On Sunday were were invited to Xavi’s apartment for lunch. He lives in El Born, one of the older parts of Barcelona with narrow Medieval streets. 30 years ago parts of El Born were considered dangerous, but lately, the area has undergone a renaissance and is now quite fashionable.
As a prequel to lunch we had a cold xarcuteria plate of jamón and salami.
Our first course was a very traditional Catalan salad dish caled Esqueixada – this is typically a shredded bacalao and tomato salad with onions, olives, hard boiled eggs, etc. Here Xavi added a few pieces of Sill (pickled herring) from Sweden (courtesy of el Vikingo), with some sliced Jalapeño to give it a kick.
We drank an excellent local wine, Reforjat, a vi negre (black wine).
Note the beautiful glasses, these belonged to Xavi’s father and are over 100 years old!
The main course was a mixture of meats cooked slowly in the oven – the main ones being lamb and pig cheeks on the bone. I chose the lamb (Xai) which was beautifully tender. The dish came with delicious stewed vegetables, almost like a light, potato based sanfaina with wild mushrooms.
After the main course, Xavi’s neighbour Jasmine arrived with cava and some posh biscuits. I think the above, Verema cava, was already chilling in the fridge – again this is a local wine. The champagne glasses belong to the same set as the wine glasses and are similarly hand cut.
Jasmine is a larger than life Spanish woman, straight out of a Pedro Almodóvar film. She recounted story after story of things that had happened to her at work and we laughed and laughed for several hours. Her funniest story was about being stuck in a service lift, while everyone was on holiday for August, without a mobile phone. She said she was 30 years younger and wearing a small top and mini skirt. Eventually an old painter heard her cries for help, pried open the doors and and invited her to jump from the floor above straight into his arms. Having no other options, she eventually agreed. It was considerably funnier and far more salacious in the telling! …next she started talking about la “killer” – her mother, who likes sex so much she’s put 3 husbands in the grave! I’m sure one could listen to Jasmine’s stories for a week and create an entire Almodóvar movie around them!