Spain comes to the Southbank | Campo Viejo Streets of Spain | Southbank Centre, Queen’s Walk and Festival Village, London, SE1 8XX
To launch Campo Viejo Streets of Spain I was invited along to Brindisa at Borough Market‘s Spanish food shop for a Brindisa ham and Campo Viejo wine workshop. Laid before us was a plate of hams and four empty wine glasses… Let’s the tasting begin! What we were told was amazing although my little brain reached saturation point fairly early on, the wine didn’t help either. It’s at times like this I wish I had a photographic memory. Listening to the experts talk, especially Marcus de Vere (principal carver, what a title!) really opened our eyes to the complex rules and regulations of producing the world’s best ham. I’ll quickly run through what we ate and drank, dotted with just some of the facts that I picked up along the way. Basically the quality and the ham and the body of the wine improved as our pairings progressed, you really do need the bolder wines just to compete with intense, complex flavours of the last couple of hams. But already I’m getting ahead of myself.
The wine: Campo Viejo Rioja, Garnacha – 2012. A delicate wine that’s best served slightly chilled. A nice summer red that’s high in acidity. Acidity in wine is what literally makes your mouth water and it’s also what breaks down the fat on the ham.
Next was Eiriz — jabugo, Huelva. Ibérico, cereal fed – 2.5 years. Ham fact: Colour of the ham comes from the age of the pig, the darker the ham the older the pig.
The ham: This is a big, ‘aggressive’ ham. It’s quite salty and you start to notice the quality of fat has changed. Marcus’s mantra of ‘fat is good’ makes complete sense – plus I really want to put that slogan on a t-shirt.
The wine: Campo Viejo Rioja, Tempranillo – 2012 (4 months in oak). Believe it or not the type of oak used in making the barrels plays a massive part in the flavour of the wine. American oak adds a vanilla flavour, whilst French oak adds a more earthy, woody tones. This wine was darker in colour and had a much bolder, yet sweeter taste.
Ham No3 was Ibérico Brindisa Bellotabottled — Guijuelo, Salamanca. Ibérico, acorn feed – 4 years. Ham fact: The redness of the ham is given by muscle, the redder the meat the more exercise the pig has had. Bonus tip: All ham should be served at room temperature. If this can’t be done, place a piece of ham on the back of one hand and cover it with the other hand until the meat doesn’t feel cold. It sounds crazy it really worked, the warmth brings out the flavours and slowly softens the fat.
The ham: There is a sweetness of this ham that comes from the pigs diet that includes (but is not exclusive to) acorns. It also has a nutty taste that comes from its age, the layer of fat was thicker than the previous two hams with a creamier texture. The wine: Campo Viejo Rioja, Reserva – 2008 (18 months in oak). This was my favourite wine, again the colour was slightly deeper and had more length. At the RRP of £11.29 a bottle (although it can be found cheaper) it’s the perfect wine to slowly work your way through, with some Brindisa ham of course.
WIN A wine and food hamper full of treats from Barcelona’s La Boqueria food market!
We’re offering one lucky person the chance to have a taste of Spain delivered to their door by winning an exclusive hamper packed full of treats, courtesy of stallholders from La Boqueria who attended this year’s Streets of Spain Event. The prize will also include a bottle of Campo Viejo Reserva Limited Edition wine. To enter simply click here (terms and conditions apply).