Over the course of a single evening, I genned up on Codorniu's range of Cavas, cooked some authentic Catalan food and - the highlight - learned how to carve that Spanish delicacy, Jamon Iberico.
I wouldn't say that I'm now an expert and ready to be let loose on my own whole ham, worth around 400-500 Euros. However, I made a fair fist of producing some wafer-thin slices under the watchful eye of Master Carver Chuse Valvor. The best part, of course, is that you get to eat the ham.
|The Master Carver at work|
|Looking and learning|
|Putting it into practice|
Of course you don't need to know all this in order to enjoy the melting, sweet-savouriness of Jamon Iberico. But it does help to give an understanding of why it is so expensive.
Over the course of the evening, our three groups each helped to cook and then serve one course of our Catalan meal. We started with a delicious fresh wild mushroom broth and moved onto a main course of duck breast with pears and spinach cooked with sultanas and pinenuts. My small contribution was towards the dessert of walnut custard cream dessert, which was described by Rachel McCormack, of Catalan Cooking, as rice pudding using ground walnuts instead of rice. You'll have to be the judge of how delicious that sounds, as I had to head home before it was served so that I could catch the last train home.
It wasn't just the food and drink that was Catalan, the timing of the evening meant that we didn't sit down to our first course until around 10pm, in true Spanish style.
If you fancy a go yourself, Codorniu are running a Supper Club open to all at L'Atelier des Chefs on 16th November. For details visit the Codorniu website on www.codorniu.co.uk or go to the facebook page: www.facebook.com/TheBarcelonaClubByCodorniu.