Rubaiyat's Feijoada

RUBAIYAT’s FEIJOADA (CAN BE ENJOYED IN MADRID, RIO DE JANIERO & SAO PAULO)

1 kilo of black turtle beans or pinto beans ( often called Alubias ) or white Cannelli
beans ( NOTE: In Northwest Portugal Feijoada is made with white beans, in the
Northeast it is made with red kidney beans and each family adopts its own versions and
vegetables, for example: tomatoes, carrots and cabbage. (This recipe calls for black beans often called turtle beans).

¼ kilo pig ears
3 pork ribs
100 grams filet mignon of pork
1 pig’s tail
6 Iberian pincho or skewer size style sausages
6 Portuguese sausages

½ of 1 pig’s trotter
¼ calf’s tongue
1 chunk Spanish, Portuguese or Canadian bacon
1 chunk of smoked pork loin shoulder
150 grams dry meat called carne seca

1) Put all the pork meat ingredients in a large Dutch oven preferably made of
copper or earthenware terracotta clay with the beans on low flame ( slow
cooking ) for 2 – 2 1/2 hours (AFTER THEY HAVE SOAKED OVERNIGHT
IN SALTED WATER). Taste test to insure their tenderness, and if needed cook a total of  3
hours.
2) After two hours, add the two varieties of sausages and cook ½ hour more.

3) Now, prepare the chopped bacon, celery, garlic, 1 rock glass of fresh squeezed
orange juice, a shot glass of Jérez Brandy, a shot glass of Black Beer, chopped
onion, oregano, salt and pepper to taste and a shot glass of Brazilian Aguardiente
called Cachaca liquor.
4) Simmer to boil on low to medium flame for 10 minutes and serve with white
rice, fresh double skinned Israeli oranges and fresh lime slices, the perfect
company for Feijoada.
5) Serve with a full bodied red wine: Ribera del Duero, Toro or Priorat designation
of origin.

History of Hotel InterContinental

 

 

Translated By: M. Alexandria Cintrano – CELTA TEFL and published journalist

Hotel InterContinental Madrid – An everlasting and growing five star luxury hotel and our privileged proposal regarding the 21st millennium.

HISTORICAL FACTS

The Hotel InterContinental Madrid is profoundly steeped in history. In the 18th century, the property was purchased by Marqués de Mérito and he had the palace reconstructed as a spectacular palatial estate. Implementing his ideas, D. Luis Feluchi decided at the end of the 1940s to keep and maintain the chimney and fireplace in the meeting room, TOLEDO, which is made of Carrara marble. You can still find the doors and LA PLACITA, the entrance for horse drawn carriages, also in their original forms.

Pointing out the main characteristics of the impeccable building, the elaborately sculptured frieze in the ALBÉNIZ MEETING ROOM, created by sculptor Don José Planes as well as the floor and the marble limestone columns in this conference room and also the main lobby. The artworks are complimented by decorative elements such as the watercolors signed by Don José Caballero, Don Antonio Arias and Don Álvaro Delgado. Furthermore, inside the building you can relax in its´ magnificent garden where you shall also find a waterfall and the fountain built by sculptor Don Ángel Ferrant.

THE 1950’s

The Intercontinental Hotel Madrid had begun to become very popular in the early 1950s for the Hollywood stars and established itself as the first international hotel in Madrid. It was the foreign residence of many renowned artists during the 1950s film shoots, for example: Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor. Additionally, chosen by many other well known performing artists including, Mia Farrow who made the hotel her home while abroad, the glorious Zsa Zsa Gabor, Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, Tony Curtis, Robert Mitchum, Luis Mariano, Gary Cooper and Charleston Heston. The 3 day opening festivities took place at the same time the United States of America, Spain and the city of Madrid signed a contract for the Madrid establishment to be the place in which performers and artists would have their very own Madrid meeting point. It had become the headquarters of Hollywood´s fashionable and the elite.

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OVERVIEW & GENERAL INFORMATION

The prestigious Hotel Inter Continental is a 5 star luxury hotel with one of the highest brand ratings for its´reputation without leaving out a single detail and catering to the luxury lifestyle in Madrid. Situated in Madrid´s Financial District in the cultural heart of the Capital, Paseo de La Castellana, it offers impeccable services and facilities to satisfy and fulfill all the wishes of our guests. The technology in our rooms and suites, meeting rooms and public areas are state of the art. Here, you can find the spectacular lobby, the central rotunda, with an elegantly luminious dome ceiling and a wonderful view of the splendid garden. It is a breathtakingly beautiful location to enjoy a coffee, tea or wine and / or meet up with friends and business associates. One can also relax in the Bar 49, El Café, and / or the hotel´s first class preferred Restaurant, El Jardín which specialises in Mediterranean cuisine and the delicacies of the traditional and modern Capital of Madrid.

