“What grows together, goes well together.”
Andalusia, Sherry & Flamenco
An Interview with Andalusia expert, Iván Ricoy.
May 11, 2020
First of all, thank you so much to those who joined us for our first Instagram LIVE! There will be many more to come on @insiderstravel
Here’s a summary of our conversation with links & names for your convenience:
Rocío Romero & Manuel de Melena, Ivan’s neighbors & Joanna’s friends, both famous flamenco artists. Rocío is a flamenco dancer (aka a bailaora) and he is a flamenco singer (aka a cantaor). Check them out here: Manuel singing with flamenco guitarist, Luis Moneo (siguiriyas) & Rocío’s FB page.
Ivan’s cheese comes from a local shepherd named, “Domingo” who is also a (goat) cheese maker! (#slowlifemoment)
Thoughts on this… Post-virus travel will most likely look like what we both already do: Slow travel in small groups. Travel will be taken more seriously; about creating connections & savoring the moments rather than going through check off lists.
This will be a time to shift into a reflective stage. Go for profound or deep experiences. Breath in the land, meet the people who make the land so interesting.
We will be looking for those “exhale moments”, when there is intimate silence & reflection.
Life in quarantine:
Reconnecting with the things you love to do – Iván is rediscovering his favorite music, dancing, playing guitar & making paella! He is also accumulating energy & enthusiasm. A time for less what-do-I-have-to-do-thoughts & more creative / complex thoughts.
It is a time for us to reconnect with our clients. We have been given the gift of time!
Joanna: Was leading one of our escorted journeys in Andalusia!
One of her favourite roads on the tour was the A-372 from Ronda to Cadiz going through the Sierra de Cadiz, passing by olive trees & the white villages including Grazalema. Famous for their lambswool blankets (and the rain!)
Ohh! And the funny moment on the steep curvy roads up into the Sierra de Malaga! They had to follow our friend Paco up to a bodega & along the way had to overtake a man in his car who was taking his horse out for a walk on a leash! (see video!)
Last meal out you had?
Iván: La Carboná in Jerez. A fantastic restaurant that isn’t too fancy or sophisticated but that has great food & pairs it’s dishes with delicious sherries.
Ordered a risotto with an amontillado! His guests were amazed & joined in immediately. Isn’t this just the best way to learn?
When you have wines & food from the same region – that’s when the magic happens…!
Ivan’s friend from the Basque Country recently told him the expression, what grows together goes well together. It’s great because it is so true!
Another pre-covid moment, Joanna: the ride from Madrid down to Malaga via Seville on the day of the Goyas (aka the Spanish Oscars)!
**INSIDERS TIP!** On any train in Spain, hop into the cafe-bar car… even if there are only 2 people in there, your first reaction will be, “whose party is this?!” That day she met up with her friends from the film world for an on the rails aperitif!
Then, that evening, classic tapas bar in Málaga – vermouth with orange peel ensaladilla from there with cod, potatoes and oranges and olive oil. So fresh. It felt like she was home.
“Manos a la obra!” (literally means. “hands to the construction work” meaning… let’s get down to work!)
Ivan, a sherry expert! Sherry can only come from the“sherry triangle”, like champagne. This is a region in southern Spain called Jerez (which in fact translates to sherry in English) The triangle’s points are the small cities of El Puerto de Santa Maria, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, & Jerez de la Frontera.
How to choose the best? Just start trying them! If you like dry wines, go with a fino sherry which goes well with salty savory foods. If you like something sweeter, try an oloroso. For the warm weather coming up, a chilled, bone dry fino or manzanilla is the best!
During the conversation, Joanna was sipping on a fino from Bodegas Gutiérrez Colosía in El Puerto de Santa Maria. It’s the part of the Puerto that was the first industrial estate in Spain – with a street leading straight down from the sherry bodegas to the river so they could roll the barrels straight onto the boats.
Did you know that you can smell sherry in the air if you live in Jerez?! In fact, as this is where Ivan is from, his childhood memories are filled with this scent. What separates the old town of Jerez & the new areas are the sherry bodegas, with all their aromas.
Activities during these times? Ivan: Cooking! Paella & artichokes (as they are in season) are the most popular in Ivan’s kitchen at the moment! Did you know that artichokes grow wild outside the sherry wineries?! The same shepherd that delivers Ivan’s cheese also gives him a weekly supply of artichokes. His favorite way to prepare them? Grilled. Or in tempura. Or rice with artichokes and chicken… there are so many options!
Spain’s other famous region for artichokes is in the north, in Navarra, in the town of Tudela! (also known for their asparagus & lettuce!)
Plans when the lockdown ends?
Freedom of movement at a provincial level here in Spain.. so Ivan’s first place to visit will be Cadiz! It is the south west point of Spain where the Mediterranean meets with the Atlantic Ocean.
Best beaches to visit over summer? The southwest coast has lots of unspoiled coastline: Huelva, Cadiz & Almeria. Many natural parks along the coast.
TIP! To avoid the crowds this summer… go early in the day or later in the evening for sunset. Bring a little cocktail & gazpacho and watch the sun go down! Or… go in September!
If you’d like to experience some of this, join us post lockdown for our Andalusia journey.
Until next time!
♥ Insider’s Travel team