Catalan Festival Recap, Recipes & Pairings

Did you do anything fun this weekend? As I mentioned last week, I planned to attend the Gloria Ferrer Catalan Festival to get a dose of Spain without going too far from home. Though it was their 25th anniversary, it was my first time attending and what a fantastic event it was. I ran into a friend at the event who happens to be a Spanish teacher that visited Spain for the first time last year, and it just added to the experience to talk about our respective trips there and relive some of our favorite moments, food and sites.

The festival couldn’t have taken place on a more gorgeous summer day. It was sunny with a nice cool breeze. We started the day with a paella demonstration by the “Paella Guy” Jose Castaneda. It was so impressive, with Castaneda and his team making the popular rice dish in a variety of different ways in several large paella pans. One even had a whole salmon that was at least 2’-3’ long with large chunks of pineapple. As he explained to the engrossed crowd, “though pineapple is not a traditional ingredient to use in paella, it adds a whole new dimension to the dish.”

Amazing food, great Spanish still and sparkling wines, and authentic Flamenco guitar and dancing made for an incredibly entertaining afternoon. There was even a grape stomp competition, which was so much fun to watch and it looked like it was a real workout for the contestants as well!

While sitting under the new grape-covered pergola overlooking the Sonoma Valley, we enjoyed paella and several different Spanish delicacies and wine pairings. If you weren’t able to attend, but would like to recreate the event at home, here are some recipes for some of the food we had along with pairing ideas, as well as a link to download some music by Flamenco guitarist Eric Symons to set the mood.

Roasted Artichoke with spicy aioli – pair with a chilled Verdejo or a refreshing Spanish Rosè

Cheese plate with almonds – pair with Tempranillo

Chorizo sandwich on rustic roll – pair with Garnacha or Tempranillo

Paella – pair with Tempranillo or Garnacha

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