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As you have probably seen on my Instagram, Cava Discovery Week has launched until the 24th of November in Brussels and beyond with lots of fun events and tasting menus being offered by participating venues. In celebration of the event and being a huge fan of Cava wine myself, I decided to organise a little get-together between friends to enjoy Spain’s finest sparkling wine paired with some delicious nibbles. Is there anything better than good friends, delicious food and great wine? Well, not in my books!

Before I get into the details of our evening, I wanted to share a few fun facts about Cava that I find quite interesting. Cava was born back in the 19th century by some families from Sant Sadurni d’Anoia who started to experiment with the new at the time winemaking technique of Champenoise and applied it to the native grape varieties. It’s a sparkling wine made with the traditional method which involves a second alcoholic fermentation on the base wine in the bottle and allowing it to age on the lees. There are three different varieties: the traditional Cava (aging for at least 9 month on the lees – soft, fruity and fresh), the Cava Reserva (aging for a minimum of 15 months on the lees – the best all-rounder for any menu) and last but not least, the Cava Gran Reserva (aging for at least 30 months on the less – vintage dated, aromatic, complex in the palate with delicate bubbles). In general, the longer the Cava ages, the more toasty and nutty aromas it develops.

Now back to our evening of Cava, fun and food!  To start with, we cracked open a couple of bottles and had our first glass as an aperitif. We then popped them in an ice bucket to keep them chilled while talking and nibbling away. We all shared small dishes tapas-style: mixed charcuterie, grilled broccoli with truffle butter and pickled white asparagus romesco, pan con tomate, octopus with chickpea and beetroot purée, sautéed mushrooms and butterbeans with roasted artichokes and butternut squash. We actually loved how well Cava paired with tricky vegetables like artichokes and asparagus as well as seafood. Cava is an extremely versatile wine to pair with food but when in doubt, remember what one of my friends said: “When in doubt, you can always pair Cava with a second glass!” – cheeky, isn’t it?!

If you are keen on discovering Cava wines, this week is the perfect opportunity to make the most of the different events organised in and around Brussels. Feel free to experiment and enjoy the diversity of flavours and combinations with food. Drink and enjoy! But always drink in moderation.

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Sandy (@smarksthespots)