Disconnecting, Spanish Cheese, and Gazpacho

By July 22, 2013Creative Combo

I won’t lie, last week was a little rough. We were pretty sure (although not 100% until the last minute, of course) that our Kickstarter campaign wasn’t going to get funded. We prepared for it mentally as much as we could and we learned a lot along the way, but the week was still full of a lot of hard.

On Friday, Koldo suggested that we go for a good hike Saturday. I’m almost never one to turn down a hike. I mean, I have to be totally exhausted or sick to say no. Something about being in nature makes all of your problems feel far away and insignificant. And the exercise clears the mind too. When we got back home later in the afternoon, I felt like a new person.

forest

In Spain they call that “changing the chip”.

forest-path

wino-crossing

We used to go hiking almost every weekend in Spain and got out of the habit when we moved to the Pacific Northwest because we got too busy with work and other stuff.

queso-roncal

On the way back home, we dropped by the post office to pick up a package that contained cheese that Koldo’s mother sent us.

If you asked me what I would eat if I could only eat one thing the rest of my life, I’d pick cheese. To me, a simple and well-selected cheese plate is like the most amazing meal in the world. I especially love very cured sheep cheeses.

One thing I appreciate about Spain is how much the culture revolves around food. It seems like about every other song has a reference to some type of food and each region, city, and village has its own specialties. A lot of people in Spain go on food tours. Basically, what you do is make a driving route and stop to try the different things that are typical to each area and village. One day I’d really love to do this. We’d come back home fat and happy, that’s for sure.

This area is well-known for this type of cheese. It’s made from raw ewe milk and is cured a minimum of four months. It’s so cured that it’s quite hard and almost has a dry texture although it’s not dry when eating it.  It has bit of a nutty flavor that’s a little spicy almost.

spanish-cheese-and-wine

This particular cheese that Koldo’s mother sent is from the Roncal Valley near the Basque Pyrenees.

It’s artisan made, so it’s not cheap. I don’t know how much this cheese cost exactly, but when I tried it I died and went to heaven and then promptly felt nostalgic for Spain. This cheese is really meant to be eaten slowly and savored. I think this one is one of my favorites ever. I thought it was especially tasty paired with Vermouth. The spiciness of the cheese works well with the spiciness of the Vermouth.

I like to think of Gazpacho as a salad you can eat like a soup. The first time I tried Gazpacho, I thought the taste was too strong because it often has a lot of garlic and onion. But, the way Koldo makes it is amazing. He manages to make it taste smooth and just very slightly sweet, which is perfect for me.

gazpacho

Today Koldo made Gazpacho for lunch, one of the most clever summer dishes ever.

gazpacho2

When we were eating it, Koldo told me that Gazpacho is originally an Arab dish, which I didn’t know.

I always assumed it was Spanish, but given the amount of influence the Moors had on Spain and also the fact that it contains cumin which is native to the Eastern Mediterranean area, it makes sense.

Summer has quickly become my favorite season since we moved here. The clouds the rest of the year make it all the more precious. We have sun, good hiking, and Mediterranean fun. What better way to “change the chip“?

 

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