On my recent road trip to Florida with my sister-in-law Olivia to visit my niece, I was promised a wine and food adventure that I was sure to enjoy. Although we have an obvious connection by marriage, she and I have been close friends for many years and share an intense love for creating delicious meals and enjoying wines. We have enjoyed our traveling culinary adventures together and her promise of a great experience was kept!
We were looking forward to finding a Paella Restaurant that my niece had heard about.
Mi Tomatina Paella Bar pays homage to the La Tomatina Festival held in Bunol,Spain the last Wednesday every August. Looks like the tomato fight could be fun!
Upon arriving to the beautiful resort town of Winter Park, Florida, we found our way to this rustic and welcoming Paella Bar Mi Tomatina. The atmosphere was relaxed and tastefully decorated as I would imagine a house in Spain would be and we felt as if we were dining in their kitchen for a relaxed meal of Spanish cuisine and wine.
Delightful Flamenco guitar music made this dining experience even more authentic.
TAPAS AND CAVA
We began with CAVA, the sparkling wine of Cataluna, Spain. Cava is made in the same way as champagne but with different grapes. I selected Raventos for its refreshing bubbles, brightand lively fruity aromas of lemon and green apple and complex notes of freshly baked bread. Our tapas plates of Serrano ham, Manchego cheese, marinated olives and warm bread with fresh tomato dip were a perfect match.
Making Paella and Tapas have been two of my favorite ethnic dishes to cook for many years. Paella is a festive Spanish treat and is a great excuse for a party. Some of my best parties have revolved around Paella and Tapas or small plates of a variety of cheeses, seafood and roasted meats and served with Spanish wine and Sangria.
Paella originated from Valencia but depending on which region of Spain you are in, the Paella and its ingredients will vary. There were six Paellas to choose from and I knew exactly which two I wanted to order. The signature Paella was brought to the table in the traditional shallow pan with saffron-soaked rice, succulent shrimp, mussels and clams and spicy chorizo and chicken. DELICIOUS!
Another Valencian Paella and referred to as Fideua (fay-du-ah). Pasta replaces the rice and it cooked with the traditional ingredients and spices. Since I first learned about fideua from the Cooking Channel on Foodography The History of Noodles, I have wanted to try it and I was pleased to find this dish on the menu. The pasta absorbs all the flavors from the saffron, garlic, olive oil and seafood and we enjoyed every flavorful bite!
I was impressed by the wine list. It was well-constructed and offered a great sampling of quality wines from the different regions of Spain. Our server brought out several samplings for me to try and I decided the perfect pairing with the Paella was the Resalte, Ribera del Duero 2007.
This is one of my favorite Spanish Wines. The wine is referred to as Robles which means young. This tempranillo wine spends little time in oak giving it that fresh, fruity character and means drink now!
I love it for its deep, ruby red color and aromas of fresh and juicy red fruit. This wine comes from the Ribera del Duero Region of Spain and the grape is Tempranillo, one of the most important grapes in Spain. You taste Spain when you drink these wines.
This wine is aged for 3 months in new French Oak and is expressed by the vanilla and roasted coffee aromas. The tannins and acidity are not overpowering which makes this a perfect match with the Paella as well as other spicy dishes with meat and seafood. This Tempranillo wine spent just 3 months in new French Oak and was bottled as a Selected Harvest.
Let me know if I can help you select the best Spanish wine for your next Tapas or Paella Party! If you need instructions on Paella preparation or want me for a Paella and Tapas Wine Dinner, just ask!
Ciao for now!