EXPLORING THE AREA

  • Paseo del Arte ( Madrid´s Art Triangle ) consisting of the Museum Prado, The Thyssen Bornemisza Museum and The Reina Sofia Museum

  • Serrano Street Shopping Mile and Barrio Salamanca Retailers within walking distance

  • Madrid´s ultra vanguard Barajas Airport is only 11 kilometres and a short drive through the Maria Molina tunnel

  • The Underground Metro line number 8 called Nuevos Ministerios leads our visitors directly to Barajas Airport

  • NEW CONVENIENCE : Our Airport Shuttle with an Eco Friendly hybrid Lexus model car is available for our guests

ROOMS & SUITES, SERVICE & EQUIPMENT FOR EVERY GUEST TYPE

The four new Presidential suites and the Royal Suite have been incorporated into this Madrid based establishment and thus, it is a unique offer for luxury accommodation compatible to the cosmopolitan style of this Capital and fashionably glamourous city.

At present, the hotel contains 302 rooms due to the latest suites. You can find 141 Superior rooms, 29 Executive rooms, 99 Club rooms, 18 Suites, 7 Ambassador suites, 7 Presidential suites and one Royal Suite to enjoy your stay with us. Additionally, there are 5 non-smoking floors.

GUEST SERVICES

Laundry, Vale service, air conditioning and heating with individual control, T.V. satellite, pay T.V. possible, AM / FM radio, alarm clock, telephone, answering machine, Minibar, smoke detectors, hair dryer, bathrobe and a security safe for your valuables and especially created for your laptop or netbook.

SECURITY

There are smoke detectors in the common and private areas throughout the hotel, fire estinguishers in the public areas, rooms and meeting rooms and Emergency lighting in the Public areas. Information about emergencies and the Emergency Plan for evacuation routes are located inside the rooms and in all public areas. There is 24 hour security and Camera Surveillance in the public areas and last but not least, First Aid.

NEW INTERCONTINENTAL SUITES & THE CROWN JEWEL, OUR ROYAL SUITE

The most challenging project was to design the spacious Royal Suite and at the same time, to enhance the inventory of the existing rooms. Enjoying the Suite on the 8th floor, one can relax in the 2 bedroom suite with living room, 3 bathrooms, private elevator, lounge, dining room and the gourmet dream kitchenette measuring 400m2. The most significant location in this stunning suite is the 180m2 exterior terrace, where one can take in the phenomenal

panoramic views of the famed Paseo de La Castellana and beyond.

CLUB INTERCONTINENTAL – A glamourous 5 star Luxury Hotel

Exclusively reserved for our executive clients at our Hotel:

Permanent breakfast Buffet 7.00am – 11.00am
Excellent personalized client services
Express Check-In and Check-Out
Breakfast: Elective in the Club Lounge, main restaurant´s premises and or as room service ( Continental Style Breakfast )
Daily national and international newspapers
Gastronomy: Buffet with a wonderful selection of dishes
Free High Speed Internet Access during your stay
Exclusively designed rooms for our Inter Continental guests with a professional coffee corner, fully equipped bathroom and the newest state of the art Technology
Daily fresh water and fruits in the rooms
Escorted invitations
Personal concierge services
Miscellaneous: Fax and photo-copy services and personal executive secretarial services on request and against payment
Baby-sitting services
Car Rental Services
An assorted pillow carte a to z

MEETING ROOMS

All 17 meeting rooms illuminate Madrid´s lovely natural daylight. Three of them are adequate for private lunches. ( Cibeles, Neptuno and Madrid Meeting Rooms ).

Special Conditions: The Albéniz Ballroom has the highest ceiling in all of Madrid´s hotels and is very appropriate for Banquets and all types of conventions and events.

GASTRONOMY

RESTAURANT EL JARDIN DEL INTERCONTINENTAL

Open daily from 13.00 hours to 16.00 hours and from 20.00 hours to 23.00 hours

Average price: 55 – 60 Euros

Daily Menu from Monday through Friday for 38.00 Euros per person

Open Air Summer Terrace

Head Chef: José Luque Torres

Epicurism: Both International and Mediterranean cuisines and the national dish of Spain, called Cocido Madrileño ( pot au fè signifying Dutch Oven on the fire, a cocoction of slow cooking on the flame and / or Madrid Stew ).

EXCLUSIVE EVENTS

It is the perfect locations to celebrate your family and commercial events. Our reliable and highly qualified team assist you during your event and caringly solve all your problems you may encounter, immediately.

SPECIAL WEDDING OFFERS

We are delighted to plan your wedding in every detail with the newsest technology and all the services you require on your special day. We have several facilities suited to your individualised needs.

