Saturday 19 November 2011

Review - the Barcelona Supper Club by Codorniu

On Wednesday night my friend Ali and I went to a fantastic interactive supper club. Most supper clubs give you great food and company; this one gave us all of that but also a cookery class, a cava tasting class, and a Jamon carving class...

The Barcelona Supper Club, organised by Codorniu, took place downstairs at L’atelier des Chefs in Wigmore Street.  It’s a medium sized venue, which normally serves as a cookery school.  We all signed in, were served our first (of many) glasses of cava, and given access to some delicious olives and bread.

We were given a small guide book to the evening, and put into 3 groups, to make the numbers more manageable for the different activities.  We could see the menu on the blackboard, and luckily my group got to do the cooking first.  I say luckily, because we were being plied with cava very liberally; I’m glad I was cooking early on!

The cookery session was run by Rachel McCormack from Catalan Cooking.  She took us through the prep and cooking of the final course, Anec amb Peras y Espinacs a Catalana (Duck breast with Codorniu cava Soaked Pears and Carrots, Broccoli, and New Potatoes), showing us first how to chop the tomatoes to the right size, then seal the duck and so on.  This lasted about 20 minutes or so, and we got to mark our casserole dishes so that we could find what we’d cooked at the end. (The equipment we got to use was fantastic - the Le Creuset frying pan is going straight onto my Christmas list!)

Then it was time for the ‘Fizzness School’ aka Cava Tasting, where Nick Mantella gave us 5 of the different Codorniu varieties to taste.  All were delicious, but I think my favourite was the Anna de Codorniu, which is the best-selling cava in Spain.

Then to the Jamon carving, led by Chuse Valero, who made it look so easy, and cut off huge amounts of fresh Jamon from the bone for us to taste. Quite simply I’ve never lasted ham like it.  Even the best you can buy has inevitably lost something through storage; this just tasted insanely good!

Then it was time to eat.  The four courses that had been cooked - Jamon y Pa amb Tomaquet (carved ham with tomato bread), Xato de Sitges (Salt cod and Romesco Sauce with Curly Endive), Calamarsons Farcits de Ceba (Baby squid stuffed with caramelised onions), & finally our own Anec amb Peras y Espinacs a Catalana were brought to the table in turn and wolfed down.  All the teams had done their cooking bits well, and all were very good.

By this point we were running a bit later than we’d hoped, so we had to race off, but not forgetting to grab our goodie bags (inc. a bottle of cava).

Overall it was a brilliant, brilliant night, and fantastic value for £40 a head.  Most cookery classes cost more than that, without the other sessions and tha cava.  Probably not one for teetotallers, people who don’t like cava, or vegetarians, but we’d definitely do it again.  Please Codorniu - can we do it again..?

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