Madrid Is For Meat Lovers

Friday, June 4, 2010

Summer is the season of summits, but not all summits are created equal. I might come off as politically disinclined when I say (or in this case, write) that there is one meeting that interests me the most: the Madrid Fusion International Gastronomic Summit.

Someone’s talking my language. My tummy grumbles in response.

Imagine the world’s top chefs meeting to show off their creations in the Spanish capital. Unfortunately, all I can do is imagine. And, as I write this, my mouth is making water (as my Spanish friend would say).

The Australian proposes that the reason Madrid is such a hotbed for the culinary arts is due to the fact that it is “a city of many flavors,” influenced to this day by a multitude of cultures and traditions. It doesn’t hurt that this is a country that likes to eat, and truly appreciates the work going on in the kitchen.

For example, Manolo Nombela, a Madrileno who owns Mano a Mano, lived in Australia for 23 years. From this experience he was inspired to add an Asian flavor to the Spanish dishes he was so accustomed to making.

Another example of this is Cocido Madrileno, “a stew including chickpeas, pork belly, chicken, jamon, chorizo and potatoes” served at Taberna La Bola in central Madrid. Considered a traditional dish, this concoction dates back to the influence of the Sephardi Jews back in the Middle Ages.

However, what caught my attention was the wide use of jamon, ham, another topic The Australian recently tackled. Did you know that Madrid is such a hammy place that it has its very own museum dedicated to the industry? Legs of pork and all the various cured hams you could think of hang at this deli/gallery. As rumor has it, the jamon industry is pretty important as the country produces 40 million hams per year.

By Brit Weaver


About the Author

Toronto born and based, Brit is an avid leisure cyclist, coffee drinker and under-a-tree park-ist. She often finds herself meandering foreign cities looking for street eats to nibble, trees to climb, a patch of grass to sit on, or a small bookstore to sift through. You can find her musing life on her personal blog,

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