BRUNCH EVERY SUNDAY UNTIL 13.30 HOURS

Available every Sunday of the year from 13.30 hours to 16.30 Hours

Open Buffet with more than 200 referenced products and an international variety of pastries, cheeses, salads, pastas, seafood, sushi, small desserts, cakes and our Chocolate Fountain

National and international specialties

Sushi prepared with Saki

Live music to suit all tastes and ages

Animation for children with clowns and games in a special area from 14.30 hours to 16.30 hours

The price of 58 Euros per person without beverages

Discounts for children 0 to 4 years: Gratis

Discount for children 5 to 12 years of age: 12.25 Euros per child

Sparkling white wine as a welcome aperitif and fresh squeezed orange juice for the children

Sophisticated yet family oriented atmosphere. Perfect to enjoy a nice Sunday especially for couples, friends and family.

Taking the courage of a Great Company, The InterContinental Hotel Group, with more than 60 years of experience, the renowned hotel brand, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has established more than 150 hotels in up to 60 countries worldwide. We, the InterContinental believe that excellent service, quality and emphasizing its most important element, the guest, and to insure the interests of the clients.  Our desire is to help our distinguished guests to benefit from every moment of their stay. Independent of the destination one selects, our aim is to create a new lifestyle in the luxury hotel segment. We wish to share our knowledge with you so that you can experience an extraordinaire and memorable stay which brightens up your life and opens your horizons.  Online InterContinental allocates more information and the availability of online booking.

On www.ichotelsgroup.com . You can find all the information about our various locations and on www.priorityclub.com , you shall be informed about our Priority Club Rewards and Benefits Programme.

To be up-dated on the latest news of the InterContinental Hotel Group visit:

www. Ihgpic.com

"Criadillas" AKA: Rocky Mountain Oysters or Potatoes?

We’re crazy for criadillas! There are two types of criadillas in Spain, one is flora and one is fauna. Let’s start with the fauna first. Spanish bulls are known for their fierceness in the ring and their testicles are fantastic when done up in the fryer! Affectionately known in the USA as “bull’s balls” or “rocky mountain oysters”, in Spain criadillas, also called huevos de toro (“bull’s eggs”), are a delicacy, albeit an unusual one. They are rumoured to give the male that consumes them superior performance in the bedroom!  Fortunately this delicacy is first removed from the bull at slaughter and later pounded, floured, spiced and fried and finally end up as an hors d’oeuvre with a perfect cocktail sauce to compliment.

They share the same name.

The second type is a Peruvian potato variety affectionately called criadillas that made it’s way to Europe in the 1500’s!  Spain is known the world over for it’s numerous varieties of potatoes. This fact probably, at least partially, explains why five of the world’s top ten chefs are to be found in Spain. The spuds known as criadillas are no stranger to the cuisine-conscious Spaniards and have an amazing texture which is used as a foundation for several meat and fish dishes. They are versatile, creamy and coveted amongst the European haute cuisine crowd.

 

The Guardians of Spanish Heritage – The Parador Hotels

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of These

Since 1928, the Spanish government at the initiative of Marqués Vega Inclán, King Alfonso XIII  opened the first Hotel Parador of Tourism in the heart of the Gredos Mountain range in Navarredonda de Gredos, Ávila.  For the last 82 years, the Parador Hotel Network has been rescuing ancient hilltop castles, intriguing historic fortresses, impressively enchanting monasteries, majestic medieval convents, princely palatial mansions, massive octagonal stronghold towers and noblemen´s manor houses. Additionally, they have been recruiting internationally renowned architect teams and restoration specialists to transform them into privileged paradises with 21st century comfort and hotels featuring superior amenities without losing their extraordinaire ambiances, fabled characters and historic circa details.

Furthermore, they are offering around the Iberian peninsula, expertise in the art of seducing palates with their  93 regional Tasters´ lunch and dinner cartes between 27 Euros – 32.50 Euros. My friend, and intercambio, Ana Maria Martin and I believe all 93 are worth visiting 365 days a year.  Noted for maintaining their original concepts, one of which states, to act as the guardians of Spanish national artistic heritage while promoting superior quality tourism and dynamizing those regions that are lesser known. Now in the 21st millennium, the Parador Network maintains the founding principles while adopting them to the guests of today at all 93 of their spectacular establishments. Hasta invierno.

The Parador Network’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil Tastings

The long story of Spanish olive oil production has taken an unexpected twist. Botanists, chemists, journalists, sommeliers, olive oil makers, chefs and restaurateurs have laboriously worked their way back to concentrate on the oils´ natural starting point, the fruit itself. The Parador Hotel Network is providing their guests with a finely tuned tasting profile.

