Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Off to the cava winery!

I'm back! Where was I? Oh yes...we had just visited Valencia, where we lazed in the beach and ate paella and saw a preserved arm. Good times!

So now it was Friday and we had another tour arranged. Marta picked us up promptly at 8:30 a.m. or something like that. Marta was amazing. I'm not sure where Lea found her, but she was just a wealth of information for us. She told us so much about the history of Spain and Catalonia, about Barcelona, about the time period under Franco and how things have changed since he left power. She told us all about the city planning in Barcelona, and how at one time Barcelona had "turned its back on the sea" but hosting the Olympics changed all that. Really, she was amazing.

I don't know if I've mentioned this year, but in Barcelona the first language is not Spanish. It is Catalan. Then Spanish. Children do not learn Spanish until I think she said 3rd grade or so. When we bought all those boxes of cornflakes, they would be printed in Catalan and Spanish.

Our first stop for the day was the Freixenet Cava Winery.  If you have ever wondered where to get a truck shaped like a cork, or a scooter or car shaped like a bottle of cave, this is the place for you!

 



They do sell this in the states. Cava is Spanish sparkling wine. They use this cute little boy in their advertising overseas, but as our tour guide told us (I think her name was Maria), he is not used in the United States because we are a bit more buttoned up about alcohol here. She shared with us that when she was a baby, her parents dipped her pacifier in cava. She didn't seem any worse for it.

He looks more like a creepy teenager as a statue.

She also said that they drink cava much more regularly than we Amaericans do. We tend to reserve sparkling wines and champagne for New Year's Eve, weddings, really special events. Over there, they have it for any celebration, birthdays, whatever. I think I'd like to try incorpiorating more cava into my life!

The tour was really wonderful. We started out with a little video, then she explained the process for making cava.  Then down into the caves we went!

Our lovely Freixenet tour guide. She was great!

We were able to see bottles of cava at different stages of the process.

You can see the sediment in the bottles. In the olden days, they put the bottles at an angle in these inverted-v shaped holders and would turn the bottle a bit every now and then (I forget the detais) until the sediment had all run to the top.

We saw a whole wall of bottles that were about 35 years old and just COVERED in cobwebs. She said that these will never be sold, but are used for research.

Ick.

It was dark and dank in the caves, but it was so neat to hear about how cava is made and be able to see the MILLIONS of bottles of cava they have. Then we went through a little tunnel...

Kyle just barely fits in the tunnel. This is one of those, "Hey! Wouldn't it be funny to get a picture of the tall guy in the tiny tunnel?" moments.

and then got on a trolley for a ride through the warehouse.

 

Occasionally, bottles break from the pressure (the dimple in the bottom helps prevent that from happening more often) so as we zoomed by (okay...zoom might be exaggerating things) we saw quite a few broken bottles amongst them. So sad. No one will enjoy that bottle of cava.

Of course, this trip would not be complete without a cava tasting!


I am not sure what is happening with my picture placement here. Blogger has gone rogue!






















We met some really nice women from Singapore while we drank our cava and they suggested that we really must visit Singapore. I'll have to look into that.

So, of course...we then did the obligatory gift shop shopping and purchased some cava to enjoy both while still in Spain and at home. Marta met us outside the gift shop and we walked over to the nearby train station for coffee and snacks. Then it was back into the van to head to Montserrat. I'll tell you all about that in the next post! Did you know they sell ham flavored Pringles in Spain?

Until my next post!

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