One of the things that might attract the visitor’s attention most is that in Spain canned food has a consideration beyond subsistence food, military grub for dangerous missions or student flat food. It is a product of quality and luxury, whose price can sometimes reach striking figures. Enter a gourmet supermarket when you visit one of our provincial capitals and you will see what I mean. In Spain there is a long canning tradition. The variety is overwhelming: Santoña anchovies, foie gras, piquillo peppers, asparagus, bonito del norte, mussels and a long list of others.

The canning industry alone generates more than 250,000 tonnes of fish per year, some of which is exported – around 50%, and 80% of this is consumed in the European Union, where its quality is highly valued.  

But where does this tradition come from? In addition to being a country with a great deal of fishing and farming activity, it dates back to the 18th century, when death by scurvy on ships that spent a long time sailing on the high seas had become a real problem. It was Frenchman Nicolas Appert, who observed that foods boiled at more than 80ºC, and not exposed to air, lasted longer without spoiling.

The food then began to be packed in airless containers, which were later sterilized at temperatures to eliminate bacteria and other microorganisms. The result: a longer-lasting, tastier and more nutritious foodstuff.

It was not until the 19th century that the production of packaged food would take place industrially, first in glass jars and later in the popular tin containers.

The result not only prevented the spread of certain diseases, but also brought enormous health benefits. Protein, fatty acids of marine origin and polyunsaturates, omega-3…

For many people eating canned food is not at all glamorous, but canned food can reach levels of excellence as high as any other meal prepared for hours. But welcome to Spain! Here the preserves have rightly been given their place in the most demanding and exquisite pantries, so they deserve to be treated and combined with an appropriate wine, which enhances all their virtues.

Fish preserves combine perfectly with young wines: don’t be afraid, open a tin of sardines and enjoy it with a garnacha, a monastrell, a mencía or a rosé. On the other hand, if you prefer tuna or any of its relatives (bonito, melva…) choose a white wine with body, maybe some barrel.

Don’t forget to try our seafood preserves: the delicious clams, razors and cockles from northern Spain. If the seafood is packed in natural packaging, they will be perfect with the wines of the area: Rías Baixas or Ribeiro. If they are packed with sauces or fried, try a sherry.

Do you like anchovies? You can’t imagine the pleasure of savoring them accompanied by a Txakolí.

Have you ever been told that asparagus and artichokes are the great enemies of wine? Nothing could be further from the truth. A Sauvignon Blanc will put the sulfuric flavors and aromas of these vegetables in their place. In my case, I love artichokes and it’s always been a headache to find them a good companion. Here you have it: Amontillado wine.

And finally, I don’t want to say goodbye without mentioning the foies. Although I’m not a fan of them they marry spectacularly well with Pedro Ximenez.

Don’t hesitate. On your next visit to Spain let yourself be carried away by the fascinating world of canning. You will be pleasantly surprised, as well as discovering a new and wonderful souvenir to take home, for you and your friends.

 

It was a year ago when we started this adventure of the Spanish Wine Experience. At the beginning we only had in mind a few weekly podcasts to discover all the Spanish DO’s, accompanied by a few blogs here and there on wine related topics.

Well, after that time, the result has been much more positive than we had expected. We have remained strictly on schedule in our podcast publication every Thursday of the year. To date, we have published 53 episodes in which we have travelled throughout most of Spain, but we are far from coming to an end. We still have a long way to go: wines of the region, wines of the land, not to mention those areas where there are excellent red and white wines, but of which we have only talked about one variety. So don’t worry, there’s a lot of podcasts left.

We have visited wineries, events, fairs, we’ve invited friends to join us on our podcasts and together with them we have drunk and laughed like never before.

We have also celebrated special times of the year that deserved particular attention, such as Christmas, Easter, Halloween or the New Year.

We have created a community of friends around the world who support us on a weekly basis with their questions and suggestions. Nothing can make us prouder.

And after this first year we only want to continue growing, so we are taking advantage of this first anniversary to announce that now you can also enjoy our enological experience live and in our company through the Airbnb Experiences.

The proposal we want to make is to visit two typical taverns in the centre of Madrid, in possibly the most popular traditional neighbourhood: La Latina. There we will taste 4 different wines: a sparkling wine, an unusual white wine and two totally unexpected red wines. We don’t want to bore you with the wines that you can find in supermarkets around the world. And of course, each wine will be accompanied by a tapa, where we will test the pairing ability of our chefs.

We will bring our podcast microphone to our experiences and they will become part of it. We would love to hear what you think about Spanish wines and above all, to participate with your doubts, questions and thoughts. From the very beginning our podcast has created a virtual community that knows no boundaries, a group of friends who unite us in love of one thing: wine.

We would love to have you on your next trip to Madrid. If you are encouraged to visit the capital of Spain, visit the Spanish Wine Experience site on Airbnb, look for the day and book your place.

Another of our adventures during this second year of production is to launch the “Spanish Wine Experience” book, where we will gather the necessary information to turn it into the most practical, complete and irreverent guide on Spanish wine in the English language. Stay tuned for future news on this exciting project.

And for the rest, we only have to thank you for your company, we want to continue counting on you week after week, and please do not hesitate to visit us if you stop by Madrid: we will toast to that.

 

All the best,

Luke & Roque