Every time I visit Spain I am astonished by the love of food and the abundance of culinary creativity. Spanish culture is equal to the celebration of food: cooking dinner is not regarded as an unwelcome necessity nor an elitist hobby but rather as a pastime equally joyful as the dining that follows after. Cooking and dining are one and the same; fast food is considered masochism.
In our quest to bring Curtice Brothers organic ketchup to Spain, we met two prominent curators of Spanish culture: Chef Carles Tejedor and the team at Guzmán Gastronomía. Both are based in Barcelona. Both are authorities on the selection and preparation of great food. Both love our ketchup.
Carles is one of the most celebrated and daring chefs in Spain. Through his love of experimentation, he exemplifies the rich gastronomic tradition that has been shaped by a unique geography and climate, a complex history and culinary influences through the Spanish conquest of the „New World“.
Imagine Chorizos, Fabada Asturiana or Gazpacho without spicy peppers, beans or tomatoes. Without Columbus and his colleagues, most traditional dishes today would have not been invented. Without the ‘disruption’ of all those foreign influences, the Spanish kitchen may not have evolved to such greatness.
As a result, Spanish cuisine has developed an openness for transformation and a willingness to adopt new ideas. This may be the unique quality that differentiates the Spanish cuisine from others with less exposure to foreign cultures (I moved to the mountains near the Austrian border and could tell you a thing or two about the lack of ‘disruption’ and its devastating cultural consequences).
Guzmán Gastronomía, a Spanish collective of food devotées and caterers to the finest restaurants and retailers, look out for products and processes that stand out for their ability to push boundaries, much like Chef Tejedor. During our recent visit to their stand at Barcelona’s Alimentaria we ate algae that tasted like truffles and chocolate that tasted like chocolate but isn’t chocolate.
The people at Guzmán are offenders by conviction, delightful food fanatics, honest, authentic and utterly lovely.
Thank you Columbus, thank you Carles and thank you to the team at Guzmán.