Here in Spain, a lot of celebrating is about to take off: Christmas Eve is around the corner, often celebrated with family feasting; Christmas Day comes and we enjoy a large Spanish-style lunch; Sant Esteve in Catalonia which is held on the 26th involves another long lunch and usually canellonis. After this three-day marathon of indulgence, there is a minor break until New Year's Eve, New Year's Day and then King's Day on the 6th of January, all equally celebratory. What's the thread that ties it all together? Cava.
People celebrate all of these holiday dates with various traditional foods. Some families serve fish and rice while others dish up stuffed turkey or pork. Others pour reds from Rioja or white wines from Galicia. Some serve turron (a sort of fudge) for dessert and others prefer dried fruits and plump cakes. One feast ingredient, however, is the same across the board in Catalonia: the cava.
For those who don't know, cava is much like French champagne and no celebration in Catalonia is complete without it. Drink cava with appetizers or with dessert, chilled to perfection. A couple months ago I was at one of the most important cava events in Catalonia - Cava Tast - held in Sant Sadurni d'Anoia after the cava grape harvest. There I sampled some of Catalonia's finest bubbly and learned a little about where to go for organic cava. There aren't many bodegas or cellars that produce organic cava, but there are a few with quality products out there.
To make your feasting complete this year, pick up a bottle of Cava Brut Reserva Albet i Noya for about $12.50 (or about nine euros). Toast with friends with a bottle of organic Brut Nature Castell de Soterra for the bargain price of about $6.50 a bottle. Really, you should not spend less than this, otherwise you might end up with a holiday headache. When looking at cavas, the Nature cavas have less sugar and less headache potential.
If you want to see where the magic of making cava happens, take a train from Barcelona to Sant Sadurni d'Anoia and head over to the Albet i Noya cellar. Take their tour and then buy the bubbly straight from the source. Salud!
image: Wandering Brit