Tribute to the Sea

This time we have gone South. Family reunion in Jerez (4 cousins!). As soon as we arrive the first thing we notice is the accent which I love more, the more I listen to it. We want to see flamenco dancing and listen to flamenco music the authentic way and, because this weekend there is some local religious festivity, we can do all of this even at lunch time. We go to a “tabanco”. These are wine cellars/shops where they used to sell local wines in bulk: sherry, oloroso, amontillado, palo cortado, fino, etc. In some of them you can even have something to eat and listen to flamenco, but not a flamenco show, I mean that somebody starts singing to a guitar while others accompany by clapping…. This is what I mean by flamenco “the authentic way” We love it….

Next day we head to Puerto de Santa María, we have a dinner reservation at Aponiente (2* Michelin) – I have been trying to come for years and I can’t wait! They have just moved to the new premises, a restored tide mill, next to the sea.

All decoration is marine, the walls have metal fish scales, and the lamps are jellyfish; there are big chandeliers with huge glass water drops, chairs with backs like fish tails, and so on.

We decide to go for the big menu (25 servings) and pair the whole dinner with French champagne in magnum format, why not?

If planning such a large menu is not easy, imagine if the whole menu is based in sea produce, no meat at all. Angel Leon is “El chef del Mar”( The Sea Chef).

Each bite makes you close your eyes and die of pleasure. I sometimes get asked: “is it really worth it to get on a plane for such a sort time to go to these places?” Of course it is! 100% sure! They bring us very strange things such as charcuterie made with fish, (chorizo made with fish), it doesn’t taste of fish, nor meat; sea cucumber; fish liver; cockle jelly; anemone, etc., but the main ingredient here, and which he has discovered is: plankton. This chef is absolutely amazing! He has discovered an ingredient... how can somebody be so clever? I am falling in love with him. No fats and nothing deep fried – aren´t we healthy! We ask the waiter, another bottle of champagne! The desserts are very healthy too, very fresh and very green!

The wine menu is very interesting with a lot of wines from Andalucia and even from Morocco. I like the idea!

Señor Angel is around and he has already come to say hello and to explain a couple of things. His “crew”, as he calls his team, is very professional too.

We are the only ones left but we don’t want to leave. Today is the last day until next season and the place must be packed up. In the taxi back to the hotel we carry on talking about the delicacies we have just eaten and we all agree that there is a “before and an after” the Aponiente Experience.

December 2015

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