Saturday, December 31, 2011

Stocking up

Market day in El Port de la Selva and we have a force 7 wind. The tramuntana is here in all it's glory, which made shopping at our small outdoor market quite uncomfortable, and worst of all, the man who sells the nuts, dried fruit and cheeses isn't here. After picking up a loup de mer -- also called branzino or sea bass -- for dinner, we decided to go to Espolla to pick up some wine.

We have been trying many different wines since coming here, especially those produced locally, hoping to find a favourite. At the moment that would be Clos de les Domines Reserva 2007 Bottled at d’Espolla cooperative. It's a blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and carinyena negre.

Many villages have agricoles or cooperatives, producing and selling wine and olive oil from that area. Typically visitors are able to sample available wines from large casks, which is what we did!  Finding nothing new to tempt us, we settled on the wine we knew, along with a good bottle of rose with which to spritz the rabbit we plan to cook for our New Year's Eve dinner.

A decanter of olive oil had also been put out for us to try, with little crackers - delicious! It was just the way I like it, a nice light, nutty taste, not too overpowering. We bought two litres for our everyday cooking.

Our next stop was Empuriabrava for some household shopping. The supermarkets closest to us are too small to carry everything we need; every so often we have to drive a little further. Right next to the supermarket is a large hardware store and there were a couple of things on our list we knew we could find there. Unfortunately, by the time we had finished with the groceries, it was past 1 pm and the hardware had closed for the afternoon. This is quite typical and we are often caught out this way. We could have used the time to go for a walk; there is an excellent dike path bordering one edge of the town. But today's wind ruled that out so we opted for our other option, lunch!

We previously had two favorite restaurants in Empuriabrava, but today added a third. We had spotted an obviously very popular Italian restaurant right on the beachfront and decided to give it a try. They had a menu of the day for €10.50, including wine -- Perfect. There was lots of choice but we opted for a four seasons pizza with mozarella, tomato sauce, ham and artichokes cooked to perfection in a huge pizza oven. That along with a glass of vino tinto, green salad and a really tart lemon gelato was our lunch.

We finished our shopping and headed home under lovely blue skies. It was so windy that even the handful of putas (hookers) that we usually see sitting on their chairs at the side of the road had opted to stay at home.

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