stops at 10pm. Friday night is the opening for friends and family – they have to get up on Saturday and Sunday and do it all over again for international buyers – it’s a hard job 😉

  5. Amanda says:

    What a great festival! I love Seguros Viudas. I drink that all the time here in the states. That looks like such a great time. Ay que me hubiera estado alli!

  6. Pingback: El Racó del Mariner | Mad Dog TV Dinners

  7. Pingback: Iposa (la fórmula) | Mad Dog TV Dinners

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