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Spanish Cuisine: Travel
Traveling to Spain
the Spanish Government Tourist Office for information on all aspects of travel
to and in Spain. 665-5th Avenue
New York, NY 10022
phone (212) 759-8822
fax (212) 980-1053
or 8383 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 960
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
phone (213) 658-7188
fax (213) 658-1061
For lodging in Spain,
the well-known Parador system consists of 86 inns and mountain lodges, ranging
from remodeled castles to modest inns in remote areas. All have restaurants that
serve regional specialties. For information and bookings contact the Paradores
Madrid headquarters (Velazquez 18, phone: 91/435-9700, fax, 91/435-9869.) This
chain has an American representative:
Marketing Ahead Incorporated
433 Fifth Avenue
telephone (212) 686-9212
fax (212) 686-0271.
Ideally, the wines of Spain are the best accompaniments to the regional dishes. Rioja wines from north-central Spain are considered premium in quality. Another area that makes top-notch wines is Penedes, near Barcelona. All regions, however, have vines under cultivation.
The making of wine in Spain dates back over 2000 years, but the production of quality wines is a more recent development, dating back to the last century. Enterprising Frenchman came to Spain to renew their wine production when Phylloxera hit the French vineyards. They found these areas met their requirements and as the French prospered, the Spanish learned new wine-making techniques.
Climate and grape variety are two of the components that make Rioja wines unique. The third is the laborious process of barrel aging, and the wines spend many years in bottles in the bodegas before being released for sale.
A third region is Valladolid, where Vega Scilia produces the most expensive Spanish wine on the market today.
Sherry takes its name from its place of origin, Jerez, in southwest Spain. Its history goes back thousands of years, when Phoenician settlers introduced grape vines to the area. Only Jerez has all the optimum conditions for sherry production with the complex interplay of air, sun, soil, aging and tradition.
Sherries are blended and fortified wines and fall into several styles: Fino -- very dry or dry; Manzanilla -- very dry; Amontillado -- medium dry; Oloroso -- medium sweet; and Cream -- sweet.
Spanish brandies made by the French Cognac process are of exceptionally fine quality. Most come from Jerez, although the Torres company in Cataluna is producing excellent ones for export.
Sparkling Spanish wines are also made by French methods, developed in Champagne. Codorniu is the top name in the field; another firm, Freixenet, is widely distributed.
Restaurants in the Bay Area
3295-22nd Avenue (Mission District)
Lunch or dinner Monday through Saturday with a variety of tapas. Main course specials, paella, house-made flan, and sangria or Spanish wines are served.
1840 Clement Street (Richmond District)
Over 40 tapas are served in this Spanish/Peruvian restaurant but paella is the dish to order and flan is the specialty dessert.