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By Margaux Alexandria Cintrano
Photos: Grupo Gourmets 2019 & IFEMA Madrid


Firstly, the 33rd Edition of the international food and wine trade fair 2019, SALON GOURMETS, held at IFEMA, at the JUAN CARLOS CONVENTION CENTRE,  opened on April 8th and closed on April 11th.  

I have spent the last four days sampling, tasting at least 100 various cuisines, viewing contests and show cooking exhibitions, attending award ceremonies, product presentations, workshops, wine tastings, and conferences.  So here are some of the extraordinary highlights of my gourmet adventures.

Jaen Paraiso EVOO

1.The main objective of the 16th International Cooking Award with Jaén Paraíso Interior Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the organisation which promotes Jaén produced Evoo, and the Extra Virgin Olive Oils chosen each year are distinguished with THE SELECCIÓN DE JAÉN QUALITY SEAL and the Chefs, both national and international, utilise these Evoos in all their preparations.  

2.The 26th Iberian Ham Carving Contest, Dehesa de Extremadura.  This is one of the busiest areas of the Exhibiton, arousing the interest of professional exhibitors from abroad, as well as major national media.  With the cooperation of a jury of expert Ham Tasters & top notch Michelin starred Chefs, these unique hams have been launching on the market with huge success and advancement for the sector and for the consumers

Abridores Ostras Écailleurs Sorlut Championship

3. The 12th Spanish Écailleurs Sorlut Oyster Opener Championship, an amazingly incredible competition, where the contestants had shown their virtuosity by shucking, or opening 30 wild fresh oysters, manually in the shortest time, combining skills and the best oyster plate presentations.  The theory looks easy, however, in fact, one must be extremely cautious not to peel the nacre or cut it, as it would ruin this exquisite delicacy. The best Oyster Openers of Spain are: Yosouf Khay Khalil, Mercado San Miguel, The Madrid Capital.

4. For the 1st time, this year, the Spanish Écailleurs Sorlut presented their new project called World Sorlet, a corporate social responsibility mission to the environmental issues, health, culture and charities with whom Fashion Designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada´s  daughter, Cosima, had collaborated, designing originally wonderful aprons loyal to her style.

The Judges for this event included  Veteran Journalist, formerly of the Spanish national newspaper El Pais; Luis Cepeda of Gastronomicom; Daniel Sorlet, President of Sorlet; Chef Sacha Hormaechea, of  Madrid Capital´s renowned Restaurant Sacha, in the Cuzo neighborhood; journalist Oscar Caballero of Club de Gourmets and the La Vanguardia newspaper; and Begoña Rodrigo, chef of Restaurant La Salita, Valencia.

Onstage showcooking

5. Then the other true glories  were the 10th Best Gourmet Cheese Championship, the 10th National Cocktail Contest, the On Stage Showcooking, The Language of Wine at the Round Tables, The New Products,  The Estrella Galicia National Championship, The Spanish Beef from Asturias Contest, The Wine Bar Tunnel with Tapas & Pintxos, Tapas on a Stick,  The amazingly extraordinary, mythic Vega Sicilia Wine Tasting, The Ages of Meat, Three Different Maturations, The Estrella Galician Atlantic Cuisine Contest, 33rd Salon Gourmet Awards  and The Club Gourmets Magazine Awards (available in Spanish only, in print at major News-stands.)

6. The wine tastings included:  Bodegas Fariña 2014 Gran Colegiata Roble Francés, 100% Tinta de Toro Mono varietal Grapes, oak aged in casks.  The black cherry rim with a border of pomegranate red, is a complex vintage, with aromas of berries, wild flowers, river stones, cacao and notes of smoke, sandalwood and vanilla with coffee. There is no doubt that Manuel Farinña, the Oenologist has an amazing vision.

The  next wine worth mentioning is:    Altos de Torona Barrica 2016, 100 % Albariño which spent 6 months in oak casks.  The tasting notes include, highly aromatic pineapple and ripe plum notes, pine and is amazingly well structured with a finely balanced equilibrium and a long memorable finish.

7. Furthermore, Bellmunt 2015,  Mas d´ en Gil Priorat, a 10 month oak aged red, of 70% Garnacha Tinta, 20 % Mazuelo and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes, a multi Varietal of a ruby cherry hue, with aromas of cherries, blueberries, plums and slate, from their growing slate terraces,  coupled with Bay Leaf and Cacao, hails from Winemaker, Oenolgost Pere Rovira, in the historic region of Mas d´ en Gil, in Tarragona. The family employ techniques of agriculture respecting the environment.

The legendary Vega Sicilias

8. Last but not least is the legendary highlight of the wine tasting, the exclusive elegant VEGA SICILIA directed by Gonzalo Iturriaga, the Technical Director of the exclusively spectacular Winery. This is a wine, that speaks the language of nobility since it has received 100 Points from Wine Expert Robert Parker back in the 1990s and placed the excellence of Spanish Wines on the world map. The Oenologist of this success was Mariano Garcia, who now has his own winery, MAURO DOS, in San Román, Zamora, near Toro with his sons, also well recognised for exemplary excellence.

More than 47,000 products were encountered by the press, visitors, restaurateurs, chefs, journalists, t.v. news broadcasters, and admirers of fine epicurism and wines.