Pau Arboix with his Casa Sendra salchichón (Photograph supplied)
The door handle is a large, gold letter S. There is no signage, no indication of what lies beyond the curtained windows on this shopping strip in the town of Vic, in Catalonia, Spain. Entry must be requested after ringing a doorbell. Inside, a small showroom oozes luxury. A huge chandelier hangs above a round wooden table that is polished to a brilliant sheen and surrounded by elegant, upholstered chairs. A huge, silver-edged mirror takes up an entire wall. There’s a large stone sculpture of a curvaceous, naked woman, her back turned, a pig at her feet, by the Catalan sculptor, Josep Maria Subirachs, whose best-known work is the Passion Facade of the basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Dangling enticingly along a wall is what we have come to see: row after row of sausages.
These are not just any sausages. An arm’s length and as thick as the barrel of a baseball bat, they’re salchichón – a type of dried, cured pork salami traditional in this town. These particular specimens, wrapped in glossy white paper, bear the insignia of Casa Sendra – the region’s oldest salchichón producer. Read the full story here.
Don’t be fooled into thinking Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula is some kind of sleepy backwater. It may be a little off the beaten track, but it has a smokin’ food and wine scene that’s as much a drawcard as its ruggedly beautiful coastline and curvaceous countryside. Here are ten ways to eat and drink your way around the region. Continue reading
The Food Sage goes shopping with Elena Arzak in San Sebastian
It’s 11am and I’m in a bar in San Sebastian, the culinary capital of Spain’s Basque region. Despite the in-between meals hour, the bar is laden with plates of pintxos, or tapas. The locals eat pintxos at all hours, and I’m here to meet one of the locals: Elena Arzak, who runs Arzak restaurant – ranked eighth on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013 – with her father, Juan Mari. Read the full article here.
A pintxos laden bar in San Sebastian
Pintxos (pronounced pinchos): it’s the Basque region’s answer to tapas and a more extravagant, elaborate and eccentric display of delectables i’d never seen, until i arrived in San Sebastian.
In San Sebastian any bar worth its salty anchovy has pintxos lined up buffet or banquet-style on large platters and plates. You tend to pay and eat on a kind of bar tab system: the waiter either clocks what you order and charges you as you leave, or you keep the toothpicks that many pintxos are pinned to and are charged accordingly. It’s a little ad hoc, as are the pintxos. But that’s all part of the fun and games. Continue reading
Getting down to business with a creme caramel in Auch, France.
It’s unsettling to come back to normality, when you’ve been galavanting around Europe for eight weeks having some of the best culinary experiences of your life. It’s unsettling to be back at work, sitting at a desk — or multiple desks (the wise ones at Fairfax have decided hot desking is the name of the game so we’ve become a workforce of wandering refugees, — forever without a home). It’s unsettling to look at your out-of-date blog and question if it’s worth continuing or throwing in the tea towel. The post-holiday plan is not to get bogged down with too much to do — to come up and smell the roses from time to time, which the wise one in our household points out i don’t do often enough. What to do? Life is a juggle. Continue reading