A handful of olive oil varieties we sampled are:

  1. Almaszaras de La Subbética, S.C.A.
  2. D.O. Carcabuey, Córdoba

Olive Variety:  100% Hojiblanca

Production: Ecological Organic Method

Tasting Notes: Equilibrium, complexity with green apple, herbs & spearmint

  1. Almaszaras de La Subbética, S.C.A.
  2. D.O. Carcabuey, Cordóba

Olive Variety: Hojiblanca and Picuda

Production: Conventional

Tasting Notes: Lightly almond reflecting an unusual equilibrium with piquant and bitter notes

  1. Aceites Campo Liva, S.L.
  2. D.O. Pegalajar, Jaén

Olive Variety:  Picual, Hojiblanca, Arbequina & Frantoio

Production: Conventional

Tasting Notes: Green almonds, aromatic herbs and green Apple

  1. Rodau, S.L.
  2. D.O. Torroella de Fluvià, Girona

Olive Variety: Arbequina, Hojiblanca & Koreneiki

Production: Conventional

Tasting Notes:  Mature fruit, green apples & green almond

Monastic Splendour On The Silver Route

Ancient Architectural Gems

Ages before the construction of this majestic monastery, monks were already residing behind the Parish church of San Miguel in what was once called The Santo Domingo Viejo. The community’s relocation to the new monastery took place while Fray Alfonso Maldonado was friar in 1477. Historians have traditionally attributed their sacred miracles to Saint Vincent Ferrer, who resuscitated the sole male child the duke and dutchess had. The monastery was severely damaged in the War of 1812, in which Spain fought for its independence from Napolean. It was reconstructed and renovated in 1850. Over the years it was occupied by various religious orders. The Fathers of Heart and Maria and the Servitas, were the last theological  orders to occupy it.

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The remains of the fortifications were found during archaeological research while carrying out the restoration of the building and it was confirmed that the Parador de Santo Domingo was a former fortress. Additionally, the area possessed a Sefardic synagogue and a Hebrew faith graveyard.   Many artifacts had been found including a yad which is a pointer for reading, fragments of a hanukiyot which is a votive lamp and thus confirmed the existence of a significant Sefardic settlement in this area. The presence of human life in the area dates back into the remote past has been proven and a series of structures were partially built in caves.

Construction work on the monastery was directed by the master stone mason Pedro Gonzalez with the assistance of his son Francisco and the master craftsmans Maluenes, Dara and Garcia Escalante, who also collaborated on the two Plasencia Cathedrals.

The Monastery Complex

The 66 room Parador Hotel complex located in a small cosmopolitan city that flirts with all who encounter its treasures,  is centered around the church which is almost cathedral like in proportions. The temple is reached through a large 17th century neo classical façade. Access to visit the the monastery complex is located on the Westside at an 18th century portico.

The Cloisters & Chapel Houses

The stunning proportioned cloister is late Gothic.  The Profundis chapel was a most important room of its day and the star ribbed vaults date back to the 15th century.

Monumental 1577 Staircase In The Tapas Bar

The monumental staircase commonly called the Staircase of Air is especially noteworthy.  It was built by Plasencia native Juan Alvarez in 1577.  This architectural wonder rises without pillars, hanging almost in the air in a faultless study of thrust and executed with exceptional mastery.

The Wine Cellar, Bar De Copas & Chillout Lounge

The Hotel Parador ’s wine cellar, which dates back to the 15th century has been adapted to the needs of the 21st millennium guest however, it has been preserved virtually in its original state, with its embedded earthenware jugs, stone, bricks and ceiling vault. The perfect place to enjoy a wine or cocktail and enjoy the conversational background music.

Room 320 & Room 222

Firstly, Director Felix Lobo showed us  ROOM 320, which houses the original walls of the Convent of Santo Domingo. The VIPS unique suite consists of  78 m2  and is divided into two large rooms each of which has its own cosy lounge to ensure maximum unwinding. The deep cherry red and white upholstery, period furniture and the fireplace all add to the warmth and romance of this suite. Our hotel ROOM 222 was absolutely a perfect place to spend a couple of nights. The wide ranging balcony views over the Gredos Mountain Range, pool, gardens and courtyard are divine.

Chef Luis Mora

  • Mar :  What is your culinary philosophy ?
  • Luis:  Adapting quality traditional products of the zone with modern concepts,  reinterpretation and author creativity.
  • Mar:  Where have  you studied ?
  • Luis:  I have been learning all my life as I was born into a family of chefs . My formal studies have been with the Parador Network.  I have worked in the Parador Hotels of Chinchon, Antequera, Málaga, Hostería Del Estudiante in Alcalá de Henares and since October 2000 in the Parador of Plasencia.
  • Mar: Your dream trip.
  • Luis:  The profound depths of Spain in all its regions.
  • Mar:  Tell us about autumn.
  • Luis:  Venison and wild hoofed game varieties, lamb, saffron, wild mushrooms Bolteus Eduli, Niscalos, chestnuts for desserts and red wine Tentudia from Almendralejos, Badajóz. I also employ some historic Sefardic ingredients.
  • Mar:  Your inspiration is derived from ?
  • Luis:  I read a lot, plus collaborate recipes with Juan Marí Arzak and Dani García.

