Sunday, March 5, 2017

Shellfish & Grapes in Galicia

Trip date: October 2015

Northern Spain Trip Day 2

After a good night's sleep we started day 2 with a simple breakfast in the hotel; yogurt, churros and coffee con leche for me. We then drove to Cambados, skipping the town center and making our way to the shore.  It's obvious that seafood is the main industry here, the shoreline scattered with boats while many of the houses are sided with local scallop shells. It was a gorgeous morning to explore the area and we seemed to be the only ones out and about at 9:30am.

Soon the sleepy town was awake with mostly ladies it seemed, heading out onto the low tide flats to collect shellfish. There were a few men here and there but this is obviously women's work in this part of Galicia.

They seemed amused that we were so interested; this tiny town doesn't see a lot of tourists I could tell. It was such a unique experience to watch them with their wheeled carts & buckets, long tined rakes, and knee high rubber boots, digging up the assorted bivalves.

Back in the van, we made a quick stop to the winery Adega Cabaleiro do Val to pick up winemaker Francisco “Paco” Dovalo and some wine (I think we surprised Gerry by being such enthusiastic tasters the day before!) and then continuing with the shellfish theme we drove to O Grove. This peninsula faces the cold Atlantic and is in the heart of the Rías Baixas.  We boarded a boat which took us out to the shellfish rafts where farmers grow mussels, clams, and scallops. We were shown how they harvest the shellfish and then we were served huge platters of steamed mussels fresh from the sea. Alongside Albariño of course; the minerally flavors of the wine and the mussels a perfect compliment!

Gerry showed us how to hold a shucked mussel in the shell up for the seagulls to take. Judy had a great time having them swoop down to her outreached arm and pluck them from the shell. It was a super fun morning.

Happy with our snack it was time for a proper lunch and we had reservations at d'Berto back in town. We were seated in the banquet area and were presented with an amazing array of seafood, many items I had never had before such as baby black scallops! It was an incredible lunch served with more of Gerry's wines.

There was another group in the banquet room as well, a men's gastronomy club each outfitted with their own personalized bib. They were also having an incredible lunch and a pretty raucous good time! For whatever reason, one of the men decided he was very taken with me and declared his interest by writing me a sweet note and his phone number on his bib. I was flattered and more than a bit embarrassed!

We drove back to Cambados and caught the very tail end of the fish market. Next up, a visit to the beautiful Palacio de Fefinanes for a wine tasting. Because it was 5pm and we clearly had not had enough wine yet! Throughout this region the vineyards trellis the vines on granite posts, something I've never seen anywhere else in the world.

That evening we met up with six of the winemakers that Gerry was working with, back at the winery Adega Cabaleiro Do Val for a very casual, delicious, and boozy dinner. There was an insane amount of wine, empanadas (this is a Galician specialty which I came to absolutely love!), clams, Spanish tortillas, some truly incredible steaks (all food cooked by the winemakers), lots of singing, and the piece de la resistance, queimada- a pumpkin filled with a concoction of booze, lit on fire, while a spell was recited before we all drank it. Seemed fitting as this was Halloween eve!

Ooohlala, my head the next morning! But it was soooo fun and a truly unique experience! Additionally we had all gotten a preview of how much each day would have crammed (in a good way) in it.

All Galicia photos here.
Other posts from this trip:
Northern Spain Food & Wine Tour
On the Move in Galicia
Shooting Sidra in Asturias
Beef and Basque

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