Archive for the Tomelloso Category

Castile La Mancha – Tomelloso- Eating & Drinking

Posted in Castile - La Mancha, Ciudad Real Province, Spain, Tomelloso with tags , , , , on February 5, 2019 by gannet39

I ate and drank very well during my time in Tomelloso (Google map here).

This first restaurant was especially good…

La Antigua (High Intermediate A-), 112 Calle Don Victor Penasco, www.facebook.com

This beautiful restaurant and tapas bar in a recently renovated old town house is a new addition to my list of favourite restaurants.

On my first visit I sat downstairs in the back room with its beautifully tiled floor. Before I had ordered any food, a couple of free tapas landed on my table alongside my glass of wine. This Croqueta de Mariscos was to die for (A+).

And this Pincho Moruno was really good too (B+).

I knew this restaurant would be an excellent place to try local wines so armed with research from the internet and with some help from my helpful waiter I tried several of Tomelloso’s more famous wines. To drink I began with a glass of Anil (B) which was recommended by Ana at the bodega I had visited that afternoon.

Next a glass of sparkling Verum Gran Cueva (B+).

The Laminas de Salmon pressed all the right buttons in terms of flavour and presentation (A).

The Verum Airen was okay (B).

But the Verum Malvasia was stunning (A). It had a wonderfully fragrant nose which lingered on, as did the flavours on the palate.

The Foie Frio was okay (B).

The Laya Monastrell I had with it was really good (B+). I later ordered 30 bottles of it for my pop-up restaurant. With tax and delivery charges, it came to under €10 a bottle.

The Allozo Verdejo had an excellent nose (A).

The Tacos de Atun, while being very visually attractive, had no flavour except of some rather overbearing citrus (C).

After eating I went through to the bar for a brandy, my favourite Spanish digestif. Tomelloso produces some of the best Holandas (distilled wines) for the production of brandy in the world and the waiters told me that many of them are sent down the road to be bottled in Jerez (my favourite Spanish wine town). However, there are two famous local names; Brandy Casajuana and Brandy Peinado, both of which mature their brandies in oak barrels using the Solera System.

In the bar I attracted the attention of Patrick, a friendly French guy who turned out to be a professional hunter. He waxed lyrical about the restaurant, the town, and the excellent game that was to be found in the surrounding countryside. Here’s his website showing what he gets up to. We discovered we had a mutual love of Spanish brandy and he encouraged me to try a few chupitos (shots) of different brandies. I had the local Peinado 20 year old (B)…

…Fundador (B) and Fundador Exclusivo (B+).

I’d love to try the Peinador 100 year old, which they had, but a bottle costs £175 and they were charging €20 for a glass!

With the brandies, all of this only came to €43; great value given the level of enjoyment I’d had.

Of course I was back at the first opportunity, this time for lunch upstairs.

They have an interesting gallery of old photos and prints running around the walls up here, including this Picasso print.

This time I tried their cheese selection; three kinds of Manchego cured using different methods. I preferred the Aciete (cured in olive oil) but the Manteca (cured in lard) and the Romano (?) (cured in paprika) were good too. (A, B+ and B respectively). Also a plate of Jamon de Bellota which was top notch (A).

The waiter again recommended the local Laya red wine (B+) to go with the cheese.

To finish a glass of the posher variety of local Casa Juana brandy. It has a very particular flavour but I’m not a fan sadly (C).

Marquinetti (High Intermediate A-), 47 Avenida D. Antonio Huertas, www.marquinetti.com

This pizzeria is considered one of the best in Spain if not the best. It was the most reviewed restaurant in Tomelloso on TripAdvisor when I was there in March 2017, which to me is a more important indicator than its #1 position, and it also received glowing reviews from the locals I spoke to. It has also achieved fame in 2011 for producing the world’s longest pizza but lost that title in 2015.

There were as many staff as customers when I went, about fifteen of each as it was early, but the number of chefs and overseers might be because it also doubles as a pizza making school; the Escuela de Pizzeros Asesoramiento.

