Sumptuous Gifts from Cinco Jotas
Slices of Cinco Jotas are silky and tender with a flavor that is nutty-sweet – it really is the best bellota ham in the world and worth every penny. The Iberico pig’s diet of acorns is key to the flavor, texture, and aromas that make Cinco Jotas products so special. At Despaña, we are offering two excellent gift options for someone that deserves something extra-elegant.
The Cinco Jotas Master Kit is perfect for the aspiring “maestro cortador” in your life. Everything one needs to start carving like a pro, cutting the jamón ibérico de bellota into small, paper-thin slices, is included in this kit. Long after all of the jamón is gone, this gift will have the very lucky recipient talking about it for years to come.
The Cinco Jotas Gift Box, with 3 ounces of succulent hand-carved paleta bellota in an elegant presentation, is not only impressive, but delicious. This packaged paleta bellota has been hand-carved to ensure that each piece has the perfect amount of marbling. If you’re searching for a present for the host or hostess of an upcoming holiday party or know someone who is a die-hard foodie or fan of Spain, this is the gift to give.
Stop by our retail locations or give us a call and we’ll be happy to have any of our holiday gifts shipped to your loved ones, friends, and colleagues. Remember, through December 31, we are offering free UPS ground shipping on orders of $150 or more (excludes perishable items). Felices fiestas!
A Limited Edition Despaña Exclusive!
Found only in the best kitchens in the world, just a few drops of this oil will leave you with a unique and unforgettable taste. Beautiful and lavish both in presentation and flavor, Masia El Altet’s oil is the perfect way to give the gift of luxury (or pamper yourself)!
Sabores of the Season: Martha Stewart's Pumpkin Flan
After a huge Thanksgiving dinner, it’s incredible that any of us have room for dessert…but we do! Martha Stewart, who is a big fan of Despaña and who has stopped by our retail location on many occasions, combines the traditional pumpkin flavor with a classic Spanish dessert: flan.
Pumpkin Flan (serves 8 )
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup light-brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon La Bevia Coarse Mediterranean Sea Salt (available at Despaña)
- 1 cup cooked pumpkin puree
- 1 1/2 cups Half-and-Half or cream
- 5 large eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Put the granulated sugar in a 9-inch cake pan or pie plate, set on the center rack in the oven, and bake until the sugar is caramel colored, 8 to 12 minutes. Swirl to cover the bottom of the pie plate with the caramel.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Stir in pumpkin puree. In a medium bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, and vanilla. Thoroughly blend the egg mixture into the pumpkin puree.
- Set the pie plate in a large roasting pan, and pour the custard over the caramel. Carefully pour enough hot tap water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the pie plate. Bake until the custard is set, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool and chill in the refrigerator. Run a knife around the outside edge of the flan and invert it onto a rimmed plate. Cut into wedges or scoop and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
Dessert is most people’s favorite part of the meal, but shopping for dessert wines or other “after dinner” drinks is often an afterthought. Too often the options are limited to either the insipidly sweet “bargain” dessert wines or the outrageously expensive rare gems. Luckily, since we get to focus on only the best wines of Spain, we have some great options for all budgets at Vinos y Mas. With a rich & spicy dessert like Pumpkin Flan, something equally rich & spicy is an appropriate match. Three options that would surely fit the bill are Bodegas Alvear Medium Dry Amontillado, Valverán 20 Manzanas Frost Cider & Lepanto Solera Gran Reserva Brandy de Jerez.
Bodegas Alvear Medium Dry Amontillado $19.99
100% Pedro Ximenez
Alvear was founded in 1729 & is today one of the most prestigious wineries in all of Andalucia. Located within the DO Montilla-Moriles, Alvear uses only the Pedro Ximenez grape to make its wines. The Amontillado is a fragrant wine of intense aromas acquired from the development under the blanket of Flor in 500L white American oak casks in the Solera system for more than 5 years . Orange-tinged bronze. Enticing aromas of almond skin, walnuts, dried fruit & smoke. Suave, smooth & easygoing with modest sweetness & a lingering flavor of walnut. This wine presents an elegant style with typical Montilla character.
