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Posted: Friday, July 18 2008. 11:50

Spain’s Food & Wine Fairs: A Perpetual Feast

 

Ricardo Pérez, Descendientes de J. Palacios, Bierzo (left) & Juan Such, Verema.com (right)

Telmo Rodríguez

Charlie Trotter at BCN Vanguardia

In early March in Ferrol (A Coruña, Galicia) the Chamber of Commerce of Vilagarcia de Arousa staged the bi-annual (2009 is next) Fevino—Fería de Vino de Noroeste—a show based primarily on the white wines of Galicia, but with exhibitors from around Spain. Here, in a less crowded environment, some 300 bodegas brought more than 1,000 wines to taste. This one is particularly good for importers and the press interested in the wines of northwestern Spain, because sit-down sessions with bodega principals and representatives are available on a one-on-one basis.

Also a bi-annual fair—and the biggest of them all—is the huge Alimentaria fair, a huge event with thousands of exhibitors (which next will take place in Barcelona from March 10-14, 2008). Hundreds of bodegas bring thousands of wines to show and along with a mind-boggling variety of foodstuffs, there is Barcelona’s equivalent of Madrid Fusión, the less well-known, but superb BCNVanguardia Congreso Internacional de Gastronomía de Alimentaria, all of which combine to make Alimentaria a not-to-be-missed event for wine lovers and foodies alike.

Ferran Àdria at BCN Vanguardia

Juli Soler of El Bulli

Jose Andres & Quique Dacosta at BCN Vanguardia

 

Three-star Michelin Chefs Santi Santamaria, Ferran Ádria, Paul Bocuse and Juan Mari Arzak at the Salón Internacional de Gourmets in Madrid

In April, back in Madrid at the Casa del Campo, the Grupo Gourmets, for the past 21 years, has staged the Salón Internacional de Gourmets in three different exhibition halls, where some 1,000 exhibitors show an estimated 35,000 products, among them thousands more wines from all around Spain. This is one of best wine and food fairs I know and another no-miss event for wine and food professionals and aficionados of the best of Spanish products. For more than 30 years, Grupo Gourmets has been the publisher of Club de Gourmets magazine and an outstanding guidebook series that includes the annual Gourmetour Guía Gastronómica y Turística de España and the Guía de Vinos Gourmets wine guide.

Torta del Casar at the Cheese Judging at the Salon Internacional de Gourmets in Madrid

Also in April and coinciding with the Salón de Gourmets, the group behind verema.com, started a new upscale bienial wine event, Vino Elite, which featured some of Spain’s top wineries and seminars by such luminaries as Spanish art film maker José Luís Cuerda (also owner of the D.O. Ribiero wine, Sanclodio), Jonathan Nossiter of Mondovino wine documentary fame and his wife, Paula Pradini, who showed her Mondoespaña segment. The verema.com group and Emiliano García—owner of Casa Montaña (a revered Valencian bodega and tapas bar that dates to 1836) and Aranleón (a very promising new Utiel-Requena winery), also staged another star turn tasting event, Vino a Toda Vela (Wine at Full Sail), one of a string of events celebrating Valencia’s turn at playing host to the America’s Cup yacht races. The event, which featured top wines from Spain and around the world was held in the cloister of the 500-year old monastery that now houses part of the University of Valencia.

 

 

 

Palacio de Congresos, Valencia, site of Vino Elite

Paco Higón, Verema.com; Paula & Jonathan Nossiter

The Feria Nacional del Queso (National Cheese Fair), of Trujillo (Cáceres province) in the region of Extremadura, has taken place the first weekend in May since 1986. Called the most important cheese fair in Europe, this consumer-friendly event has nearly 100 cheesemakers showing some 300 different cheeses, which can be sampled with local wines by buying tickets that are exchanged for tastes at each tented stand. The fair takes place outdoors in Trujillo's spectacular, historic Plaza Mayor, the main square, which is surrounded by distinguished buildings and the large equestrian statue of Francisco Pizarro, the conqueror of Peru.

Cheese Fair in Trujillo's Main Plaza, La Plaza Mayor.

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