España Day 4: El Puerto de Santa Maria

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

There’s nothing like a high-speed train as a way of seeing a country. In only two and a half short hours, we went from Madrid to Sevilla, blasting through country-side that was filled with olive trees and open fields. A bus then took a bus to Puerto de Santa Maria, a sleepy little seaside town where, as part of the Sherry Triangle, much of Spain’s sherry production is located.

Lunch was a seafood extravaganza at Romerijo, which seemed to be the main establishment in town, as its name appeared on my city map in several places. It was mostly filled with Spaniards, drinking pale Fino sherry and eating the local critters. Unbelievable amount of steamed crab claws and shrimp arrived in large paper cones, like bouquets of flowers from the market. Here, the seafood is not molested with butter as we do in the States, instead it is treated to only a squirt of lemon. The fried anchovies, squid, and cumin-spiked fish cakes came next, along with a much appreciated green salad. A few of us topped off lunch with the local ice cream, Bornay, and despite being in a foreign land, I couldn’t help but getting mint-chocolate-chip, my default.

Dinner seemed to come only a few moments later. It was an all-sherry meal prepared for us by Chef Fernando Cordoba of El Faro. Of course, I wasn’t drinking the Sherry, but I got my fill of it in dishes like Roasted King Prawn in Amontillado Sherry Sauce and Cold Cherry Gazapacho with Smoked Eel and Goat Cheese. This dinner was shared with many of the Osborne family members, including Tomás Osborne, the company’s President, and a Count.

After dinner a few of us took a tour of Chef Fernando’s kitchen. While he was busy demonstrating his favorite kitchen appliance (a blender that heats at the same time), I wandered off and discovered some beautiful bunches of fresh herbs on the impeccable work-station. There is something for everyone.