Sometimes things just fall in your lap and you have NO idea where they came from. But mine is not to question why…
Remember the Calcotada I told you about? Where you eat giant onions dipped in pepper and almond sauce (Romesco)? Well, a few weeks ago in Dénia, we were walking along an area we rarely visit, and suddenly Al says, “OMG! Are those CALCOTS?” Why, yes they were. We raced over to EntreAromas, where, sure enough, the guys were in the parking lot, roasting calcots. Coincidence #1.
Turns out they do this only once a year — they bring in all the ingredients from Cataluña (the region around Barcelona) and they have one day that they do the full monty. And yes, “we just happen to have only 3 tickets left.” Coincidence #2.
We change our plans with our friend, Consuelo, and return, with her, to EntreAromas at the appointed time. The waitress shows us to a long outdoor table, where everyone is laughing and talking and dunking calcots, and the 3 of us are seated on the corner. (Consuelo was a little frazzled that we were actually going to sit with strangers.) We immediately strike up conversations with the friendly table companions and not 10 minutes into the afternoon I discover that the woman sitting right next to me is an avid cook, well, actually a chef, and she’s owned 2 restaurants. This day just gets better and better. Coincidence #3.
We spent the entire afternoon eating, drinking a leetle vino, and getting to know our new friends. Even Al, who doesn’t speak a lick of Spanish, was fully engaged, all hand signals and smiles. Our lunch lasted til nearly 6pm — a sign of a very good day. And even then, Uncle Tio invited us to his house for “just one more little drink.” And by the way, he says, “You can see my chicken!” But it’s time to escort Consuelo home, so we politely declined (secretly wishing we could go home with Uncle Tio).
Rosario and I talked foodie talk and she agreed to send me her very-authentic recipe for Romesco, that was given to her by a man in Tarragona, the home of calcots. She swears it’s the BEST Romesco ever. (Yes, I’ll share. Later.) And then, much to my surprise, she began speaking with Al in English. She speaks English! OMG! Now the wheels are really turning! Coincidence #4.
Thankfully, I was alert enough (despite copious amounts of wine) to ask for Rosario’s email and ask if she’d be interested in having coffee one day soon. She happily agreed, and we made a date. I couldn’t wait to tell her my ideas.
As I tripped all over myself trying to explain what I was trying to do, with wine and cooking classes in Spain, she grinned broadly and heartily agreed to play! I had always wanted a knowledgeable, personable Spaniard to teach the cooking classes in Spain — but finding someone with the right combination of friendliness (we don’t need no snobs!), experience, availability, and English skills, was something I thought I’d never find. And there she was. If that’s not serendipity, I don’t know what is!
The rest, as they say, is history. Rosario has agreed to become the resident chef for Savor Spain and Tipsy Toro. Rafael will teach the wine classes. And now we have the perfect team. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: