Spain comes to the Southbank | Campo Viejo Streets of Spain | Southbank Centre, Queen’s Walk and Festival Village, London, SE1 8XX

WE LOVE FOOD ITS ALL WE EAT Brindisa Ham & Campo Viejo wine workshop

Nice logo… Great wine!

We love Spain (who doesn’t?) and especially the stunning colour and vibrancy of Barcelona. On our last visit we used the Grand Hotel Central, with its amazing rooftop pool as our base camp as we ate and drank our way around the city. We would have loved to return again this year, but luckily it seems that Barcelona may have come to us! Because now in its second year, Campo Viejo Streets of Spain is coming to London’s Southbank. In 2013 over 160,000 people visited and this year they’ve promised even more activities and food stalls to keep the crowds entertained.
WE LOVE FOOD ITS ALL WE EAT Brindisa Ham & Campo Viejo wine workshop1


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.

WE LOVE FOOD ITS ALL WE EAT Brindisa Ham & Campo Viejo wine workshop1

The scene is set

First up was the Jamón de Teruel D.O.P. — Teruel, Aragón. Serrano, cereal fed – 18 months.
Ham fact: Jamón (pronounced hamon) is the back leg of the pig.
The ham: This was the palest ham on the plate, had the least fat and the mildest flavour. Still delicious, but not a patch on what was to come.
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.

Last but definitely not least was the Jamón de la Dehesa de Extremadura Bellota D.O.P. — Badajoz, Extremadura. Ibérico, acorn feed – 4 years.
Ham fact: To call your ham a Bellota, you must have one pig per one hectare of land. Plus each D.O.P. (Denominazione d’Origine Protetta (Italian: Protected Designation of Origin) pig has to have its own ‘passport’ giving all the details of said pig that you could possibly need!
The ham: These pigs are 100% pure Ibérico breed and this quality really translates into the flavour. The fat is so much more luxurious and this ham has the most marbling of the four that we tried. There was a slight crunchy texture to the meat and an amazing full flavour. Marcus said this is the best ham in the world and I think I might have to agree with him.
The wine: Campo Viejo Rioja, Gran Reserva – 2007 (24 months in oak). This had the darkest colour and boldest flavour of the four wines, with hints of raisins and tobacco. But at about £16 a bottle it’s definitely one for a special occasion.
WE LOVE FOOD ITS ALL WE EAT Brindisa Ham & Campo Viejo wine workshop

Food from Barcelona’s world famous food market, La Boqueria, will be hitting London’s Southbank…

Back to the Streets of Spain, the theme this year is colour and therefore the reason for the Campo Viejo Colour Lab, the world’s largest multi-sensory wine experiment with over 2,000 people expected to take part. There will be a blend your own Rioja masterclass, £15 (tickets can be purchased  by clicking here) and food and wine from Barcelona’s world famous food market, La Boqueria. Entry is free, so I’ll definitely be dragging the kids into town, if only to try some churros and some traditional Spanish tapas. So all we need is a little sunshine and with a little imagination walking along the Southbank could seem like a little stroll down Las Ramblas (without the pickpockets, hopefully).
Catch Streets of Spain at the Southbank Centre from 2nd – 5th May, 2014 (May bank holiday) 12am to 10pm daily
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX
Festival opening times: Stalls: Friday-Sunday: 12pm-10pm / Monday: 12pm – 8pm Festival village: Friday-Sunday: 12pm-11pm / Monday: 12pm – 10pm Southbank has parking available on site, open 7am – 1am daily. Parking fees apply.
Find them on Facebook
Follow them on Twitter
Follow them on Instagram
Nearest station: Waterloo (six minute walk)

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).