Monday, October 15, 2012

Goldring Travel's 2012 Food & Wine Cruise on the Seabourn Pride - Part IX (Shopping With The Chef)

We were up early on the Seabourn Pride because today was, finally, our Goldring Travel Private Shopping with Chef Kurt Timmermans in La Coruna, Spain. 

 We arrived at what appeared to be a modern shopping mall with clothing stores.  Huh?  But, as Chef Kurt assured us, inside is an amazing market.  So, with a quick turn into an unassuming door, culinary nirvana upon us!  Three floors of food:  First floor for seafood, Second floor for meats and Third floor for vegetables.


We spent over an hour just wandering about the fish market.  The variety was remarkable, but the freshness was incredible.  I have never been to a market where so much of the product was vibrantly alive.  Squid that were still quickly changing color, langoustine grabbing whatever they could (some overflowing with roe), crabs snapping way, clams squirting…all in extremely clean and well-lit environment with the friendliest fish mongers I have ever encountered outside of Catania, Sicily.

After Chef Kurt made some purchases for the Seabourn Pride’s Galley Market Lunch and our Food & Wine Tasting, it was time to head upstairs to the meats.  Chef Kurt was checking out the huge cured ham legs and trying to negotiate better prices. 

Note the sign in the top right:  Wine for 1.20 Euros.
I bought some for  the Goldring Travel Food & Wine Tasting on the Seabourn Pride.

While he was doing his thing, I was doing mine.  I spotted a sign at the same butcher selling a blanco and tinto wine for 1.20 Euros!  I mean this is the Goldring Travel Food & Wine Cruise and if my guests can quaff Chateau Margaux and Chateau Lynch-Bages the can most certainly swirl a bit of plonk!  So for my 2.40 Euro investment I was very happy…and wondering just how bad the wines might be…or not.  You never know!
 Then I started wandering around.  All the way at the end of the market were, by far, the largest blood sausages I had ever seen.  And when Chef Kurt got there he concurred.  He bought some for our Tasting.


 While the others in our group went their separate ways (some up to the third floor and others into town) we headed with Chef Kurt back to the Seabourn  Pride and then into town.  We had been recommended to visit one of the more expensive and touristic restaurants in La Coruna so me and my wife set out in search of it and to do some window shopping.  When we got there we knew it really wasn’t for us. 

We saw the tourist office and headed in.  (Tourist offices can be a valuable resource as local knowledge is generally the best…and, similarly, why you should use a travel agent that has “been there and done that’ rather than having merely read about it…if you are lucky.)  In literally ten seconds she told us where to go…where the locals eat…and it was just a short walk.

Should we eat here?  Should we eat there?  Seafood?  And then, at least for me, there is was:  A small old and dark shop with about 100 curing hams hanging from the ceiling.  


My wife wasn’t so convinced, but was a good sport about it…humoring more than agreeing with me.  She was a bit concerned with the cost of my ordering a plate with some of the local cheese (known as “breast cheese” because of its shape) and one of local cured jamon (ham) along with a nice bottle of Rioja…typical for the region. But I knew it would be OK because it was a local place.  It came to a whopping 20 Euros.  What a bargain and, more importantly, what a great lunch!

Shortly after we sat down at our small table, the locals started to come in, young and old, mostly purchasing enough for their lunch at home, but a couple choosing to sit down.  We had a great seat for people watching too.  Before we knew it, it was time to leisurely stroll back to the Seabourn Pride. 
So as we sailed off from our last port of our cruise I still had lots to look forward to as tomorrow, our last day, brings us not only the Galley Market Lunch, but the famous Goldring Travel Food & Wine Tasting created by Chef Kurt.