Valverán 20 Manzanas Frost Cider $25.99
Durona de Tresali, Regona & Raxao Apples
Having made wine for more than 40 years, the Masaveu family began producing cider in 2010 at their state-of-the-art facility in Sariego, Asturias. Drawing from this heritage, Valveran now produces unique ciders by melding the methods of cider & wine production. Using select apples from their orchard, el Rebollar, Valveran has refined the traditional Asturian cider to produce an incredibly complex frost cider. Each bottle of the 20 Manzanas frost cider is made from the concentrated must of 20 apples. The apples are picked at the peak of maturity & macerated, after which the effects of a natural frost are reproduced. The resulting concentrate is fermented in stainless steel tanks & then aged for 12 months in French oak casks. An incredibly bright and complex dessert cider, the 20 Manzanas features strong butterscotch & caramel notes, with undertones of apricot, plum & spicy citrus rinds.
Lepanto Solera Gran Reserva Brandy de Jerez $59.99
100% Palomino Fino
Lepanto is produced from Palomino grapes grown in the Gonzalez Byass vineyards located in the best areas of Jerez. Grapes are picked early to obtain high acidity & an alcoholic level between 10-12%vol. The wines are distilled in two 25 hectolitre alembic pot stills of the Charentais type. The spirit is twice distilled, a process that lasts 10 hours, requiring constant attention & great expertise to ensure that the “holandas” acquire the perfect characteristics & quality required for Lepanto. Topaz in color with golden reflections. Dry & delicate on the palate, with a wide array of flavors including caramel, vanilla, dried almonds & raisins. Lepanto’s quality is best appreciated when served in a balloon brandy glass at room temperature.
Sabores of the Season: Espinicas a La Catalana
As the New York Times so eloquently put it: “Green vegetables are the hallmark of the modern holiday table, the dish that says, ‘We know it’s Thanksgiving, but not everything has to be starchy, sweet or both.’” Many of Cataluña’s best dishes are vegetable-based due to the abundance of fresh produce along the Mediterranean coast. This easy-to-make recipe for Espinicas a La Catalana will have you reconsider the myth that vegetables are tastiest when smothered in cream or cheese.
(Photo courtesy of BiggestMenu.com)
Espinicas a La Catalana (Serves 8 )
- 4 tablespoons Cal Saboi extra virgin olive oil (available at Despaña)
- 2/3 cup pine nuts
- 6 garlic cloves, grated or crushed
- 2 cups raisins
- 4 lbs fresh baby spinach
- Zest of 1 lemon
- La Bevia Fine Mediterranean Sea Salt (available at Despaña) to taste
- In a large skillet, sauté pine nuts in Cal Saboi olive oil at medium heat until pine nuts start to brown.
- Turn heat to low, add garlic and cook for about a minute.
- Add raisins and let them cook for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
- On the same skillet, sauté spinach at medium heat until it starts to wilt. Add La Bevia salt to taste.
- Add reserved pine nuts and raisins and lemon zest, and cook until all the liquid from the spinach has evaporated.
Any dish featuring dark leafy greens, like spinach or kale, is notoriously hard to pair wine with. The high iron & folic acid content can overwhelm lighter white wines & magnify the drying sensation of tannins in reds. Luckily we’ve got something for every occasion at Vinos y Mas! The trick to pairing with dish like Espinacas a la Catalana is finding whites with creamier acidity & low-tannin reds. A lush Godello, like Viña Godeval Godello 2011, & a light & fruity Beaujolais-esque red, like Los Bermejos Listán Negro Maceración Carbónica 2012, play the perfect part.
Vina Godeval 2011 $21.99
Founded in 1987, Godeval not only restored the ruins of the 12th century Monastery of San Miguel de Xagoaza, where the winery is located, but also resurrected the all-but-forgotten ancient varietal of Godello. Green-tinged in color with nacreous glints. A freshly attractive nose displays a powerful bouquet of countryside grass, fennel, mint, lime blossom & orchard fruit. There’s an echo of a wet minerality in the background, like smelling a hidden stream through a thick grove of trees.
Los Bermejos Listán Negro Maceración Carbónica 2012 $23.99
100% Listan Negro
Another outstanding wine from one of our favorite producers. From vines raised on the island of Lanzarote, this indigenous varietal is grown in forbidden-looking volcanic landscape. The vineyard looks like something out of science fiction with black-ashy soil spotted with circular craters dug to protect the vines from the harsh winds that bombard the island. This vintage underwent “carbonic maceration”, a technique most popularly employed in making Beaujolais Nouveau. Without getting too technical, the process creates a fresher & fruitier wine. Using a typically peppery varietal like Listán Negro creates a wine that harmonizes otherwise opposing qualities; florality, jamminess, & dark spice. An absolute winner by anyone’s standards & a much more interesting wine than the usual boring Beaujolais.
