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Don Quixote and Sancho Panza from a mural in a restaurant in Tembleque, Castilla-La Mancha.
The La Mancha essentials: bread, cheese, wine, cured ham and, probably pickled aubergines.
Purple garlic cloves, famously from Las Pedroneras (Cuenca, Castilla-La Mancha), i which is the ajo morado capital of Spain and has a festival to celebrate the bulb every year. (Think Gilroy, California, which claims to be the garlic capital of the world.) Las Pedroneras is also home to arguably the best restaurant of la Mancha, Las Rejas, where the great chef of La Mancha, my friend Manuel de la Osa is the chef-owner. Nabor Jiménez , the chef-owner of El Crucero in Corella (Navarra) brought out a plate of the big purplish cloves to show us. “Ajo morado is much finer garlic than the kind we have here in Corella,” Jiménez said.
Ajos morados, purple garlic.
María José San Román serving her arroz a banda 'Taberna' (paella with shrimp and fresh squid) from La Taberna del Gourmet at Jaleo's Paella Festival opening party.
Slide show of rice dishes from Jaleo's paella festival in June 2010.
Paella (see Arroces or Arroses [Catalan}
Paella, Spain's best known dish, is technically known as arroz en paella or arròs en paella (Catalan/Valencian), arroz al horno (oven-baked in a casserole), arroz caldoso ("soupy" rices cooked stove-top, etc. Paella is the pan.
Pimientos de Cristal
Slightly picante pimientos de cristal, red peppers--not to be confused with the famous local piquillo peppers. These pimientos de cristal were served with a minced black olive-infused olive oil at El Crucero, Corella (Navarra).
Pimientos de cristal.
Pochas are white beans with a cranberry bean like shape, consistency and flavor, in this case, cooked with clams. They are also often cooked with chorizo and morcilla and sometimes with quail. Served with guindillas (piquant, elongated green peppers similar in flavor to Greek pepperoncini). Las Campanas Garnacha Rosado (rosé), an inexpensive Navarra D.O. wine, is a good companion to this wonderful dish from northern Spain.
Pochas con almejas, guindillas, Las Campanas rosado.
From Casa Cámara a wonderful waterside restaurant in the storybook, one-street village
of Pasaia Donibane (Pasajes de San Juan) near San Sebastián.
The Spanish Artisan Wine Group - Gerry Dawes Selections
Gerry Dawes can be reached at email@example.com