“In Priorat, the roads twist and turn through the hills and leave the sun behind. You can see it and feel it. Priorat is a world apart”
This is how Sara Perez, the woman behind Mas Martinet, describes this rich wine region in Spain, where she and her father, Jose Luis Perez, play an important role as part of the pioneers of Priorat.
In July, I was assigned by Wine Spectator Magazine to shoot the lead story of October issue about Priorat; one of the greatest wine regions in Catalan, Spain. I got a very detailed shooting list with names and addresses of the people I was about to meet and shoot. These were the pioneers of Priorat; the leading figures of the wine industry in that region. It was an intense assignment. Shooting from 7 in the morning (to capture the sunrise over the vineyard) till sometimes 9 in the evening, when the light was orange and soft. But nevertheless, it was a fun assignment, in which I have learned so much about wine and met incredible friendly people, who are proud of what they do, and obviously, proud of their wine.
This July I was assigned by Wine Spectator Magazine to shoot two stories for their October issue. One story is about Costa Dorada and the second is about Priorat Wine region in Catalan, Spain.
Costa Dorada or ‘The Golden Coast’ is only a 40 minutes drive from Barcelona and it is a perfect destination for a Summer Family vacation. It is a rich territory with a long coastline along the Mediterranean dotted by 20 colorful villages and towns, spread out between the sea and the mountains. But not only the sunny beaches and the golden sand. Vineyards, olive groves, hazel and almonds trees can also be found.
Scroll down to read more about some of the areas’ highlights and the best locations I’ve shot. (original text from article)
Before I start this post I have a confession to make: I don’t know how to cook.
Do you find it shocking? Not really. For someone who was born into a family where the men love to cook and even do it better than the women, my lacking in cooking skills is quite understandable. In fact, I am quite lucky to be surrounded with men who know how to cook, do it well and actually love doing it. Most of the guys I’ve dated belong to that category. The truth need to be told that I might be creative in other rooms in my apartment, but I am not creative in the kitchen.
Therefore, I was quite excited to take part in a real authentic French cooking class while visiting Paris early June. Cook’n with Classis the name of this fine school, located in 21, rue Custine in Montmartre. I am a true believer that Once in Paris, act and cook like Parisians do, I have joined a Morning Market class, which took place in one of Montmartre’s outdoors markets, in order to shop for the meal’s ingredients first and then learn how to cook them. We met with the wonderful super nice chef, Constance, who was extremely patient and answered every question we asked. She took us to various vendors in which we could find top quality products such as cheese, bread, fruit and meat. The local merchants were actually quite familiar with the school’s activity and were willing to answer our questions. Constance explained us on how to choose cheese, what is considered a good cheese and how to match its kind with other ingredients of the meal, for example. After that we walked to the school, where aprons, chopping boards and chef’s knives were waiting for us, ready to be used. We learned how to cook from scratch a starter, main course and even a dessert. It was all very inspiring! In the room next door, there was a baking class in progress and I could only hoped I had extra time in Paris so I could attend this class too. I have counted at least three people who got inside the school just to inhale the warm sweet smell of the buttery brioche.
Since it was a rainy day in Paris, especially quite unusual for June, Constance suggested we cook something with Spring seasoned vegetables such as potatoes, chanterelle mushrooms in a chicken stock. We also cooked meat with potatoes and pears (perfect for the weather) and the highlight (at least for me) was the fruit tart with roasted apples and caramel salted butter. And in case you missed something or want to try it at home, or maybe try something that was taught in a different class, I highly recommend to check the recipes section on line.
At the end of the hands-on cooking session, we sat down around the dining table (we could also invite a guest for lunch) and enjoyed the four-course meal. Everything was accompanied with various kinds of cheese we bought previously and wine. together with a fine selection of cheeses from the market and some great wine. The school has a quite busy schedule, diverse classes and an international staff of chefs, all speak English very fluent.
I don’t remember when was the last time I was almost four to five hours straight in the kitchen, but I was so intrigued and interested in the French ways of cooking that I didn’t even noticed the time.
It was one of my best experiences in Paris. In fact, I was quite surprised by myself as I usually lose track or anything. This cooking class was something quite a complimentary to all my Parisian experiences this visit.