As a real foodie, Argentinian global traveler Eddie Pszemiarower takes a stroll through Madrid* to eat the most traditional dishes.
“Traditional Spanish food is very simple in the ingredients and in the preparations. The real ‘secret ingredient’ to any dish, is always the same one… I know, at this point you would expect me to say: olive oil, or garlic, or jamón, or anything else. Wrong. The secret ingredient to any of the fantastic recipes you can taste in Spanish food is Freshness. Nothing else. Well, maybe I would add simplicity. And you will see how…
Christian, my friend and tour guide, mentioned something about the freshness of the seafood in Madrid. Let’s face it, Madrid is right in the middle of the Iberian peninsula, which far away from any sea or ocean. His reply was assertive and straight: The capital might be far from water, but it is still the best, most demanding and discerning market for seafood (and any food) in the country. So, in any coastal town around Spain you will find great seafood in their fish markets early in the morning, but most likely, the best pieces, were already selected, on the fishing boat, to be sent straight to the Madrid that same morning, and will probably will be for sale at the same time that they are in the seaside town.
Gambas al Ajillo, translated as Shrimp Scampi, is the perfect example of what I was saying before. To make a perfect shrimp scampi you need: fresh-peeled shrimps, olive oil, garlic, parsley and a dried chilli. And some bread, of course.
We headed to La Casa del Abuelo, where they received us with a welcome rime, a smile and the inviting aroma of garlic being fried in olive oil. La Casa del Abuelo has been making tapas since 1906. With the same simplicity and fashion they have been doing it for more that 110 years. And the same grace. To go with the Shrimp Scampi, I was given a ‘Chato’ of Red Wine. House Wine, and it was delicious! I fell in love with the ‘Chato’ glass. It has the same width of a regular tumbler, but half the height. That is why it is called Chato, with literally means ‘flat’.”
*Four Seasons Hotel Madrid opens April 2020. The 200-key hotel, which includes 37 suites, is a conversion of the Banco Santander building on Calle de Alcalá and Calle de Canalejas (it is owned by Grupo Villar Mir). GM is Spanish-speaking Christoph Schmidinger, who was formerly GM Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, and the hotel’s culinary genius is Danny Garcia who, having previously gained three Michelin stars, famously gave them back to Michelin. www.fourseasons.com/madrid