Food is intrinsically linked with wine. Only through understanding and tracking food and wine right back to their ingredients and conceptual inception can one estimate the travails of trying to pair them at a table
In Spain, a food and wine fiesta is commonly called dinner. So intrinsic is the idea of celebrating every meal in this country that for a tourist, it can be a daunting realisation just how much time these folks spend on meals.
But they don’t eat large portions, and yet manage to include a variety of food that shows double-digit variety. So when a country like this decides to put a food conference together, you know just how eclectic, how rich, and how tempting the final line-up will be.
Madrid Fusion is the name of the event where I was fortunate enough to be for the second time. Since my previous visit, which was a good few years ago, the event had grown and transferred to another (larger) venue. There was visibly more wine and beverages but outside of that, the show was fairly along similar lines.
The event is structured around talks by some of the world’s greatest chefs—from Japan to Peru, Finland to South Africa—and each chef presents his views, shares his experiences, and forwards his theories for food as we know it, and as they see it evolving.
And then, to complement all this, they have another stage where wine tastings and wine events are conducted throughout the day. The regions of Spain—plenty of Ribera del Duero this time—were duly represented by winemakers from the respective regions and the ability to taste them side by side is a great way to understand the different Spanish wine regions. My favourites, by the way, are Galicia for its aromatic Alvariño white wines and the Rioja for its tenderly floral, yet gently grippy Tempranillo-based reds. Regions that are gaining popularity would include Priorat, Monsant and Toro. There was also a small visit to one of the largest wine shops in Europe (at least by collection, if not in size) called Lavinia, where I was fortunate enough to get my hands on some precious Sherry—top among the world’s most under-rated wines—and some of the special (molecular) sparkling wine (called ‘Solid’ because the bubbles spiral up, but at almost 1/100th the normal speed of effervescence) that was created by the famous chef Ferran ‘El Bulli’ Adrià!
Casa Mariol would get my award for