Chef Luis Mora Savours Spanish Culture

  • White wine:  Sánz Clásico Rueda 2009
  • Red wine:  50% Cabernet Sauvignon & 50% Tempranillo Tentudia 2005
  • Torta del Casar sheepcheese & straight out of the oven assorted breads
  • Palate cleanser French greenbean slaw & prawn salad
  • The exquisite black cherry gazpacho
  • Divine roast lamb with criadillas, Plasencia´s local potatoes
  • Tecula Mecula:  an ancient Roman almond gel concoction translating: For you, for me
  • Sweet ripe stuffed fresh figs:  D.O. Almohain, Cáceres
  • Cañas: pastries with white chocolate filling
  • Cherry sherbert

Hotel Parador Santo Domingo Convent

Plaza San Vincente Ferrer  S.N.

Plasencia, Caceres 10600

www.parador.es

Fabled Castle Dropt From Heaven

Located in the county of La Vera, Cáceres, snuggly nestled in the Gredos Mountain Range, the XV century restored castle of Emperor Carlos V, the royal gem of the Renaissance awaits you.

Emperor Carlos V was the most powerful man in the world during his reign and resided in this historic 15th century castle for a few months before retiring to the Yuste Monastery,  8 km away in Cuacos. This renovated four star hotel is a fortified 15th century castle which dates back to the Counts of Oropesa and was built over the ruins of a fortress that had been reconstructed  centuries later and was inhabited by King Alfonso XIII.

It has all that a castle should have, a Blue Room with a fireplace and 15th century tapestries, a Salon of Portraits, a Patio of Arms,  robust corner towers, migrating storks, embrasures, machicolations, turrets which are the small projecting armed structures for gunners, and heraldic shield crests.  The Italian Renaissance prevails throughout and the dining room views lookout onto a beautiful courtyard.  The grounds include walking paths with delightful gardens chock full of orange trees, ancient eucalyptus trees, palm trees, lilac bushes and a lovely swimming pool.

Without sacrificing the original structures, one enters across a drawbridge between two cubic fortress towers. The courtyard is a sanctuary covered in ivy, shaded by palms depicting the region’s micro climate and houses a fountain, creating the privileged paradise for after dinner conversation through late autumn.  Conquering visitors’ emotions, this is a nobleman’s castle in every sense of the word.

Nobel Room 219 With Balcony Over Gardens

Our room, one of the best in the house, can be found nestled amidst the gardens, complete with balcony, providing royal refuge in this privileged paradise of sweet dreams.

Capacity Data For Bookings

The three story castle houses 52 renovated rooms which seduce and house the treasures of royalty in its salons and communal spaces. Emperor Carlos V dwelled in the castle from November 12th, 1556 until February 3rd, 1557 prior to his retirement. Debonaire Maîtré Julian Sevila informed us that the hotel is fully equipped for those requiring handicapped railings, business conventions, christenings, celebrations and weddings with a capacity for 250 people. The restaurant ‘s capacity holds up to 80 people and special breakfasts for up to 60 people.

Chef Juan Antonio Ramos De La Calle

  • Mar:  Tell us about the  specialties of the house.
  • Juan:  Firstly, designation of origin, La Vera is renowned for their goat cheeses and the 4 varieties  I believe you both would enjoy are:  QUESUCO BLUE VEIN which has a very creamy texture and is similar to Asturian Picón Azul, PIMENTON which has a paprika cayenne rind and is a semi soft variety, the French style roll or RULO and the ECOLOGICAL mild semi soft.
  • Mar:  What is your culinary philosophy  ?
  • Juan:  It has always been clear. To cook with what the environment produces, a united team, to teach, the content, the affection, new technology and the traditional with the regional and seasonal, the product and the textures. I am sort of an Extremaduran Santi Santamaria.
  • Mar:  Where are you from Juan Antonio ?
  • Juan:  Across the street,  I was born in the historic town of Jarandilla de La Vera.
  • Mar:  What are the autumn products you employ in your menus?
  • Juan:  Partridge, quail, rabbit, wild mushrooms, Boletus Eduli and Niscalos, boar, fresh figs, La Vera paprika varieities, Iberian acorn fed ham, codfish, fresh river carp, fresh trout and herrings.
  • Mar:  Dream trips?
  • Juan: China culturally and Seychelles to relax.
  • Mar:  Where have you studied and in which Parador Hotels have you worked to date?
  • Juan:  I studied at the Gastronomic Institute in La Bañeza, Leó close to Astorga. I have worked in various Parador Hotels including, Valle de Aran, Málaga, Zamora City and since 1998, in my home town of Jarandilla de La Vera.
  • Mar:  Which celebrities and/or famous well knowns have you cooked for?
  • Juan: I have cooked for the various members of the Royal Family, former Prime Minister, Felipe Gonzalez,  government officials, singers Shakira and Alejandro Sanz who have homes here in Jarandilla de La Vera.
  • Mar:  Tell us about innovation and the road to success.
  • Juan:  A lot of  Innovation, fusion of ingredients, evolutionary technology, textures, colors, research, experimentation and “A to Z” styles.
  • Mar:  This is a stunning area, however, what products do you miss the most ?
  • Juan:  A larger assortment of Ribera del Duero red wines and shellfish. We can obtain the ocean´s fresh catches however, we have to utilize them much more promptly.
  • Mar:  Do you listen to music in your kitchen while preparing?
  • Juan:  I am a flamenco guitarist and this inspires me.