The pizzas are all excellent and use inspiring combinations of ingredients. As a pizza purist I’d usually go for a simple Margherita but I decided to push the boat out and had the Nicoletta, made with mozzarella, burrata, San Daniele ham, tomatoes and olive oil. It was really good (B+) but the crust was harder than I was used to and was consistent all the way through, whereas in Naples (see my Home of the Real Pizza post) it would be hard around the rim and soggy with cheese and tomato juices in the middle, which tends to be how I like it.

In Naples a pizza would cost a few euros but I forked out €19 for this and it was one of the cheaper ones, hence the minus in the A- rating.

On the plus side, glasses of Torre de Gazate (B) were only €2…

…and the cheaper version of Casajuana brandy only €3. As with the pricier version, I’m really not a fan as it tastes like they put vanilla in it, not pleasant (C-).

The Marquinetti experience was worth the walk from town but I won’t be spending that much on a pizza again any time soon.

Orbe Kitchenbar (Intermediate B), 148 Calle de Doña Crisanta

This gastro bar was recommended by local teacher for modern Spanish cuisine. I enjoyed it and would happily go again.

I had the colourful house salad which was fine (B).

Their croquettes come in three flavours; Chiperones (baby squid), Jamon (cured ham) and Idiazabal (Basque cheese). They all scored B.

I tried a couple of wines suggested by the school owner I worked with. The Brincho Alba had a great nose (B+) but fell down on flavour (B).

The Allozo Flor was okay (B).

The Verum Roble was very good though (B+). They were my favourite bodega while I was here.

I was more than happy to pay €21.40 for this lunch.

Cervecería Horno de Oro (Intermediate B), 2 Calle Bruselas

A bright, modern, popular place that specialises in roasting meat in a wood fired oven. I had the Codillo al Horno con Patates (roast suckling piglet with potatoes) which pushed all the right buttons (B).

The Torre Gazate Crianza red wine went well with it (B) but beer is more their thing. Total cost €14.20.

Off to Manzanares next!

Castile La Mancha – Tomelloso – walking around a wine town

Posted in Castile - La Mancha, Ciudad Real Province, Spain, Tomelloso with tags , , , on February 4, 2019 by gannet39

La Mancha (from the Moors’ word Manxa, which means, “parched earth”) is Europe’s largest winegrowing region, and its most important wine-producing town, Tomelloso, has the largest wine cooperative in Europe and the second largest in the world, in addition to several other wineries which produce high quality wines.

Beneath the towns buildings there are nearly 4000 ‘cuevas’ for the storage of the wine. As you walk around you will notice nearly all the houses have grids outside that lead down into these cellars. These ‘lumbreras’ allow air to circulate and locals jokingly refer to them as air conditioners. Many of the cuevas still have the typical earthenware jars and other utensils necessary for winemaking.

My Google map is here.

After arriving in town my first stop was Posada de los Portales in Plaza de Espana, the central hub of the town. The posada was a former inn, built in 1778, which is now the Cultural Center and Tourist Information for the locality.

The nice lady there made a couple of calls for me to see which cuevas were accepting visitors and made an appointment at Bodgegas Perales, an old bodega founded in 1900.

After lunch I went to the address and was met by a friendly lady, the granddaughter of the original proprietor who, along with her little boy, gave me a personal tour of the winery.

The ground floor had more modern equipment, such as a machine for macerating the grapes…

…and tall concrete silos for holding the must.

It was explained to me that the bodega no longer processes its own grapes and instead they send them to the cooperative factory for bottling.

Down in the cellar…

…which was hand cut out of solid rock…

…were some much older holding jars…

… and barrels.

And at the end of the tour I was shown a small museum room displaying wine testing equipment…

…and some early examples of the bodega’s advertising.

This was an interesting and enjoyable tour that gave me lots of practice in listening to Spanish! I was quite surprised by how much I understood.

Other buildings of interest in town are the bullring, which is just up the road from the bodega…

…and over the road from the tourist information, the town hall is quite imposing.

And on another side of the same roundabout is the unimpressive main church, Parroquia Asunción de Nuestra Señora which has 16th century origins.

It’s a nice town to stroll around looking at the old town houses.

Some are decorated with beautiful ceramics, even under their balconies.

And others have lovely old doors.

What to eat and drink in Tomelloso is next!

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