With extended store hours at our Soho location and Vinos y Mas this week, plus 20% off of all wines at Vinos y Mas (excluding reserve selections), we’ll make shopping and getting everything you need for a Turkey Day dinner a breeze!
Sabores of the Season: Potato Gratin with Manchego and San Simón Cheese
The American Thanksgiving table isn’t complete until there are potatoes (and gravy!) on the table. In lieu of gravy, we’ve added two of Spain’s delicious cheeses – the iconic Manchego Añejo, an aged and nutty sheep’s milk cheese from Castilla-La Mancha and San Simón, a slightly smoky, fresh cow’s milk cheese from Galicia – to everyone’s favorite starch.
(Photo courtesy of Culinary Confessional)
Potato Gratin with Manchego and San Simón Cheese (12 servings)
- 3 heads of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
- 1 tablespoon Cal Saboi extra-virgin olive oil (available at Despaña)
- 1 quart Half-and-Half
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
- La Bevia Fine Mediterranean Sea Salt (available at Despaña) and freshly ground pepper
- 5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
- 9 ounces Manchego Añejo cheese (available at Despaña), coarsely shredded
- 5 ounces San Simón cheese (available at Despaña), shredded
- Preheat the oven to 375°. In a 9-inch cake pan, drizzle the garlic with the Cal Saboi oil. Cover with foil and roast for 40 minutes, until tender. Let cool, then squeeze out the cloves.
- Mash the garlic to a paste and transfer to a saucepan. Add the Half-and-Half, thyme and rosemary and bring to a boil. Simmer over very low heat until reduced to 3 cups, 20 minutes; season with La Bevia sea salt and pepper.
- Arrange one-fourth of the potatoes in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with one-fourth of the shredded Manchego Añejo and San Simón cheeses and drizzle lightly with the garlic cream. Repeat the layering with the remaining potatoes, cheese and cream. Pour any remaining cream on top and press the top layer of potatoes to submerge it.
- Bake the gratin for about 1 1/2 hours, until golden and bubbling. Let cool for 20 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.
Thanksgiving is a holiday of traditions, so why not make the wine selections traditional as well? Rioja & Spanish wine are synonymous & for good reason. Rioja was what made the world originally recognize that quality wine could be made in Spain. That fact continues today with a wealth of fantastic well-priced wines in a variety of styles. Nothing could be more perfect for the meal than the Lopez de Heredia Viña Gravonia Crianza 2003 & the Marqués de Legarda Reserva 2007.
Lopez de Heredia Viña Gravonia Crianza 2003 $27.99
Arguably this is the most traditional example of Rioja Blanca from the oldest & most respected house in Rioja. Lopez de Heredia is like stepping through a wormhole to the Rioja of long ago. Cobwebs, dusty rafters, & layers of mold clinging to the walls adorn the Bodega, all helping to maintain the microbiological environment that has existed for centuries.
Though this white is referred to as a “crianza” by the Bodega, the wine is anything but. It is aged four years in barrel & almost four in bottle before release. 100% Viura from the Zaconia vineyard, average around 45 years old. The poor stony soils face south & contribute to the wine’s complexity & minerality. Broad notes of roast pineapple, hazelnuts & wax with nuances of chamomile & quinine.
Marqués de Legarda Reserva 2007 $29.99
90% Tempranillo & 10% Graciano
Sometimes a winery’s success isn’t a good thing for us Americans. With hundreds of years of experience (literally) Marqués de Legarda had little reason to search for markets outside of Spain. It was only recently that the Bodega began to allocate 20% of its production to foreign markets; that’s 20% for the US, Great Britain, Germany, Mexico, Switzerland & Colombia!
The 2007 Reserva is a fantastic example of an overachieving value. Medium-bodied, it displays classic Rioja aromatics: dark cherry, tobacco, tar, fennel & toasty vanilla. On the palate it is completely satisfying with plump fruit & surprisingly complex flavors that echo the aromatic profile. With balanced acidity & tannins, there are no hard edges, just smooth sailing through the lingering finish.
While you’re picking up the cheeses for this delicious gratin, we recommend getting a little bit of extra cheese for serving as an appetizer or as an after-dinner treat and a few extra bottles of wine (it won’t go to waste, trust us!). Who doesn’t love wine and cheese? With extended store hours at our Soho location and Vinos y Mas during the week of November 25, plus 20% off of all wines at Vinos y Mas (excluding reserve selections), we’ll make shopping and getting everything you need for Turkey Day dinner a breeze!