The Emperor’s Table

  • White wine Lar de Barros 100% Macabeo Grape 2009
  • Assorted designation of origin cold cut Deli Meats and Cheeses
  • French style onion soup created with fowl stock
  • Warm smoked herrings with scalded eggs
  • Stuffed aubergines stuffed with hake and baked apple sliced
  • Seared on flame tender mouthwatering octopus
  • Quail in port wine and spiced pear
  • A buñuelo, fusion between a Doughnut  & French toast bread,  pine nuts & creamed goat cheese filling

Parador  Hotel & Restaurant Carlos V

Avda. García Prieto 1

Jarandilla de La Vera,  Cáceres 10450

Multilingual Website:  www.parador.es

Madrid Central Reservations:   91. 561. 6666

Headquarters at   Calle Requena 3

Metroline 5 / Ópera

Cardona – Medieval Castle

The Castle Walls & Towers

Cardona Castle’s history and mystique certainly make it the most amazing medieval fortress in Catalonia.

Sometimes the most romantic, exciting thing you can do is to plan as little as possible while on vacation. We decided, on this tour, until we got a feel for the region or city we were in, we would fly by the seat of our pants as much as possible. A good example of our “going with the flow” would be our stay at Cardona Castle. We saw another castle on the scenic drive to Andorra from Barcelona. It was sitting there in the mist on the side of the road, beckoning us to take that exit. Fortunately, or not, we drove past it, but we knew from that moment that a castle was certainly on our list of things to experience while in the Europe.

Stories

So, upon our return from Andorra we found ourselves making last minute reservations at www.parador.es which has an English version, and got quite the deal for under 30’s that night as well. Now Naia isn’t under 30 anymore… but Dan was still 29, until the end of November and needless to say, we took them up on their offer. So, it was not only one of the most hearty, history-rich fortresses around, it was affordable as well, and with the exchange rate, it was certainly a welcome gift from the powers that be. Winding up the long drive to the top allows you to see 10 miles around or more and, as expected, the sunset was spectacular. The building itself dates from the second century and it was strategically built next to a watch-tower over the Saline Valley. It belonged to the most powerful dynasty ruling between the tenth and seventeenth centuries. The Folch dynasty, heirs of Charlemagne, built this fortress, within the area that was known as “Marca Hispanica” (Border between the Spanish territories and the Muslim ones.) The Folch family ruled all the region and they owned at one point a total of twenty ports. Not too shabby for the good ol’ days, or now!

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The fortified, 9th Century fortress, within which the Parador (hotel) is located, conceals a 2nd Century tower and an 11th Century church. Inside the solid stone walls are comfortable, nicely decorated bedrooms, some with four-poster beds. The sparkling clean, marbled bathrooms are spacious, modern and well equipped for the tired traveler. Donned with an ample sized bath/shower as well as hair dryer and other amenities, like quality, yes actual quality shampoo/conditioner/lotion samplers we would actually use, the proprietors pulled out all of the stops. And why not? Frankly, we feel that doing something for the sheer enjoyment and use of the guest is the mark of a sharp hotel owner. The fact that they’re not wasting money on something you won’t use, because it’s not high enough quality, is smart. Also, it proves that they aren’t just for show either. The furniture in the drawing room was inspired from medieval times and helps to set the tone of the hotel. Throughout Cardona the antique furniture and rich decor works quite well with the castle itself. The reception is a beautiful space where there is internet access and cozy couches to regain your strength from a hard day of exploring the area.

When the sun went down, our stomachs woke up and hunger set into full gear, motivating us to take a quick shower to wash off the dust of the day’s explorations before we sought out our dinner. Someone was using the elevator, so we took the steps and couldn’t resist letting our minds wander once again to imagine what it must have been like to live back then… to hear the footsteps of soldiers in the stairwell… the sounds of children playing… Suddenly, we snapped out of our fantasyland when we heard the clinking of silverware and waiters popping corks, instantly causing us to be transported to the present. Upon arriving to the enormous dining area it is easy to imagine a grand ball taking place in the festively decorated dining room. We sat in the back corner and had the pleasure of simply feeling the room full of happy people eating the lovely fare and making merry. The holiday season was upon us and many people there were taking a long weekend break just before the Christmas rush set in at home. The Catalan cuisine is heavily influenced by an assortment of fresh forest mushrooms and a wide variety of homemade sausages and olives, all found locally. The dishes were deliciously prepared and gratefully enjoyed. The “butifarra con mongetes”, (sausage with beans), was lovely, as was the rest of the meal. The service was good and the staff was very friendly and it was quite apparent they were genuinely happy to be there, another trademark of excellent management and care taking of employees. Most staff we encountered at Cardona spoke English at least well enough to have short conversations and give directions and recommendations, which is always a plus as well.

