Friday, November 13, 2009

A Moo-vable Feast

Our one evening in Barcelona and the four of us – Steve & Carolyn (our friends from Ottawa), Michèle and I – head for dinner at a Michelin one-star, called Moo. Moo specializes in Catalan cuisine, which has earned a reputation as the most avant-garde in the world. Dinner never starts before 9 p.m. in Spain so, at the start of the evening, we have time to take in a bit of La Mercé festival. From our open hotel window (hotel windows that open wide, how quaint), we watch a parade of giant-head paper-maché puppets. Ooo – scary, the kids love it.

We have time for a leisurely walk to the restaurant, again passing by the Casa Battlo (House of Bones), which looks eerie at night. Arriving at the restaurant, we start with a bottle of Cava in the lounge.

For appetizer, Carolyn and I go with the Dublin Bay Prawns with Curry, Roses and Liquorice; Michèle and Steve take the Asparagus, Mushrooms and Veal Rice. (For photo highlights of the food and wine, go to

For a matching wine with these dishes, again I’m looking for something local, something that we won’t find in Canada. The sommelier suggests a white blend from Priorat, Nelin 2006, made with Garnacha Blanca, Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne, Macabeo and Pinot Noir (presumably without skin contact!). It has aromas of pear, peach, honey and floral; full-bodied with a thick mouthfeel, yet good acidity. Great with the food.

For main courses, Carolyn and I take Farm Chicken in Two Cookings, while Steve and Michèle take Lamb’s Shoulder with Paprika. Steve and Carolyn aren’t too familiar with wines made from Tempranillo so I check the winelist for their selection of Tempranillo from Rioja. I love Rioja wines, especially the old style. They’re slightly oxidized with pronounced aromas of leather – an acquired taste. Unfortunately, that style is rapidly disappearing; Rioja is losing its typicity, i.e., what makes it distinctive. It’s the trade-off between appealing to the global mass market and making more money, or keeping a distinctive, if less profitable, style. There’s a Rioja Alta 904, it has the typicity, but the sommelier (who turns out to be from Puglia!) talks me out of it: too big a leap for first-timers to Tempranillo. I go with Vinedos de Paganos "El Puntido" Rioja 2005. It’s 100% Tempranillo and definitely the modern style: the colour purple with aromas of blackberry, black cherry, herbs, and tobacco. Definitely aged in new oak with the aromas of chocolate and smoke. Thankfully, it’s not too jammy and the tannins are well-integrated. Good with the chicken, and fantastic with the lamb.

On to dessert. Steve opts for Caramelized Apple; Michèle takes Mango, Coconut and Wheat; and Carolyn goes with Tiramisu. Me, I go for A Trip to Havana (rum sponge cake, lime soup, peppermint granite ice and cane sugar; with a Frozen Partagás Serie D No. 4 Cigar with spice ash... check the photos!) The “cigar” is made of chocolate-covered frozen cream, well-infused with cigar smoke! Ay caramba, definitely avant-garde. Like smoking a cigar, the smoky taste stays with me for the rest of the night. If you like cigars, then it’s worth A Trip to Havana.

No comments:

Post a Comment