What did the word sherry mean to me just over a week ago? Sickly. Sweet. Syrupy. Probably not a cool drink. Old people like it. Old people drink it after dinner.
What did the word Anada mean to me just over a week ago? Love it. Amazing Spanish food. Evokes memories of Spanish holidays gone by. Feed me, feed me.
Well, last Wednesday night, when I was lucky enough to sit on a tiny media table with some other lovely foodies for Anada’s special ‘Sherry Season’ dinner for Sherry Week, my opinion on one of the above radically changed. Would you like to guess which it was?
Anada is still incredible. On my third visit, I still adored the food just as much as I did the very first time I visited two years ago. But hey, something I learnt last week- SHERRY IS COOL. It is not at all for old people to drink after dinner. It is something that I will now happily order at a bar, and will definitely ensure I get something similar to the divine sherries tasted from a range of regions in Spain.
We began our sherry and Spanish food matched journey with an incredible little morsel called ‘Tortilla de camaron’, a crispy, crunchy tapas treat not at all dissimilar to a prawn cracker. As with all great foods, they have a story behind why they were created; as a way to cover the top of your booze (sherry perhaps) to keep the flies away. These were an absolutely perfect bar snack, something I know if allowed, I would accidentally devour a whole bowl of. Do not let these near me when I am intoxicated, ever! This was matched with a La Goya, ‘En Rama’ Manzanilla Magnum sherry from Sanlucar de Barrameda. We started off dry with the sherries, and these were probably what I found the easiest to drink seeing as I prefer dry white wine to sweet.
Next was the gorgeous eel brandade cigar, a very fancy looking pastry and the sea urchin montadito- more Spanish bar food that is just oh so easy to eat, especially when washed down with some Fino sherries from the Jerez region.
This was followed by my absolute favourite Spanish morsel, croquettes. These are my ultimate comfort food- if I am having a bad day. bring me a plate of these babies and I am happy. These ‘bunuelo de bacalao’, made with salt cod, were no exception to that rule. The gorgeous ‘calcote with romesco’, seared spring onions in a sweet tomato sauce was also great, but it was the ‘morcilla’ or blood sausage that impressed me the most having never tried it before and finding it surprisingly delicious. These tasty tapas were paired with Sanchez Romae Amontillado from Jerez, and a 35 year old version of the same sherry, and it was eye opening to see how much a drink could change in 35 years, though not surprising considering it is older than me!
Our main of Palo Cortado braised venison accompanied by beetroot ensalada was also comforting, rich and delicious, though different to the tapas I normally associate with Spanish cuisine. This was a heavy, winter dish with tender, gamey venison paired so well with the sweetness of the beetroot. These were matched with some Cayetano del Pino Almacesnista Palo Cortado sherries from Jerez aged both 15 years and 35 years.
At this point we were given a choice to either move onto dessert or add in a cheese course, and of course we said yes to cheese. Seriously, what kind of fruit loop would ever say no to Manchego? This took me back to Barcelona so fast- the way food can evoke memories is one of my favourite things about eating. At this point we started moving towards some of the heavier, thicker sherries that are more like the ones I have encountered in the past.
We ended on a delicious note with a pistachio cake with white chocolate and beetroot ganache with liquorice powder, the perfect cake paired with sweet sherry as it was almost savoury flavours.
Would I drink sherry again? Yes, absolutely. Would I order it at a bar? Yes, absolutely. Will I remember exactly what regions and types of sherry I liked the most on the spot? Probably not. But, luckily I will be able to bring up this blog post on my phone to remind myself and hope I can make a bartenders day by ordering something slightly different.
Would I recommend Anada? Every day. Now, someone bring me some croquettes, stat.
Thank you to Anada for letting me be a part of your #SherryWeek event.
Have a delicious weekend!