Feeling happily, perfectly satiated, we retired for the evening as Asha was falling asleep in Dan’s arms and it was certainly time for us to examine the insides of our eyelids as well. The mattress and pillows were refreshingly comfortable and morning came too quickly. We were up early and went to the buffet breakfast, which offered a plentiful array of fresh juices, breads, fruits, yogurts, deli meats, sausages, eggs, muffins, croissants, jams, jellies, and more. It was tasty and we ate heartily before we embarked on a “special mission” to get pictures from all over the castle.

Dan’s second, OK… his third big love is History. He got “that look” when he found out that Cardona’s role in the War of Spanish Succession was amongst the most important to be played by any Catalan town. We spent about an hour or so going all over the castle taking pictures from the inside and outside. Out of windows, doors, off the top of balconies, snapping from all directions, trying to capture the feeling of the castle in shade and light. Showcasing her beautiful, if slightly rugged, charisma and class. The strategic and military importance of its fortifications enabled a resistance to be mounted in advance of Bourbon forces on several occasions during the conflict. The scene of this resistance was the town of Cardona itself and the castle.

Yes, before Naia could set up the first shot, Dan was heading up, up, up the stairs to the top of the tower with Asha, a giggling, one year old little explorer, on a quest to figure out which way the intruders must have approached. He continued on, musing about what it must have looked like and how the residents would have taken refuge in the castle and fought alongside the soldiers to defend it. He went on to tell us of three challenges that stood out as being particularly important amongst the events that took place here during the War, such was their magnitude: The siege in November and December 1711, the battles in August and October 1713 and the final capitulation of the castle, on September 18th 1714, a week later than that of Barcelona, when the rest of the country was already under the control of the Bourbon army. Looking out from the castle and it’s archer’s positions, you can just imagine, it must have been an amazing, harrowing time. We were seeing in our minds’ eyes showers of arrows zipping by us, hoping we wouldn’t be the unfortunate targets whose marks were hit.

The story of these three episodes goes something like this… Following the orders issued in Calaf by the French Duke of Vendome, Lt. General the Count of Muret went to Cordona with 25,000 troops. He took the town on November 17th, 1711, but not the castle, which was bombarded with cannon fire for thirty-four days. Imagine being shelled for thirty-four days and you will understand why we were taking all of the pictures. It is a fortress, indeed. During one of the fiercest engagements over the control of the castle, which took place at La Querosa and Els Escorials, Colonel Pere Muntaner-Damon i de Sacosta, who was in command of the castle’s troops, lost his life. Miraculously, despite this potential wrench in their plans, the troops held on for more than a month, until December 18th when the siege was finally lifted, thanks to the arrival of a large allied force commanded by Marshall Guido von Starhemberg and English General James Stanhope.

In August and October 1713, coinciding with the siege of Barcelona (1713 – 1714), Catalan troops under Manuel Desvalls, Military Governor of the castle, resisted two new offenses by the Bourbon forces under the Count of Montemar. Finally, on September 18th 1714, Manuel Desvalls i de Vergos was obliged to surrender the fortress, under the same conditions as those agreed for the capitulation of Barcelona on September 11th 1714.

We would like to return to Cardona Castle in the future to experience some of their seasonal offerings and to hear more of the stories of the many battles and those heroes and heroines of history we so often take for granted. Until next time, via con Dios Cardona!

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Some of the hotel rooms have charming canopy beds. Pits, towers, walls and gothic features come together with a predominantly comfortable décor and Catalan-inspired mediaeval furnishings. Book Now!

  • Address: Castell de Cardona, s/n
  • Town/City: 08261 Cardona, Barcelona
  • Telephone: 00 34 938691275
  • Fax: 00 34 938691636
  • E-mail: [email protected]
  • Constuction style: Castle
  • Credit cards: American Express, Diners, JCB, Visa, MasterCard
  • Director: Jaime Sebastián Sánchez
  • Chef: Manuel Cubilla Moga

GENERAL SERVICES

  • Air Conditioning
  • Bar
  • Bureau de Change
  • Conference Suite
  • Credit Cards
  • Distance to Airport: 100 km.
  • Distance to Port: 100 km.
  • Distance to Train Station: 32 km.
  • Heating
  • Life
  • No animals allowed
  • Restaurant
  • Satellite Dish
  • Shop
  • BEDROOMS
    • Canal plus
    • Double Rooms (double beds): 5
    • Duplex: 2
    • Minibar
    • Places: 106
    • Rooms with Lounge Area: 3
    • Safety Deposit Box
    • Single Rooms: 2
    • Telephone in bedrooms
    • Television
    • Twin Rooms: 42
  • REST AND RELAXATION
    • Gym
    • Sauna

Dining & Food

Catalan cuisine is served in the dining room including aubergine terrine with pig’s trotters, selections of sausages and especially barbecue dishes with the braised lamb shoulder a highlight.

