Ballymaloe Day 28 – Tapas Bravas

Today began with a wine lecture on French wines by sommelier Colm McCann and Pascal Rossignol who owns and runs the specialty wine boutique Le Caveau in Kilkenny. Pascal originally hails from Gevrey-Chambertin in the Côte-d’Or region of Burgundy. He basically grew up among vineyards and has worked in every facet of the wine industry – from being a sommelier in a top restaurant to now running one of Ireland’s pre-eminent wine merchant businesses that sources wines for the top hotels and restaurants in Ireland. I chatted with him for a bit during the break and told him that I recently drove from Dijon to Beaune and attended the October dinner of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin at the Château du Clos de Vousgeot, which was certainly an experience of a lifetime.

Drinking wines at 10:00 a.m. might not be for everyone, but I don’t mind one bit…especially when we get to taste expensive and/or famous wines like a 2007 Vincent Girardin Puligny-Montrachet, a very well-known white wine from a very famous producer. Hey, it beats a glass of OJ for breakfast!

Afterwards, we were treated to another excellent demo by Chef Rory O’Connell, and the best part was that it featured a myriad of tapas. Rory made every thing from albonigas (spicy Spanish meatballs) to patatas bravas to pulpo a la Gallega (a.k.a. Galicean-style octopus). He even prepared one of my favorite dishes that I discovered in Barcelona – huevos estrellados con chorizo (broken eggs with chorizo). I mean who doesn’t like runny eggs over chips with some chorizo thrown into the mix? Nobody, that’s who. We got to try everything and wash it down with two sherries: a Lustau Fino Jarada (a crisp light-bodied sherry that pairs beautifully with olives, salted almonds, and fish) and a Lustau Palo Cortado (a special sherry that is produced unintentionally when a fino or amontillado loses its protective layer of flor in the barrel). Sherry and tapas are a match made in culinary heaven, and Rory suggested that if I ever open a wine bar in San Francisco, I should consider focusing it on sherry and tapas. We shall see…

After demo, most people had a quiet evening in order to start preparing for our technique exams. I found out that my scheduled time is on Friday in the later afternoon. I’m starting to get a bit nervous. Will what I have learned so far on the course come together during the exam or will I fail miserably under the pressure of the exam setting? Eeek.

Mas fotos:

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