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Vermouth time

March 2019 | Тенденции | Гастрономия | Barcelona

People have a late lunch in Spain. Why? Well, aside from the demands of work, from 12 noon to 2 p.m. is the ideal time to enjoy a vermouth.
The Top Vermut, Campari.
Vermouth | © Pixabay
Interior Bodega 1900 | © Moises Torne
La Vermuteria del Tano | © @garciaaurin
La Vermuteria del Tano | © @garciaaurin

If wine is one of the top products of the “Spain brand”, vermouth is right up there too. This is an enriched, macerated and somewhat tart wine which, depending on its colour and taste, belongs to one of the two best known types: white –drier and stronger... the key ingredient of the well-known Dry Martini cocktail–, or red, which is sweeter. To produce vermouth, extracts of herbs, roots, flowers, spices and fruit are mixed with alcohol, and then wine and sugar are added before leaving it to stand.

Even though having a vermouth has long been a widespread custom in Spanish society, in recent years it has become fashionable with the return of vintage culture. Genuine cellars with enormous barrels and an old-time decoration that produce their very own versions of this drink are popular at vermouth time. When served cold, with or without soda, and always accompanied by one or two olives, it combines perfectly with any kind of ‘tapa’.

One of the city’s most iconic cellars is ‘El Tano’. Located in Gràcia, it is considered to be Barcelona’s best vermouth bar. This is not only the opinion of its patrons, who have been filling this establishment for years to savour its ‘Perucchi’ –the house vermouth– and the excellent tinned delicacies that it serves dressed with a home-made sauce, but also of the jury of experts that awarded it last year’s prize to the Best Vermouth Bar in Town.

Other emblematic cellars in Barcelona include ‘Quimet i Quimet’ at Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes – the city’s best known cellar thanks to its tap vermouth, its own special brand of beer and its popular ‘tapas’, as well as to the decoration of its premises, worthy of any Instagram wall. There is also another cellar called ‘Quimet’ in the Horta district, which is one of Barcelona’s most pleasant and least crowded areas. It opened in 1927 and features an extensive menu of ‘tapas’, mainly including different types of omelettes.

Another Barcelona great is the ‘Electricitat’ bar, which is located in the seaside quarter of La Barceloneta. Inside, this classic of the city has long tables that are shared by its patrons. Here you can enjoy a good home-made vermouth together with such popular ‘tapas’ as ‘bombas’ (savoury stuffed mashed potato balls) or potato omelette. And sometimes Catalan rumba groups come to play there, which is a special musical treat.

If what you want is a gourmet experience, Albert Adrià’s ‘Bodega 1900’ is what you’re looking for: here, a fascinating touch of innovation and creativity is added to the classic vermouth tradition. Adrià’s project is based on time-honoured recipes as a tribute to the traditional Spanish eateries, but he takes an all-new approach in combination with his own special vermouth. Dry-salt meats and fish, stews, preserved delicacies and marinades, plus a coal-fired kitchen stove and day fresh products are among the secrets of Albert Adrià, Ferran’s brother, who has reinvented vermouth time in style.
 

Jewels of Spanish cuisine
Some of the little jewels  of Spanish cuisine are preserved in tins. Indeed, with the passing of time, what actually began long ago as a method for preserving food for soldiers to take with them to the front has now become a gourmet experience: tinned clams, mussels and anchovies are a few examples of the delicacies that fill the city’s gourmet shops and the trend is to serve these delights in the best vermouth bars. A number of famous chefs have added them to their menus and some, like Albert Adrià, have even developed their own special brands.
 

 

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