Eat like a true king at the Parador’s medieval dining room: Aubergine terrine with pig’s trotters, selections of sausages and specially barbecue dishes with local braised lamb shoulder a highlight Patatas enmascaradas (potatoes served with butifarra sausage and garlic) are a speciality. Hungry?

Activities

  • Solsonés Route (15 to 40 km.)
    • Romanesque architecture.
    • Museums.
    • Cardener fountain.
  • Cardona town.
    • Salt Mountain.
    • Cardonal Mediaeval Centre.
    • Salt Museum.
    • Romanesque architecture.
  • Montserrat (45 km.)
    • Montserrat Monastery.
    • Museum.
  • Parador.
    • Romanesque church from the 13th century.
    • Cloister.
    • 2nd century Minyona Tower.
    • Walls.
  • Bages Route (15 a 45 km.)
    • Romanesque architecture.
    • Museums.
    • Planetarium
  • Berguedá Route (30 a 60 km.)
    • Pyrenees.
    • Romanesque architecture.
    • Museums.
    • Llobregat fountains.

Local Festivals

  • Carnival: February, Solsona, 22 km.
  • Cardona annual festival: second Saturday in September, Cardona.
  • La Patum: Corpus, Berga, 31 km.

Up, Up and Away with Quique Dacosta

Quique Dacosta has been one of the skyrocketing new generation leaders of traditional Spanish vanguard signature cuisine in the past few years and at the age of 37, he has been experimenting and researching for example, the uses of aloe vera plants in their embryonic stage. He didn’t know if aloe vera was even edible at that point during it’s development when he began his trials.  However, he had known of it’s emulsifying properties. He told me, it was simply a process of trial and error until he managed to create the delectably edible. His investigative spirit has earned him global recognition, a host of awards and two well earned Michelin stars.

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He totally understands that Spain’s current status is not due to chance. He is part of the 4th generation of Spanish chefs who embrace and expound gratitude for those who came before them. Being at the very pinnacle of the vanguard epicurean movement, he continues breaking free, without boundaries, and his design aesthetics are all a part of Dacosta’s impeccably flawless creations, including his re-engineering and transformation of the live sensations and aromas of surf and turf, utilizing the most cutting edge, marvelous products on the market to do so.

Face to Face at El Poblet

  • Mar: Firstly, how would you describe your cuisine?
  • Quique: Vanguard Spanish cooking.
  • Mar: The economic crisis and El Poblet?
  • Quique: I believe it is somewhat complicated for my team, my clients and I was born during a recessive economy so I have had to be more prudent. Nevertheless, we shall overcome this.
  • Mar: Define your palate.
  • Quique: I do not have a favourite dish or preferred flavour. I like just about all.
  • Mar: Can you tell us about your star ingredients?
  • Quique: To name a few: marine algaes, sea lettuces, almonds, Valencian oranges, embryonic vegetables, tuna belly, sea urchins, Dénia red prawns and the Diabetic Green Sugar plant.
  • Mar: What motivated your culinary career?
  • Quique: By accident actually. I arrived in Dénia from Jarandilla de La Vera to spend a summer vacation when I was 14. I was terribly bored and didn’t know anybody. I decided to get a part time job at the local pizzeria. This had been my first contact with a restaurant. It was not exactly a culinary position, however, it sparked the flames of culinary interest.
  • Mar: Tell us about your latest bill of fare.
  • Quique: The idea was initially very clear and quintessential. I have reconstructed Montgó Nature Reserve and the shore, that is to transform the live sensations and the aromas utilising marvelous culinary products and state of the art kitchen equipment.

The Latest Taster’s Carte

  • Snack, crackle & crisp toast snacks: Reggiano Parmesano, Black olive, Walnut, Greek Phyllo and Dried Fruits
  • Trufa blanca de Montgó: White truffles filled with parmesano, fresh goat cheese & blended with white truffles and sprinkled with 5 wild mushroom dust
  • La Bruma: Steamed snow peas, baby lima beans, embryonic stage sweet peas, aromatic herbs, pinenuts and sprouts in a garden steamed
  • Moshi: Cockles, langoustines and pansies in broth.
  • Impresionismo La Roca: Fresh oysters and baby squid in gel
  • Expresionismo rojo: Inspired by painter Mark Rotho, red mullet with saffron
  • Dessert 1: Budding cherries with crumbs of pastry
  • Dessert 2: Green melon, cantaloupe, dried fruits and mandarin smear

Additionally, there were 5 white wines that paired perfectly. “Our point of view? It was a magical experience in every aspect.”


CHEF QUIQUE DACOSTA
Restaurant El Poblet

Centre Les Marines
Km 2.5
Dénia, Alicante
Reservations: 96. 557. 4179
Website:Restaurant El Poblet
 

Email: Restaurant and Reservations