More specifically the varied North East...
As we continue our ‘Journey Through’ series with La Bandera I thought it best to head on down to check it out and see what all the fuss is about.
As I was unfortunate enough not to be around for their Canary Island and Andalucía events, I was very excited to be invited to their latest one – exploring the North East of the country.
Bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the Pyrenees mountains on the other, the area is extremely popular for visitors to the country and acts as many people’s gateway to the rest of Spain.
There’s a varied terrain of forests, plains, beaches and mountains, and with its deep independent soul and roots it’s a very different part of Spain than many other regions.
This in turn is reflected in the diverse dishes that emanate from the area, and in recent years the region has become a true gastronomic dream – home to many Michelin starred restaurants and some of the best eating establishments in the world.
Sitting down at the table in La Bandera we were quickly put at ease by owner Yashin who gave us a little bit of information about the night, the food we would be eating and the food we would be drinking.
It was a 7-course tasting menu, incorporating much of what makes the North East so unique and we started off with Pan Tumaca con Jamon, or 36-month cured Iberian ham to all of us non-Spanish speakers in the room.
To say that ham is important in Spain is certainly an understatement – they take it very, very seriously – and it shows.
Cured for 36 months, the jamon melts in your mouth and perched atop a little bit of bread with tomato and garlic – it’s the perfect start for what’s to come.
Alongside the Escalivada came a Frito Mallorquin, a dish of stir fried meat cuts and vegetables with Balearic spices and herbs.
Next up was one of my favourites – a dish of spreadable chorizo with goats’ cheese and honey. I mean this beauty was exceptional and certainly whisked me all the way to a Spanish villa somewhere in the hills around Barcelona.
The next course could be considered to be the ‘main’ course – a perfectly prepared Cod supreme fillet that is cooked in a tomato, pepper and almond sauce.
The fish was fantastically salty and fresh, working really well with the tang of the tomatoes and nutty almonds. It was one of the best fish dishes I’ve had in a long, long time.
Next up – Paella Valenciana, a dish that has its roots in mid-19th century Valencia. It’s a truly iconic Spanish dish and it certainly went down a treat on our table.
That’s actually something I should bring up about the event. We were seated on a large table with people we didn’t know, which was great! We all got chatting, got to know each other and had a great laugh. The wine certainly helped the situation though – as it does with most.
As we were coming to our final course, we were all pretty stuffed, but luckily for me I’d left a little bit of space for something sweet. Step up the Crema Catalana, a vanilla cream custard dessert that’s then finished off with caramelised sugar and ice cream.
It’s pretty much a crème brûlée and therefore fantastic. The perfect end to a great night.
The next Journey Through event at La Bandera will be taking place on Thursday 28th November and will be concentrating on Central Spain. Details below…
Journey Through Spain: Central
Venue: La Bandera
Date: Thursday 28th November
Cost: £29 per person