Campo Viejo – A Trail not to be Missed by Suzi Redmond
Somehow I have missed this trail which is surprising with my love for all things Spanish. So this year I was delighted to be asked to join in on the fun on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, so lovely one could almost forget that they were in Dublin. My friend Kasia joined me on my journey. So what is it? Well the point behind it is to discover ‘tapeo’ “the art of enjoying tapas with friends and family” with a bit of city and Spanish history & little nuggets of information about places we all walk by every day. They want to bring a bit of Spanish colour to Ireland with art work from renowned Spanish street artists in each of the venues you visit, with some great street art just completed by Okuda on Chatham Row in Dublin. For €30 you get a lovely glass of Campo Viejo Reserva and a selection of tapas at four very interesting and quite different restaurants.
We kicked off in Zargagoza where we were welcomed with a refreshing glass of Campo Viejo cava, a great start. So we sat down and given a little synopsis from our tour guide, the energetic and passionate Paul. Here we had three delicious tapas with a glass of Campo Viejo Reserva 2009, three generous tapas, a goat’s cheese triangle, prawns and 2 pork meatballs. The wine I should mention is smooth, elegant and full of dark fruits with a lovely hint of oak, and aged beautifully. We cleaned our plates forgetting there were three more restaurants to visit… So we welcomed the mini stroll to watch Okuda painting a very vibrant and beautiful mural on Chatham Row. From here we popped to Bagots Hutton, a beautiful venue I have frequented on many an evening. They have really got the sharing down with big plates of cheese, meat and pizza. Ok, pizza is Italian, but the theme was very much embraced. The food was as always delightful and clean plates were left. As you may or may not know Bagots Hutton is steeped in wine history, and they have recently opened the wine cellar for a relaxed but romantic atmosphere to dine in.
Following Bagots Hutton we strolled down the street to learn a little more of the exciting history behind closed doors, before stepping into Drury Buildings. Here they had a live DJ helping to keep the buzz going while we sat down to three more incredible tapas with our lovely glass of Campo Viejo Reserva. Beef meatballs which were utterly delectable, a manchego cheese croquette and smoked salmon on brown bread. All accompanied the wine beautifully. I think here is where people started to chat more amongst each other in this “mish mash” of New York meets Dublin interior, in my mind anyway. A fun and what felt like a quick visit. The old “time flies when you are having fun” really was evident as the trail continued hearing snippets of about Dublin’s shenanigans and fine wine, so we headed to our final stop at Salamanca, a restaurant with a beautiful Spanish bodega interior.
At this point we were a little full, but dessert was on the menu here – or so we thought – as they were last on the trail for us, but they decided to show us what we could have gotten if we had visited them first. So with our glass they served a non-menu prawn and salmon burger, goat’s cheese croquettes deep fried in bread crumbs with a reduced black sugar cane syrup (still dreaming of theses) and a chorizo paté with a quail’s egg that had a light dusting of popping candy. Unusual, but it really did work. For dessert we had a beautifully light crema catalane, it finished the day off beautifully and helped digest all the amazing food we devoured.
Overall the concept works and it is a lot of fun. I visit wine bars frequently to meet with friends, but this event not only brought a bit of festival fun to my Sunday, but a catch up with a friend as well as chatting to others about food, wine, the afternoon, the food pairings and many other similar topics. General consensus was what a fun way to spend an evening or an afternoon, with most thinking about bringing friends and family on the trail. I not only would do so, but I would like to check out the Cork and Galway trails. It is a great way to capture a little bit of Spain and its flair on a random Sunday. Word of warning, do not eat beforehand…
Suzi is passionate about wine, beer and whiskey too, not forgetting a love of food and travel. She has been a part of this industry for a little over 10 years. She has worked on level 4 in WSET during this time and regularly hosts tastings and staff training in these sectors. She has recently started a blog on all wine, beer and spirit related beverages. You can follow her blog at suzisgrapecrush or follow Suzi on Twitter